As Told By: Beverly Hills Playhouse
The idea exists out there that acting training is a waste of time. Or that it's something you might do to "tune up for pilot season." Or that training is less important than meeting people – casting directors, agents, producers, Hollywood parties, screenings, going to Sundance – the myth is strong that success is based primarily in such networking activity.
And why invest money in a good acting class if you can take the same money nowadays and produce a short film that you can put on YouTube within 24 hours, receiving comments and acknowledgments, and maybe even... a deal!?
So why study?
Because whether you would say it aloud or not, there is something other than money and "success" that has driven you into acting. There is the thrill of performance, the ability to affect an audience, to create an emotional experience, to have an artistic experience yourself in performing – this is the true motivation. And in order to do this – you need to know what you're doing. You need to be trained. You need to study. Hard.
Money and success are the exchange you receive for providing quality performances. And the networking and parties and YouTube videos – these are means by which you try to create the opportunity to deliver a quality performance. Networking is important for sure – actors should be proactive in administrating their careers – and this is part of what we teach at the BHP.
But professional musicians, athletes, dancers, artists – they all embark on a lifetime of training that never ends. The same should be true for actors. Musicians play every day. Writers write every day. Dancers dance every day. Athletes work out every day. The actor needs a group, needs other actors, and thus a good class is the best way of maintaining your skills and developing them, even while working professionally. The pursuit of excellence and your personal expansion as an artist are lifetime endeavors.
Our culture holds celebrities up to the light of adulation, no matter the underlying talent. There are even celebrities who are just famous for being famous, without a single product to their name, nothing they offer in exchange for the attention and money they receive. In such a world, training may seem to be of diminished importance.
Who needs training when such-and-such an actor moved to LA, walked into his first audition, and that was the TV series that made him famous?
Who needs training when such-and-such a standup comedian is so funny, so personable, that ABC made a series for the guy and now he's making millions?
Who needs training when your friend Joe moved to LA only 6 months ago and hooked up with some connected people up in the Hollywood Hills and his YouTube short has 20 million views and now he swears he has a deal for a series and he keeps getting invited to these fancy parties?
Who needs training? You do. Everyone does.
The longer a student has been studying the more likely it is they are working on a regular basis, and yet some of the most successful actors in the professional world are also the ones who are the most regular in their attendance and their production in class.
You want fame? Study.
You want money? Study.
New car? Study.
Swimming pool? Study.
More importantly – you want to become the best actor you can be, which will open the door to all of the above? Study.