Think you’re the next Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, or Julia Roberts? The most successful talent are said to possess the ‘it’ factor – an ability to impress us without having to do or say what appears to the layman as “much of anything at all.” I like to think it’s something pertaining to confidence and comfort in one’s self.
The actor comes in all shapes and sizes; all ages and ethnicities; with accents and without. The guidelines here are less stringent only because they are telling stories about other REAL people – and we already agreed that real people don’t look like fashion models. So no matter what your physical assessment found, it won’t hold you back!
The key to being an actor, however, is connecting with . . . emoting . . . understanding . . . and studying people. Emotions are worn on the actor’s sleeve because they must be readily available at all times. (For example, actors are commonly asked if they can cry on command.) It takes courage to venture into the emotional depths of pain, trauma, frustration, abuse, loss, joy, love, laughter, etc. Actors are willing to tap into the dark side – commonly termed in psychology as “the shadow” – and showcase it for the world. It’s that extreme case of vulnerability that makes you cry with Meryl Streep (Doubt 2008) and hope with Kate Winslet (Titanic 1997). Some people do this naturally – and we find ourselves drawn to their presence. Some have to be taught to master the craft from scratch. But all have to be given tutelage; to be challenged and stretched; to be coaxed into the emotional fullness that keeps them sharp and ready [see Walking The Tightrope].
The height of success in the acting world is marked by fame and fortune . . . and don’t forget the paparazzi! Actors move from their local markets to Los Angeles every day. And actors return with their tails between their legs just as quickly . . . luckily this constant movement keeps LA from falling into the Pacific! The serious actor knows that LA is their goal, but rarely do they know how to get from point A [insert where you are reading this now] to point B [Los Angeles]. It’s the need for approval and the drive to be seen that keeps the actor dissatisfied with being the big fish in a small pond. Swim a few thousand miles and you’ll find yourself on the other shore and with the industry executives who have been waiting their entire career to find YOU! Or at least, that’s what the actor wants to believe – I’ve been there myself.
Ok - all sarcasm aside - there are Oscars to be won and there is no reason why you can’t be one of the recipients, right? I agree. All I’m suggesting is that you do it wisely so that you actually make it to the podium when your time comes.