Actors Should Be Like Athletes

“Don’t be a tragedy,” said my very blunt middle school theatre teacher.

I was a little taken back but then intrigued by what he had to say. I was in 7th grade, in love with acting, and hungering for more. One day after class he pulled me aside and asked me why I was in the class. I was never good with spontaneous questions, but this question was one I could answer without much thought. “Because I love it Mr. A. I have finally found my nitch. All I want is to learn more and to keep learning.” He encouraged me by telling me he saw the raw talent I had and to work at it every day. “Work like an athlete, don’t be a tragedy.”

An Olympic athlete trains, eats, and sleeps and then trains again. They can’t afford to be lazy, or decide to not get out of bed one day. They do what they do because they love it, and because they want to be great at it.  I went to L.A. one spring to visit my sister who is a working actor. I accompanied her to workshops, showcases, and auditions. Observing the people, the environment, and the culture, I was shocked by the mindset “actors” in Hollywood have created.

Acting is an art, a craft, and it’s an education. We all know that saying “practice makes perfect.”

Acting is an art, a craft, and it’s an education. We all know that saying “practice makes perfect.” Some practicing and aspiring actors romanticize fame and think, “I’ll get a television series and I’ll have a big house, I’ll have people who will adore me, and it will be wonderful and everyone will know my name.” This way of thinking is truly tragic. The greats didn’t become the greats with this thought process.

In the documentary The History of the Eagles, Glenn Frey tells a story of how he learned how to write songs and write them well  “I learned through Jackson’s ceiling and my floor exactly how to write songs…Jackson would get up and play the first verse and chorus 20 times until he had it the way he wanted it. Then there would be silence. Then I would hear the teapot go off, then it would be quiet for 10 or 20 minutes, then he would play again and there’d be a second verse and he’d play it 20 times. I am up there going, so that’s how you do it? Elbow grease. Time. Thought. persistence.”

Fall in love with something and be great at it. Good things take time energy and effort, or in the words of Glenn Frey, Elbow grease, time, thought and persistence. Do what you do because you love it above everything else.

Video production school attendee Evan!Klancy Baker is a 20-year-old film student who adores the art of acting and writing scripts. She’s lived all across America and hopes to travel the globe. She would like to thank her mom for never encouraging her to wear shoes when she could walk barefoot.

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