Helping hands

20140102-174843.jpgAn actor does not, and cannot work in isolation. What good is an actor who is writer, director and audience also? An actor needs an audience, be it live in a theatre, or via delayed telecasting (i.e. film and tv,) because that is what an actor does his craft for. You’re not an actor without an audience, just some weird person watching their reflection in a mirror.

An actor needs a story to tell. Doesn’t need to be a brilliant story, a simple joke will do. A comedian is a funny character, telling amusing tales in such a way to get people to laugh. A well delivered joke is an art some people take a lifetime to master, while others seem to have a natural flair for. In some sense, preparing a joke is like preparing a character in that you must consider aspects of delivery, timing and storyline, and each comedian has a different approach. Sometimes these stories are written by other people, or writers.

An actor needs to be able consider the larger picture, as it relates to them and their character. Some people have visual gifts or techniques that help them do this, yet all actors benefit from the perspective of a non-involved observer, usually a director or acting coach. This provides an insight that is extremely difficult to achieve on their own.

An actor needs to continually develop their craft. Like life, learning is continuous and can take the form of either formalised training, schooling or workshops, or can develop by observing others, asking questions and trying things out. Any actor who says they do not need to learn anything is not a true actor in my book. At the very least, an actor must work on refining their craft as often as they can. You can guarantee that other people know something you don’t, either because they are more experienced, or because they simply know something you don’t. Learn as much as you can.

An actor needs to learn to ask for help. There is only so much one can do on their own. Habits form which the individual becomes blind to. They struggle when asked to perform something outside of their comfort zone. So an actor needs to be able to recognise when they need assistance, which is all the time. There is no shame in asking for help. There is much to be gained when you do.

Everybody needs to learn to ask for help. Everyone. One thing acting, and Google, has shown me is that all the problems you are facing have already been solved by others, or if not your specific problem, ones very much like it. Nothing operates in a complete vacuum, except perhaps that weird little dance you do in front of the mirror before bed, and therefore neither should you.

Know when you need help, and that you need help all the time. There is strength in community.

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