A question I ask myself time and time again. Why? To ensure myself I am on the right path and really want to do what I am doing. Why I am writing about a Question I ask myself? Well the answer is not all that difficulty because it is a no-brainer.
I was talking to someone who is well versed in the Meisner Method of Acting, who is in the early stages of setting up a series of workshops more for himself and anyone else who is interested. Unlike many other professionals in the acting profession (or any other profession for that matter,) he is offering this service for free!
So what is the problem here? Someone offering training that would otherwise cost thousands of Pounds (GBP,) so again what is the problem? Well, it is not so much a problem, more the fact that when one embarks on a journey to achieve a long held desire (mine is to be the best actor I can possibly be, as well as been happy and having life of meaning etc.,) sooner or later the Question posed in the Title, will come up and if one is honest, the answer is going to either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Simple as that. Black and White.
In a telephone conversation with this gentleman (and I was interested by the way in his workshop,) we had a lengthy discussion of what he was trying to and his past experience in Germany where he tried the same thing with mixed results. On one hand, it worked but on the other, it did not. And this was due to people finding any kind of excuse not do the training outside, the workshop sessions. It is a no-brainer that to be good at anything, one is going to have to make sacrifices that go way beyond what is required. Such is the level of sacrifice that is required to get anywhere in life. In many cases it is all about sacrifice. What we discovered that many of our fellow thespians were not prepared to do that. There are many reasons for this, work, family commitments and whatever factors that come into the mix. These I understand to a point but at what point do you make the sacrifice? How badly do you want it?
Acting can be a lonely experience and as well as a very lonely and personal journey. To be a good practitioner of one’s career and art, one cannot do it in isolation. I read plays, screenplays, work on my voice but it is not enough, hence my telephone conversation with this gentleman.
The problem many needy and hungry actors want and desire is a good ongoing training throughout their career. Unfortunately such training and coaching costs a great deal of money. Unless you have a few ‘bob’ behind you or an extremely well-paid nine-to-five job, then no problem. However if as a jobbing actor with none of the above, then life is extremely hard (as I can testify to). The pay rate for actors in the UK is not all that generous unless you are well-known name. As the jobbing actor, you can find yourself doing jobs that won’t even make the rent. Such is the respect the UK has for actors. Just look at the drastic cuts in arts funding.
All of the above side, how bady do I want it? Badly! That is why despite all the pitfalls and hardships I continue to endure I am still in the game. I love what I do but the fact I am not doing it from a comfort zone, only enhances what I do that much more because the hunger is very much there – Quite literally in fact. I don’t believe anyone can succeed in the business from a comfort zone and I have met many actors who are just doing that. They are pursuing an acting career as if they were pursuing a career via a nine-to-five route and you wonder if they are serious about actually succeeding. They don’t succeed but like I said above, acting is a lonely journey and success is not just about talent. Talent is a wonderful thing but it is not enough. Without the sacrifice, commitment and drive behind it, it just is not going to happen. Simple as that.
Going back to the telephone conversation I was conducting with this practitioner of the Meisner Method of Acting, he was offering his time and services for free and there was virtually no takers. I think there were only four of us who were interested. Due to other commitment (guilty here,) I could not make it due to the time I would finish plus the time it would take to get to South-West London from Central London, I would not have made it on time. However I felt it professional to contact him and advise accordingly, which when we had the lengthy telephone conversation we had. We did find it surprising that free training was offered in a method of acting that would cost a great deal of money (in some cases thousand of Pound GBP). I am no fool I am going to the next session and the session after etc.
It does make you wonder just how badly people want it? Maybe if they considered that the Question of the Title, fewer heartaches would occur.