It’s not your fault but it is your responsibility
One of our blogs was reposted the other day and it caused a debate between a number of actor friends. It was a provocative notion that maybe Actors fail to succeed because they’re not good enough (yet).
The gist of my disgruntled friends’ argument was that our use of language (Maybe you’re shit?) was insensitive and doesn’t reflect the current ethos of the Studio. There may be more than a grain of truth in that; it was written years ago - probably as a response to an an excuse laden actor - and we are perhaps more sophisticated in our arguments these days. And so, we deleted it (it’s not worth spending an age trying to get people to see the real point within)
The interesting thing it brought up though, was that there’s not any easy way to criticise an actor’s ability. There isn’t a measurable tangible standard to which we can quantitatively say, with confidence - your acting isn’t good enough.
Plus, it’s much easier to blame everything and everyone else - it takes huge courage and self awareness to admit that you’re not as good as you think you could be. And then even more courage to do something about it.
Yes, yes there’s a whole bunch of things that are out of your control in the casting or audition process - and some of it is ugly and unjust.
But what about the bit of it that is in your control?
You see, here’s the thing. Everyday I watch professional actors do their thing. Between Amazon, Netflix, Hulu etc etc there’s never been more new content being made. And yet so much of it’s acting content is mediocre - and if they’re honest, so many actor friends would probably agree.
But no-one dares question the integrity or quality of ‘the artist’.
What do you call a plumber who fits a new bathroom that leaks? Possibly shit? Definitely incompetent, and most certainly badly trained.
What do you call a carpenter who can’t get the door to hang straight? Possibly shit? Definitely incompetent, and most certainly badly trained.
What do you call an Actor whose lifeless performance can’t show the drama of a scene or a monologue, without a massive amount of editing and sound effects?
What nobody wants to say out loud is this - so many ‘trained’ actors don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re making educated guesses, without the foundation of any real set of practical, repeatable tools. Not all of them. But far far too many of them.
And you know what? It’s not their fault.
They’ve been trained by a system that knows it doesn’t have to be accountable. There is a massive oversupply of actors to an industry with a limited demand. It’s easy money - let’s train as many people as we can, for as much money as we can get away with, because let’s face it, if nobody gets a job, it’s not really the drama school’s fault is it? Most drama schools have gotten away with it for years - teaching old outdated, impractical, and ethereal fairy dust acting ideas.
So after 3 years, the graduate finishes their prestigious (and very expensive) training, and is woefully under prepared in terms of acting technique. Woefully under prepared for scene analysis, woefully underprepared for monologue technique, woefully underprepared for self taping, woefully underprepared for the psychological impact of repeated and systemic rejection. Simply: woefully underprepared for the job.
It’s not their fault.
Don’t get me wrong, Drama School can be amazing, it can teach you a great deal about yourself and provide an experience that’s very special. But it’s not enough.
There comes a point where you have to say - ‘it might not be my FAULT that I am not succeeding in my auditions or castings, or performances or career goals, but it is my RESPONSIBILITY to try and do something about it’
We might not have the marketing budget or the history of the big schools. We can’t give you a ‘prestige’ badge for working with us. But the reason why we contribute to the oversupply of actor training in this highly competitive industry, is because we know we can give you tools that work.
Do you want to take responsibility? Or is it just easier to say it’s not your fault?
Don’t be afraid to fuck up and never lose your imagination.
NICK J FIELD