I believe that anyone who says acting is simple is wrong. I think that if you’re going to be believable (on stage or screen) to the audience, you have to be believable to yourself, and that means completely believing completely in the story, the character’s intentions, their reactions to situations and their relationships with other characters. If you doubt your own performance, then it’s not real. If you’re not actually feeling those emotions, then the audience is not going to believe you and they’ll ignore your performance. You have to be true to yourself. You’re there to bring real emotions to the story. Don’t worry about whether or not you look good under that light or at that angle. What you should be concentrating on is what your character is thinking and feeling. The lines are vital clues as to the character’s innermost workings, and they help deduce what kind of person they are. It’s more worth it to analyze the lines to find out who your character is than just saying the lines and hoping that people buy it. You’ve got to know what you’re talking about, why those lines are there and why they’re written they way they are. Good actors can figure that out with a few readings of the script.
I hate that old “it’s who you know” line. I don’t think an actor’s success should be based entirely upon who they know; rather, I think it should be WHAT they know. If you’re a good actor, people will find you; they’ll seek you out. Just because a bad actor knows Steven Spielberg, that means he’ll be cast in Steven’s next picture, instead of a really good and hard-working actor? I see something wrong with that. The better actor should be cast because that actor will bring in a better performance. I’d rather make it as an actor because I know the job rather than because I know the friend of the cousin of the writer of “E.R.” who can get me into a cast party. If I remain in B movie obscurity because I don’t have the right ‘connections’, then so be it.
I wonder how many friends I’ll have in the future if I decide to not become an actor. I wonder how many acquaintances will stop talking to me if I decided not to go into acting professionally. I wonder how many people I’ve encountered are just along for the ride, putting on great big fake smiles every time I’m around them, hoping that I’ll remember them when I’m rich and famous. I despise people who hang around actors just so they can say, “I know (insert actor’s name here)” to make themselves look great in front of other people. Actors are regular people, too. Just because you see some E! Hollywood True Story about an actor that spoke out of turn or was rude to someone doesn’t mean that all actors have the same personality traits. I’ve been about a foot and a half away from Halle Berry, and she politely said hi to me. I didn’t become profusely sweaty or go into convulsions. Could it be that TV is such a big part of our lives that anyone who we see in real life that we’ve seen on TV are immediately seen as higher beings, even gods?
Listen to the lyrics at the beginning of Marilyn Manson’s “Para-noir” (from the album “The Golden age of grotesque”). Then listen to Cypress Hills’ “Rock superstar” lyrics. Is being famous REALLY that bad? Does it make you wonder how many ‘friends’ you’ll acquire if you become a celebrity? Ever wonder how many of those people are only pretending to like you, when they really want your fame? And what is with people who are so jealous of others that they’ll HATE them for what they have? Why do people have to hate actors just because those actors are rich/famous? I’ve been face to face with Tom Welling, and it didn’t make me jealous of him (even though he’s bigger, stronger and more handsome than I). People are starving and dying every day in third world countries, and you’re jumping up and down on your bed, screaming and punching holes in your wall because you’re jealous of an ACTOR?
There are a few reasons for actors to appear in TV commercials and hawk a product:
– They need the money, or they haven’t had a gig in awhile so they’ll take anything they can get.
– They really like the product and want to endorse it.
– They’re doing it as a favour to a friend.
– They’ve been pressured by someone/many people.
– The company that owns the product approaches the actor with the chance to endorse this product because the company knows that the actor is famous and can bring in a large audience, so in order to reach that audience, they need a famous face.
I think the first and last points are the main reasons that actors appear in commercials. I strictly follow what Bill Hicks has said about actors being in commercials: “Here’s how it is, folks: you do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call.” I’ve told my agent that I’m not a salesman, I’m an actor, and I won’t endorse products.
To those of you who think that you can get into mainstream (Hollywood) acting through pornography: you’re wrong, and you’re going to get fucked in more ways and directions than you would in a gangbang. Traci Lords did it, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to do the same thing. If you start in pornography, that’s (unfortunately) how you’re going to be labeled forever. We’re not going to see you on the silver screen with Russell Crowe or Nicole Kidman if your first onscreen credit is “Horny Henrietta and the Harlem Gangbangers #53.” I will never become a porn star. Sex, to me, is a private thing between two people, and it should stay that way. I don’t talk about it with other people, so why would I be willing to do it in front of a camera? Money? HA!
Another thing up-and-coming actors should be prepared for: criticism, and LOTS OF IT. As time goes on and you are cast in more and more productions, you will begin to hear other people’s opinions of you on a regular basis. You should listen to the ones who have more to say than just, “You suck.” Listen to why they think you sucked (if they’re willing to explain themselves). There’s much to be learned from constructive criticism. You should also learn to laugh at yourself, even if it hurts. The movie industry is very strange when it comes to that kind of thing. You may learn from the examples of others, or examples that you yourself will provide in the future, but it’s important nonetheless to learn and laugh. There will be many joyous and horrific times in your career as an actor, and one of the greatest things you can do is learn all you can and pass it on to others. A strange phenomenon you should be aware of as you climb the ladder to stardom is the rising number of groups who will hate you. This will usually be in the form of websites on the Internet. I haven’t found an anti-Edward Norton website out there yet, but I’m sure that there is someone out there who can’t stand him simply because of what he does/how he looks/what he sounds like, etc. Be prepared for people swearing at you and keying your vehicle. This is an industry where many outside of it think they know acting! I was told (not to my face) that my performance in the stage play “Dracula” sucked (back in grade 9). I didn’t say anything to that person; I kept my mouth shut and tried not to let it shake me. If people see that they’ve gotten to you with their snide comments, they’ll gloat about it, and if it affects your performance, that will further fuel their fire.
