Acting might seem like the most easy and awesome work on the planet, but when you go behind the scenes, you get a whole other picture of what it is truly like to be an actor. I must say, over the months I have come to know quite a few actors in Los Angeles, and all of them share common traits, which I would like to celebrate in this blog.
A burning desire to succeed. Have you ever sat in a crowded room filled with beautiful people who look almost exactly like you, who are all reading the same part as you are, and wearing similar clothes as you? The most confident person in the world can saunter into that audition room and still be faced with insecurities suddenly. It truly takes a burning desire to succeed in the acting world because actors need to reinforce over and over again that they are special and not just another number.
Ability to accept criticism. On a set, time is money. Things must move quickly and efficiently. Hence the importance of being open to criticism without flinching in front of dozens of people. Actors are continuously faced with criticism, and this is what makes them exceptional people: their ability to keep their mood and vibration positive, and not let words destroy their self-image and self-love. If they do not have a strong back-bone, the slightest discouraging word can send their career down the drain.
Adaptability. Acting is all about going with the flow of the present moment. Whatever script actors have memorized or scenes they have revised, things in real life can go completely wrong sometimes. Thus they need to adapt quickly, and this means losing the desire to control events or situations. From what I have observed, great acting comes from great adaptability, that attitude that whatever happens on set, “It’s all good”.
Detachment. When going in to audition for roles, actors must remain detached from the outcome. If they hold unto that burning desire to get a role, they might live great disappointments. I have seen actors saunter in and out of audition rooms like they were going to order another cup of coffee, two sugars and cream. As they sit in that audition room, sipping their 876th cup of imaginary coffee, their faces reflect that timeless spiritual law of detachment.
Ability to sense others. To succeed in acting you need to be plugged into that invisible realm. Certain actors have told me that they immediately sense when the producers turn them down, even before they have spoken their first line. This sixth sense of what others are looking for creates in them an ability to not take things personal, to realize that they might not be the perfect person for that role. Most good actors navigate through auditions with an ability to sense and foresee ahead of time whether they will be cast or not. Such a sixth sense frees them of great expectations.
Staying humble. A great actor stays humble, because he or she never knows when the moment of glory shall pass. Maybe one year they get cast in the most popular television series, and the next they find themselves without work. Whatever happens, staying humble allows for actors to avoid crashes and burns.
My time amongst actors has taught me much. I continue to learn from their powerful spirits and quick minds. The world has much to learn from them. Let us remember that although Shakespeare is considered the greatest English writer of all times, he was also a superb actor. Rodney Dangerfield once said, “Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself”.