Something we hear often at Acting Coach Scotland is how people want to escape themselves to become characters. If people read our literature, they’d realise we have a philosophical stance that is quite opposed to all that. But more importantly than that, I believe they are fundamentally wrong to believe training as an actor, or becoming an actor will result in them becoming someone other than themselves - and even more, and perhaps more importantly, it is not really a way to escape yourself.
But my most important point is this. Training as an actor will NOT help you escape yourself, instead it is quite the opposite. Training as an actor will challenge you, and change you, and force you to confront who you are as a person, as well as help you become an actor.
Real actor training trains the person. It is YOUR character that will undergo the massive transformation, not some fictional character in a script. Whoever you are at the start of your actor training, you will be a different person at the end, a better person at the end.
Not everyone is ready for this. Not everyone can handle that type of challenge. They know they want to act, they love it. They would love to become a professional actor. And that’s the end of the matter. What they do not consider is how prepared they are for a training that affects them to personally.
The actor is artist, instrument and art form. As such, your journey of training to hone each of these will be immensely personal. And it’s impossible not to be impacted by this. It’s not within your control.
When you are training, you have to go into it with your eyes open. You are going to change. If you resist, if you fight, you will not become half the actor, or half the person you can be. If you resist, it will be a painful slog. People with a fixed mindset will find this a threat their sense of self. People with a growth mindset will find this an exciting challenge. A chance to grow.
How you see it - is down to you.
So when applying to drama school, be clear with yourself, you are about to go on a fantastic and life changing journey. How exciting!
To You, The Best
Mark Westbrook is the Course Leader of the One Year Diploma in Acting for Stage and Screen at Acting Coach Scotland