Be prepared for the world to love and hate you at the same time. For some reason, there are many people out there who read tabloid magazines and believe every printed word. People are so disillusioned these days that they actually believe (and care) about what you do in your life. They’ll sit around with their friends and talk about the decisions you made and they’ll criticize you for it. Be prepared for people walking up to you and yelling and swearing at you just because you portrayed a rapist/murderer/pervert/(insert demeaning, immoral characterization here) in a movie or a T.V. show. For some strange reason, some members of the paparazzi think it’s a good idea to try and rattle actors to get them mad, and then they sit back and take many pictures in delight because your outburst just bought them a new car. Watch the movie “Paparazzi” to get an idea of what I’m talking about. I think the tabloid media are scumbags, and they shouldn’t be allowed to stalk celebrities. What’s the rational behind what the paparazzi do: stalking is okay if you’re trying to feed a public who has the right to know? Taking pictures of the late Princess Diana wherever she went shouldn’t have been allowed. Those photographers should have been the ones to have died in that tunnel in Paris that night, and the car Diana was in should have sped off, leaving other people to run up to the tabloid photographers’ bodies and start taking pictures with their own cameras.
It’s been said that there’s a difference between being an actor and being a movie star. To me, an actor is a person who’s in the industry for the love of acting and the desire to help tell a story. A movie star is someone who acts for the money, who wants to look good all the time, feel like they’re the king of everything (this is evident in their snobby attitude towards others), and hams it up for the media and the paparazzi. I would rather be an actor if I had to choose between the two. How can I resist the fame and fortune that being a “movie star” will bring, you may ask? Simple: I don’t want to be a movie star. I don’t care much about the money, and I especially don’t want the fame. I just want to be part of the collaborative process that is filmmaking.
Doing stage plays requires a lot more energy than film, I think. I find that many stage actors are more lively and energetic than film actors. Stage actors are willing to take more chances and risks than film actors, because stage actors have to exaggerate their movements and voices to be heard by EVERYONE watching, unlike film actors. However, film actors have a very tough job as well, because when your face is in the close-up, and it’s time to cry, you CAN’T be faking it. The audience will see it right away. You have got to be real and in the moment; don’t be worried about the people who will see your performance on-screen (especially the giant movie theatre screens where your faking will be projected ten fold).
One thing that conflicts me when it comes to acting is getting intimate with another actor for a scene (if I happen to be married at the time). I know that, at the end of the day, it’s a performance and I’m faithful to my real life wife, but STILL, it irks me to think that I’d have to do some hot, steamy, romantic scene with a beautiful actress and then have my real life wife watch it while sitting beside me in the theatre on opening night. What would she think? What would she say? There, up on the screen, is proof of me breaking my matrimonial vows! Physical proof right there on film! It doesn’t get any more apparent than that. If I happen to be married when I become a good actor, then I may have to think about choosing roles that do not have the character engaging in sexual/intimate acts with a woman. I realize that I’d be limiting myself, but that’s my choice to make. There are plenty of acting roles out there that don’t require ripping my shirt off and grinding up against some fake-breasted chick. Dennis Hopper didn’t have a love scene in “Speed”, did he? What makeout scenes with Robert Patrick did I miss in “Terminator 2”? How about Stallone in “Cop land”? Personally, I don’t think it’d be beneficial to either my marriage or my career if I were doing love scenes in movies while I was married in real life. Then again, what my real life wife has to say at the time is worth considering as well.
Acting is a very complex profession, and every actor in the world can approach it in a different way. There are lots of books out there on acting. Some of them, I think, are shams, partly because they’re advertised with that “YOU can be an actor TOMORROW and be making MILLIONS BY NEXT WEEK” shit. I think you should explore the different kinds of acting out there, and if you don’t find a method that suits you, create your own! I truly believe that there’s one role out there that’s tailor-made for every actor. It may be at the very beginning or in the middle of your career, but I truly believe that there will be one perfect role that every actor will fill. Actors have the entire world as their playground, their study, and their template. An actor can use anyone and anything to create an idea for a script, an improv skit, a character, or a scene. I think the best actors can take anything and create an entire world behind it. Using the imagination is a great tool, and you should always be developing your imagination, whether it’s through reading books, writing stories, doing massive amounts of improv, or a combination of all three. There is always something to do when it comes to acting…even if you don’t have any acting classes to go to or you can’t find an audition. Imagination and creativity are the two main reasons that this industry continues to thrive.