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Working Actors Who Have Never Trained

Charlie Sandlan - Acting Coach NYC - Acting Coach in NYCIt’s a busy time at the studio as we have begun another school year, and have welcomed in an exciting group of new first year students. They are all embarking on the path towards becoming a well-trained professional actor. Our first year students are learning to get out of their heads and into their hearts, and our second year’s are beginning the hard work that comes with crafting a major part. Watching students struggle at different stages in their training always confirms for me the incredible amount of grit and determination it takes to become good at anything.

Recently I’ve had a few conversations with working actors who have never trained; young actors in their late twenties and early thirties who, because of looks, personality and luck have had early success booking work. As is the case with actors such as these, they think this means they’re talented, “Hey, I work. I don’t need training.” Fast forward five years, and these same actors begin to realize that they will never move to the next level in their careers unless they train. They keep going out for the same limited roles and the work comes much fewer and far between. Any working actor will be exposed as limited at some point if they don’t have craft and technique. Personality and conversational reality can only take you so far.

Serious Training Will Challenge Your Ego

acting coach - acting class - piper peraboBut what to do? The fear and doubt about entering a training program is understandable. It’s a challenge to the ego, because a big part of serious training is having the ability to put yourself in the position of a beginner. Accepting that you don’t know what real acting is, or that you have no technique can be a hard pill to swallow for someone who has been working professionally.

It really has to do with having a vision of the type of artist you want to be. Piper Perabo put her career on hold after some early success, because she wanted to do better, more substantial work. She came to us with willingness and a lack of ego that was very impressive. Piper went through our two year training program, and has now been working non-stop, currently starring in Covert Affairs, doing the work she always new she could if trained well. I also have a student currently in first year that has already booked a number of feature films and has made good money doing so. She’s signed with a top five agency, and her agent sent her to us for real training. Both she and her agent know that her career potential will only manifest itself once she is trained. They found a studio with high standards, one that that feels safe, nurturing and non judgmental. It’s a testament to both of these women as artists and a sign of their passion for the art of acting.

What Type of Actor Do You Want To Be?

So I’ll finish with this: what type of actor do you want to be? If you want to possess craft and artistry, if you want to have a career you can sustain for the next thirty or forty years, if you want to do complicated, substantial parts, then you will need to train. It doesn’t matter when you do it. Just taking the step towards that commitment is the important thing.

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