Acting is a pastime enjoyed by many, from amateur dramatics enthusiasts to Hollywood celebrities. The definition of acting is the telling of a story through enacting a character or characters, be that on the stage, for a television or film production, on the radio, or through any other means. There are a wide range of skills upon which actors draw whatever their medium, which many actors spend years studying to perfect.
Othman Louanjli enjoys acting as well as studying the craft through trips to the cinema. Others may wish to pursue a more formal acting education, especially if looking for a career in the profession. The difference between professional and amateur actors comes down to money – if someone is being paid to act, they are classed as a professional, whereas amateur actors are just performing for the love of it or to gain the experience needed to eventually be able to earn money from their talent.
Acting training and education comes in various forms, from honing skills in a regular amateur dramatics group to completing formal, higher education qualifications. Some colleges and universities offer drama or other acting courses alongside other qualifications, while other establishments such as specialist drama schools and conservatories focus solely on acting. Most – although by no means all – professional working actors will have studied the craft in one way or another before and during their careers.
There are also many professional schools and acting classes available to children and young people under the age of 18 who wish to gain experience and begin developing their skills. There are a variety of approaches to such training at any age, including method acting, mime, acting for camera, physical theatre, and psychotechnique.
Actors need to have confidence when on the stage or in front of the camera, but they also need the self-confidence not to take rejection personally. There will always be auditions that don’t go to plan, or parts auditioned for that aren’t a good fit. When an actor doesn’t get the role they want, they need to be able to pick themselves up and move on to the next audition without becoming dejected. At each audition the actor is essentially selling themselves, so that confidence needs to come through no matter what the results of the last audition. Even George Clooney was turned down for roles at the start of his career! Actors need to have a thick skin, so they can take constructive criticism as a positive rather than something that depletes their confidence.
Developing a character is a collaborative endeavour shared by the actor, script or screenplay writer and director, perhaps even with input from other sources as well. Good actors will have faith in the vision of their director as well as bringing their own vision for how the character should develop to the table. Also, it’s not only about building one character but about building an entire concept, whether that’s a play, movie or television show.
While there are only so many people who can become mega-stars of stage or screen, the best advice for anyone who loves acting is to simply do it. Join a theatre group, attend auditions or join an acting school; just keep on doing what you love.