Theater Talent VS Trained Actor

Okay this is a very common question that I get asked (by the way, you can send your questions here) so I will try and cover it in this article. The common debate is: do actors and theater performers need to be trained or is it a natural talent that you either got or not?

To give you an answer in short (although it’s still worth to read the rest of this article) I would say that it’s a lot different than say 50 years ago. Back then there was not much competition when it came to acting, and most people that were working in movies or theatrical sketches were gifted people that wanted to chase after that talent they were given from above. After the boom of Hollywood however and the tremendous success, both financial and reputation, more and more people wanted to become actors. So that means that the industry attracted people that weren’t necessarily that much gifted from God with an acting talent, but rather worked on it to become good at it. So that means basically, that a less talented person, can wipe out all the talent assuming that he works harder.

In order to become an actor, it isn’t a must to attend training courses and classes. However, if you want to have the slightest chance of getting anywhere, I would recommend you do train to become an actor. Not only competition is fierce and you will get crushed, but many of these acting academies have connections with producers. So say you get to the top of your class and thrive, it isn’t rare for these academy teachers to push you forward and setup a couple of meetings for you with top producers. So it’s more of a networking thing, on top of simply being trained to act on screen or on stage. Now, not many people have the financial means to just throw money at courses. So what people do many times, before they start getting larger acting roles, is work jobs. The most common job that is worked in California is that of a waiter. Not much skilled required and pays the bills until you get the breakthrough you are looking for. So don’t be afraid to work while preparing to become an actor. Who said it would be easy anyway?

Having said all this however, there are many people that just “geek out” on acting courses without putting them to work. What good does it do you if you get a bunch of certificates and papers that say you attended xyz academy? If you can’t impress the producers you won’t get far. In fact, you probably will want to use those pieces of paper as toilet paper ’cause you won’t get much use out of them alone. You need to put yourself out there. And you don’t even need to wait until the training course is over. From a very early stage, start prospecting, the same way a business does. Start working with people and start making connections. That will set you aside from your competition. 

Another thing I would have to say as a little tip, is make sure you don’t get stuck with a slow acting class. Obviously be honest with yourself and understand how good you are yourself, but don’t get stuck with a class for the “slow kids” if you know what I mean. If you are in a more advanced acting level (either gifted or trained) make sure you attend such classes and maybe some that are a little bit over your difficulty level. That is the only way you will improve. Lose all your lower quality actors/friends. They will just drag you down. Speaking of losing people: lose all your drug and alcohol abusers. In this business, you need to be focused and at the tip of your feet. You can’t afford a hangover that may cost you the audition. Lose all your loser friends and get yourself in shape, if you want to have the slightest chance to success.

Was this information good for you? I am trying in these posts do talk to both the person in the audience of a show and the performer himself. So I always appreciate your feedback. Of course if you want to see more, come back.