Any acting studio who makes you career promises, teaches a homegrown technique without an illustrious career, and an exceptional body of work to back it up or uses the word “Star” or “Hollywood” in their name is most likely blowing smoke up your behind.
But in all fairness, they probably don’t believe that what they’re doing is that harmful. They most likely think that they’re helping and doing an excellent service.
The reality is, they’re pushing you further from your goals by helping you develop bad habits, entrenching your ignorance, and catering to the shortcut mindset of a quick path to fame and fortune.
Here’s the thing though…
Acting is not about memorizing lines.
Acting is not about regurgitating words.
Acting is not about knowing which camera to look at.
Do you think Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Glenda Jackson, Lupita Nyong’o, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand, Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cate Blanchett all won their Oscars and are worth millions of dollars because they all have a good memory and know which camera to look towards?
Acting IS about being able to give truthful, vulnerable, specific, and authentic emotions consistently and on cue.
What I always ask my students is, how are you going to grieve for, love or hate your co-star on set, for example, when you haven’t been taught how to do it or even practiced it over and over and over again in a classroom?
The answer: you won’t be able to.
You will have no choice but to pretend.
And the numero uno rule in acting =
No going through the motions
Being a great actor is not about getting to Hollywood. Guess what? You can move to Hollywood right this second if you want to.
No legitimate acting studio would make promises of Hollywood dreams and “inside” connections or even hint at something like that in their advertising because it’s impossible to know if a student will even be/become great, especially having never worked with them before. That’s a sales tactic that offers a “reward” to the customer at the beginning of the sale instead of a valuable product worth money.
Being a great actor is not about nailing auditions. You can be a brilliant actor and still have a bad audition.
You can also be a great actor and not be right for the part.
You can be a great actor and be too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too small, too bald, too, too, too, too, too, etc, etc, etc, etc, for that part. Yes, this is a business about looks, also. It doesn’t mean you need to change your look or gain weight or wear heels or dye your hair. It means you weren’t right for that part. A 42-year-old isn’t going to be cast as a high-schooler. You aren’t getting that part no matter how great you are because a 42-year-old doesn’t look like they’d be in high school AND vise versa; a high school-aged actor isn’t booking the high school principal role either. It doesn’t make sense and because film and TV are in compressed time, there’s no time to cast someone who doesn’t fit what the role calls. You cannot be something you’re not; it’s impossible. But there are roles for everyone. You don’t need to change your look. You need to get great at acting and be bookable because you’re great and can prove it consistently.
You can be a great actor and not be what they had envisioned. You can be “fill in the blank” reason and still not get booked.
But the good news is there are roles for you IF you are bringing value; IF you’re bringing something brilliant and amazing to the table.
Being great is about doing GREAT work.
Even if NO ONE sees it.
Being great is not about getting to Hollywood or nailing auditions or being cast in some film or having a star meter on IMDB showing you’re in the 800,692nd position.
Give ? me ? a ? freakin’ ? break ? child! You should know better than that! And if you don’t, who’s kool-aid have you been drinking!?!?
Being great is about portraying characters truthfully, being specific and raw and honest and vulnerable.
Being great is about being alive and present in the moment.
Being great is about exploring the human soul.
Being great is about truly feeling something and being affected.
Being great means, you will go to Hollywood if YOU want to go there and are ready to move to the largest market on the planet and compete among truly great actors.
Being great means, you will nail your auditions a lot of the time because you will have put in all that work in the beginning of your journey and you continue to do great work because you want to be the best you can be and stay competitive.
Being great means, you’re more concerned about being consistently good and constantly challenging yourself even when it’s scary.
Being great means, you won’t quit even when it’s uncomfortable and hard and weird and unnerving.
Being great means, you don’t care about IMDB pages or star meters because you are here to show them what good acting looks like and that’s it. You don’t care about slashes or titles.
Being great means, you can move ANYWHERE and still have a shot. You can book more than local, non-paying films.
Being great means, you already stopped doing background work. Background actors are important. Vital to a production, in fact. And there was a time and place when YOU did that. But you put in all this hard work to be great at your craft, and you have moved on to meatier roles. You no longer need to be a blurred out person in a film with no credit.
Being great means YOU will book the roles that you are right for because you have proved you can do the work.
No studio can make anyone great.
No studio can fulfill anyone’s Hollywood dreams.
No studio can guarantee you’ll get a reputable agent.
No studio can promise you’ll get into the film industry.
No studio can promise that you will nail or book an audition.
The only thing a studio can do is teach you what they know; everything else is up to you and chance.
P.S. You don’t give someone a scalpel without teaching them anything about biology in the same way you don’t give someone a script without teaching them a (proven & recognized) acting technique. The cart never comes before the horse.