- Written by Paris Hepburn
Acting sometimes seems so easy and fun which it certainly is. To others it’s not quite as easy as they think. Actors comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and personalities. For young people wanting to be in the industry of acting you have to understand the basics of what acting is in order to see if you really like it. I think the most important aspect of being an Actor is wanting to be one. Many people think how fun it would be to be an actor. Then when they actually start acting they find out that it’s just not for them. So first I would like to talk about the actor themselves.
I started performing when I was two. I still love performing to this day. I have never changed my mind about my career goals. Acting has always been a passion of mine since I can sort of remember. The stage, the lights, the excitement, the build-up, the practice has all been very motivating for me. My heart starts to race when I’m on set getting ready to perform. This is the passion that all actors have to have in order to become a great actor.
What does it take to become a great actor? Lots of work. And I mean lots of work. But then it’s not work if you love what you are doing…its passion. And passion is what drives a person to consider what they are doing to be gratifying. The passion inside of someone who doesn’t consider work as mundane but a passion of expression. A need to live acting.
There are different actors. Young actors who are, say, two years old to eight years old are pretty much driven by their parents’ desires. Some parents push their little ones in a relentless pursuit of fulfilling their own failed dream. They drive their children to acting when they really don’t want any part of it. I have seen this over and over again. And then there are those children who love acting since they first were exposed to it, such as myself. My mom had to still push me at times, which was normal, but I loved it from the very beginning. So if parents think that their young budding actor child has what it takes, enroll them in some classes and give it a whirl. Get children involved for some acting classes at school, community centers, or theaters. Have them audition for plays, musicals or recital for dance. At first they have to start getting used to being in the limelight. Then gradually the child will more comfortable and bigger roles. The training and experience is invaluable. The parent will soon find out if their little one is a natural or just would like to have fun. Either way they will learn a lot.
In the ages of eight to twelve, our little actor has now developed more independent skills. These skills will bring forth the opportunity to show the child if they really like what they are doing or not. The fun they had before, when they were little, is more intense and they are expected to be on the top of their game for their age. Silliness and goofing around is not tolerated while working. Parents, at this stage, have to pay close attention to their child as they will let the parent know if they like it or not. The demands and pressures become obvious to the child if they want to continue at this pace. Sometimes, the parent might have the child participate in recreational acting. This would be a great way to stay in acting without the strict pressures of performing and the demands that are expected. For the professional child actor this is not the case. They will embrace all the rigors of their profession and keep going regardless as the demands and pressures that will come along become more intense.
If a child starts to show any signs of not wanting to be in front of the camera then it’s probably a good idea that the parent doesn’t push them. My mom never pushed me into doing acting, dancing, singing or modeling. I wanted to do all those activities on my own and I wanted to do all of them.
The child will let the parent know if they are truly interested in acting and performing by their actions. Keep an open eye.
When I reached the age of twelve I had firmly made my decision that I wanted to act. So the long grueling hours of dance, singing, and modeling were set aside for my acting career. After all, I couldn’t do everything so I had to make up my mind just exactly what it was I wanted to do. I never totally gave up dancing, singing, and modeling. I just had my concentration on acting. But my other performing arts came into play with my acting. So it was a good thing I did all of those previous activities. To this day I can dance away at anything, pick up a tune on the piano and sing, and rock out Fashion Week anywhere. And they all came in handy because I was asked to do them all.
Acting is created in our early stages of life. What seems like silly acts from a small child may be the budding creation of the next great actor. I have always been quite. I was actually more observant than others. So I would sit and watch other kids and people acting. This was my way of learning my acting skills. But, give me the chance to perform in front of a camera or people, I light up like a Christmas tree. No shy guy here when it comes to getting in front of the camera. Give me more!!! Bring it on!!!
Later on in years, as the child matures, everything changes. Puberty takes hold and many of them start to questions if they want to continue to be in entertainment. The once bubbly over exuberant child becomes less interested in practicing and more interest in other activities. They remember the long hard hours it takes to be on set and perform. Many turn their interests to hanging out with their peers. Many start to explore other interests. And let’s face it…many just want to sit and play video games. I think this happens because many children were never supported in their entertainment endeavors. At times I felt that way but my mom kept encouraging me. Helping me to remember how exciting it once was to get before the camera and in front of audiences.
I know a man who, when he was little, would always be talking on the microphone and recording interviews while his mother made dinner and did the dishes. This became a passion for him. When he enlisted in the Navy he became a Lieutenant JG Broadcast-Journalist. Only one in 200 enlisted men achieved this level. Which I was told is very difficult to achieve. But because of his passion for radio he made a successful career in the Navy. His passion for broadcasting was very evident at an early age. But sadly he went on to pursue other things in his life which were not as rewarding as what he had done as a young man and regretted it throughout his life. Ryan Seacrest did the same thing when he was a young boy but he went on to become a very famous broadcaster.
The bottom line is to start as early as you can in something that you really have a passion for. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t turn out exactly the way you want it to be. Acting is a great deal of patience, understand, drive and stamina. You have to be able to live, breath and eat acting. Well at least that is for myself. I going to make it to the top and I fully understand what it takes to get there. Hundreds or thousands of disappoints and ‘NOs.’ But I determined to not let myself get in my way. I rebound and move each and every day with no regrets for the past. And in the end there is a great deal of total satisfaction because I know I gave it my all.
Next in ‘ACTING 101’ I want to talk about what it means to be an adult actor. That is over the age of eighteen. Let’s move forward to read me next week.