An Actor Trains.
Becoming a better actor in 2020
Theatres have been closed for six months now, and it is obvious that if I want to act, it's going to be on camera, or as a voice-over performer.
When I arrived in the Los Angels area in 1987 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, my number one goal was to play as many roles as I could in order to gain performance skills, and to build my resume so that I could get an agent.
My two years at the academy plunged me into a rigorous round of studying drama, comedy, voice, dance, the classics, and acting for the camera. Once I graduated, most of my work was on stage. As an actor, singer, dancer, I was able to work in many big beautiful musical theatre productions, and I experienced so much happiness and fulfillment in those years.
Today, as a woman well into middle age confronting the need to shift from stage to screen, I feel like I am starting over in terms of the skills I need in order to work. Here are some of the realities I have to accept:
1. My ability to find work is 100% up to me. I no longer have an agent or manager sending me out on auditions, so it's up to me to check Backstage.com and apply for auditions.
2. I can't just show up in person, so I have to learn the technical skills needed to gather, record, and edit videos and audio recordings that I can put up on my profile, and send to producers and directors.
3. I need to create a performer's website.
In order to have good work to share, I need to make friends with the camera and microphone, fast. I also have to develop the physical condition necessary to look and feel confident on digital media. In other words,
I have to become a better actor.
Here is my plan for developing into an actor who can meet the demands of this new era in the performing arts.
First, I have to train physically. Resistance training and dance will keep me young, fit, flexible, and ready to take on the physical demands of portraying different characters.
Second, practicing my acting skills will require finding and practicing material, studying acting for the camera, and learning the on camera skills that are in demand. I can do this through the online courses that are offered by industry professionals. The biggest challenge with this is budgeting for this instruction, which can be expensive.
Third, in order to have audition materials to submit, a certain amount of technical skill will be required.
For the next 12 weeks, as I go through a program of physical transformation for the camera, I will focus on building my voice-over skills. I have a Yeti microphone, and I have a basic understanding of editing with Audacity. I also have audition sides from Backstage that I can use to practice, even if I'm not ready to audition yet.
If you are starting or transforming your acting and performance career in 2020, I hope you will follow my jouney, and share your challenges and discoveries too. It is going to be an adventure.