The Journey of The Acting Industry for Aspiring Actors

Acting is often misunderstood as just simply memorising lines and delivering them in a convincing manner (or shouting). However, the truth is that becoming a successful actor requires intense training, a wide range of skills, and a whooole lot of patience.

The Disguised Virtuosity of Acting

Actors undergo rigorous training to master their craft, even though some are just naturally gifted (such as the lovely Jodie Comer). Their goal is to act so naturally that their skills become invisible to the audience. Unlike professions like ballet or classical music, where years of training are readily acknowledged, acting requires a disguised virtuosity that is not immediately apparent. In simple terms, it is professionally gaslighting the audience to make them believe you’re someone you’re clearly not behind the cameras and/or stage.

The Ambitious Definition of Acting

Acting is more than just reciting lines. As Sanford Meisner famously said, “Acting is doing things truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” This ambitious definition highlights the depth and complexity of the art form. To portray a character truthfully, actors must acquire a multitude of challenging skills which can take a good while to master and to have the time commitment to do so.

The Importance of Active Choices

Acting goes beyond simply delivering lines. Actors must make active choices to bring a script to life in the most believable way. Every line can be delivered in numerous ways, and it is the actor’s responsibility to choose how to express the character’s thoughts and emotions. This requires a deep understanding of the script (script work is very very important!) and the ability to make purposeful choices that resonate with the audience.

Training the Eye and Brain

Great actors have trained their eyes and brain to look for action in lines. They know when to make bold choices and when to keep them subtle. Acting is a complex art form that requires actors to develop a rich inner life for their characters, like literal playing dress-up. They must analyse scripts, plan their character’s actions, and develop a resonant voice and expressive physicality. These skills allow actors to create a truthful and complex performance that captivates audiences.

Acting is a Craft

Acting is not a talent that someone is born with; it is a craft that must be honed through training and practice. Actors are instruments, and their work is as complex as any other skilled profession. Just as a ballerina, opera singer, or classical pianist requires years of training to excel, actors must dedicate themselves to the mastery of their craft.

The Power of Imagination

Imagination is a crucial tool for actors. They must use their full imagination to inhabit a character and bring them to life on stage or screen. Through imagination, actors can delve into the inner world of their characters and create a performance that is both authentic and compelling.

The Importance of Planning

A successful actor plans both the inner life and actions of their character. This involves developing a deep understanding of the character’s backstory, motivations, and emotional journey. By meticulously planning their performance, actors can create a cohesive and impactful portrayal that draws the audience into the story.

The Actor as a Collaborator

Actors are not solitary performers; they are collaborators who work closely with directors, writers, and fellow actors. They must be able to take direction and incorporate feedback into their performance. The ability to collaborate effectively is essential for creating a cohesive and powerful production.

The Myth of Easy Acting

Despite the misconceptions, acting is far from easy. It requires a combination of talent, skill, and hard work. The naturalness and subtlety displayed by great actors is a result of years of training and dedication. It is not something that can be achieved overnight or by simply reading lines.

Devon Nixon

Devon is an aspiring actor, based in Leeds, and is also a very dear friend to me! He has been training at IPM Academy, practicing his craft and skills part-time and is currently working none-stop in order to get that big break. Below is his insight to what acting is like within the industry as a starting, aspiring actor after his headshot session at Aire St! : 

Getting professional headshots really helped me kick start my acting career. Before I got my first headshots with Aire Street, I was using home made headshots and struggled for work. Within weeks of using my new ones I already booked my first role! The process was very straightforward and the people at the studio helped me settle in and calmed any nerves I had going into it. I found the session to be really enjoyable and collaborative, they let me try many different styles and takes to help me get a range of headshots that best suits me.

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