Wanna be an Actor? or wannabee actor?

Here are some excellent tips for how to present yourself at auditions.  The tipster is Ken Davenport, a highly respected off-Broadway theatre producer.

The Producer’s Perspective

Ken makes the point that many people think they are actors, but there are very few Actors around. The difference is not in the level of talent or training, but in the level of professionalism and commitment that is brought to the process.

I shouldn’t be surprised, or shocked any more at the care-less attitudes I hear about among actors, but I can’t help being hurt when I come across them. Yes, foolish as it sounds, I actually care so much about Theatre that I feel personally offended when I come across examples of disrespect towards it.

Recently I heard about some students (on a respected University degree course) who decided they didn’t need to participate in group assignment work, because they were ‘going to New York’, presumably to find opportunities to let down even more colleagues. Actually, they are in for a very rude awakening if they do make it to the Big Apple hoping to get into a drama college, or to make it on Broadway.

Those of us who care about theatre, and who work to create theatre that is engaging and provocative, entertaining and refreshing, we know that it doesn’t happen without a great deal of hard work, sacrifice, love and patience. It requires people to arrive at rehearsals on time, and to stay till the rehearsal is finished; to take regular classes (arriving at those on time also); to audition over and over without getting frustrated with the auditioners; to put up with boring paid work in order to survive while doing soul-sustaining unpaid work, and to REFUSE to be involved in unpaid work that is not creatively satisfying – because it is not true that any stage work is better than none.  It is bad enough when shallow, mediocre work is presented on our mainhouse, funded stages: we don’t need to add to the agony by dropping our standards to the lowest common demoninator.  This applies whether you are an actor looking for work, or a director looking for actors. Be choosy, be selective, make sure you know the difference between an Actor, and a wannabee.

Oh, I could rant on – and I do – but I guess I’m ‘preaching to the converted’ anyway. So, good on ya! Carry on fighting the good fight! Let’s make some cracking good theatre, together, soon…


22 September 2009 at 9:44 AM

I’ve known lots of actors who were “going to New York”. Later on, unsatisfied with their great progress, they’re “going to Hollywood”. No excuses for “wannabeeism”, but it’s hard for me to not also lay some of the blame at the feet of Almighty Marketing and the “Star Biznezz”. It’s really done a number on the belief system of the simply pie-eyed or the wantonly egotistical and vainglorious. Sad to say, they apparently outnumber the unqualified lucky AND the dedicated AND the truly talented–combined.

And they seem not to notice in advance, the patently obvious fact, that in the glorious quick-strike they seek, how few times the lightning bolt happens to land in anyone’s vicinity, no matter the level of talent.
So; another place where the want to bees are distinguished from the wannabees.The wannabees are now on their third somewhat disgruntled “life trip”–going back home. The want to bees are on a journey too; and it never ends. A Vocation never does. 🙂

    22 September 2009 at 11:04 AM

    Thanks JM, it’s good to have the perspective from your side of the world as well. Of course, there are excellent and hard working actors who’ve made the trip from Australia to the US and – eventually – found regular work and sometimes high profile careers. As you point out, the lightning bolt doesn’t strike often. There’s an old saying – it might have been Groucho Marx – that good luck happens more often to people who work very very hard.

    19 April 2011 at 8:34 PM

    TLDpJr Very true! Makes a chngae to see someone spell it out like that. 🙂

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