What I’ve learned at Acting School

What I’ve learned at Acting School

Those of you that know me reasonably well will know that I’m doing more formal training to be an actor at the moment. It’s always been a life goal of mine, and I’ve seen it very much as a now or never kind of thing.

I’ve got my career going; I’ve got the money to go out and learn properly. I also don’t want to be looking back in twenty years thinking “I wish I’d done something about that acting thing.”

A couple of reflections on my acting training so far:

Acting is hard

I did wake up a couple of years ago thinking that I could act. Then I tried reading a script and came over wooden as hell. There’s a weird skill in pretending to be someone else, as though no one else is watching, without consciously pretending to be someone else.

Developing empathy for someone you’ve never seen, met, or spoken to is incredibly tough, and needs a lot of script reading. But if you do too much, the words tend to lose all meaning, and it’s worse than if you did none at all.

Acting school is harder than it looks

Even harder than pretending someone else is watching someone pretend to be someone else and be coached on it.

Everyone has different strengths, and it’s so easy to see the weaknesses in everyone else’s technique without thinking about what you would bring to the role yourself.

When I see people who are uncomfortable with stand-up or improv try to do stand up, or people who are uncomfortable with character roles try to do intense scenes, you notice the flaws.

Talking about acting is not the same as acting

One thing that’s always struck me about self-styled ‘coaches’ in any profession is how few of them are memorable in any way.

Think of the zillions of people advising on how to do ‘online marketing’ etc. How many of them do you look to for advice, vs. how many are just repeating what other people (their employer) tell them?

Acting gets harder the more you do

I see some people who just look over trained. There are people who I see who have been acting a couple of years whose performances look like they’re trying to act.

I wonder if a thing that comes with coaching is that something switches on in you saying “Okay, I’m acting now.” I want to stay feeling like it’s quite natural and automatic.

It does rub off on other areas of your life

I can say that I’ve become a lot more aware of how I hold my body, how I’m breathing, and how I’m presenting myself since I started doing acting training properly.

There’s a magnetism to it that I’m really enjoying at the moment.

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