We read and see a lot about hopefuls who may have some skill in performing being on the many talents shows on TV. If they win they are discovered and launched into a performance career. Of course there have been many success stories, but does all this make up for some real training? Why do people choose to invest time and money into years of training if just anybody can do it? It’s the same with acting. And now we have the whole social media situation where anyone who has a large following on Instagram and Twitter can call themselves an actor and be cast in a lead role, like Tanya Burr. Here’s an interesting article.
So what does training give an actor/performer? Is it really you have the gift or you don’t and no amount of training can give you that raw talent? Well my view is that yes there are people who are naturally gifted, but as with anything training and practising can help the person develop that talent. Also the person may not be good at everything. They may move well or have a good voice or both, but some voice projection lessons may well improve and preserve the voice. As an actor does it hurt to learn to speak verse well or to learn about stage fight so that you can do it safely as well as convincingly? My view is that with hard work and dedication most people can turn in a competent performance, but the really talented do have a natural instinct for characterisation and convincing dialogue. What I can’t believe in is that people can just do it without any hard work. It does demand turning up to rehearsal ready to work and then going away and researching and doing the home work. I know of people who like Tanya are cast purely because they are successful elsewhere and some make it, but they are usually very surprised at just how hard it is. People like Dame Judi Dench ( I was watching a programme about her last night) make it look easy and effortless and therein lies their incredible skill. Let’s please let’s go easy on the stunt casting and appreciate those who have invested in their training. It doesn’t have to be three years at a drama school. We know not everybody can afford that, but invest in some training. There are many evening, weekend and short courses. I know when I cast actors that those who have spent some time training have a more varied tool box at their disposal and they can make more choices. They learn quickly and generally are much more amenable to direction. They are also keen on working as a team and offering up suggestions simply because they have a greater understanding of what I am looking and asking for.