Acting is commonly misconceived as one of those things: you either have it or you don’t. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You wouldn’t expect to win gold in the 100 meter freestyle, without taking a single swim lesson. Acting is an acquired skill like any sport. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, training, and effort, but it is something that can be learned. Full disclosure: I know absolutely nothing about the olympics. Since I am a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, we are going to compare acting to football, and I’m going to use Carson Wentz, the starting quarterback as my example.
The average week for Carson, during the NFL season, is a six day 70 hour work week. During those six days he’s waking up before dawn, lifting weights, studying his tape from last week’s game, memorizing the upcoming game plan, learning about his opponent, eating a clean diet, practicing drills, running sprints, doing everything he can throughout the week to prepare for 60 minutes of playtime in the game on Sunday. He doesn’t just show up. He shows up with the confidence, knowing he did everything he could to win the game. Imagine showing up to your next audition with the same level of preparation and confidence.
Carson Wentz didn’t watch the Super Bowl once and thought “Yeah, I can do that” and then showed up to the NFL. He has been training and putting in the work required of an elite professional. Some of our most successful actors have been former athletes. They possess the work ethic it takes to make it in this business. They understand the discipline and training necessary to pursue something on a professional level.
As actors there are so many parallels to athletes. An athlete is in the gym lifting weights, running laps, getting stronger so they can go out on game day with confidence and crush it. As actors, you need to look at class as your gym and apply the athlete mentality. Constantly breaking down scripts, playback your tapes from class, read different acting books, study working actors in current tv shows and movies. Again this craft isn’t something that you’re born with or not. Acting is like any other skill that you have to work at it, especially if you want to pursue it on the professional level.
Also, actors should look at their acting coach like a sports coach. They critique and push you, not to bring you down, but the exact opposite. Your coach wants you to be the absolute best player out there. I mean actor! I’m starting to confuse my metaphors… Anyways! Be open to the critique and feedback. At the end of the day, your coach just wants you to succeed.
Actors often focus all of their attention to the art side of acting and neglect the work required of the craft. So treat every scene, script, movie, book, class with the same intensity as an athlete preparing for game day.