I recently saw a quotation which said:
“Success in Acting is mostly being in the right place at the right time. Your job is to be ready.”
Success is out of your hands, it’s out of your control, really don’t sweat it. You don’t know if it’s coming, dream big, but know that much of it is luck.
But if you are an actor, or a student actor, your job, your only job, is to be ready for the opportunity when it arrives. It’s all you can do.
These days, too many people want an agent and an audition for Netflix before they have a scrap of experience. They want the job, for which I doubt they will be ready. They may be lucky, but will they concert that luck? Only if they are truly ready.
You see, regardless of experience, every day, you should work towards one goal, being ready when the moment of opportunity comes. You may only get “one shot, one opportunity” as Eminem wrote in Lose Yourself, and when it comes, you must be ready. As Shakespeare says through Hamlet “the readiness is all.”
The Russian director Lev Dodin despairs that walking through the Conservatory, it is the actors who are not practising. The dancers are stretching, the musicians warming up, the actors are smoking and drinking coffee.
Being ready takes work. The problem is it’s hard to motivate yourself to be ready for the unexpected. The future is such an unknown country. It could come now, it could come in ten years. Will you be ready when it comes?
The opportunity will not come in the shape and size you expect it. It may be out of your comfort zone. It may be beyond your current experience. So ask yourself, how will I prepare for the unexpected? By every day developing yourself and your craft. You don’t need to be perfect, but every day you can work on your voice, your body and your imagination, the three expressive qualities of the actor. And this development is endless, you can continue to work on it every day without fail. And then there’s your professional acting skills too.
How will you make yourself ready today for tomorrow’s opportunity?
Mark Westbrook is the Head of Acting at Acting Coach Scotland