William Mapother

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Get Thee to a Class

Posted on: March 7th, 2012 by wmapother 1 Comment

(Another in a series of posts to actors.  For more check out the ‘Info to Actors’ category at left.)

Actors young and young-ish, it’s dangerously easy to stop growing in your craft. Other performers — dancers, singers, etc. — wouldn’t imagine stopping their training. Why should an actor?  I once read that only a week before he died, Laurence Olivier was still in an acting class. QED. And RIP. And…moving on.

Last evening I was reminded of an entirely separate benefit to being in class:  the connections you make. On your own, you’re likely to let this asset slide. For a craft so dependent on interacting with others, actors tend to spend a lot of time alone. How many people are you going to meet on your three trails between the fridge, the TV, and the toilet?

So yesterday I went to a party for the premiere of Samantha Gutstadt‘s web series – kileshay.com. While there I ran into Tava Smiley, an acting classmate from several years ago.  She introduced me to Gabe Sachs, a writer on – genuflection, please – the cult series Freaks and Geeks. (Yes, it’s on Netflix.) This show launched the careers of people like James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Siegel.  Yeah, I know.

Anyway, to wrap this up, after I stopped fanboying all over Gabe, I was reminded of an acting class’s ancillary benefit:  friends for now and connections for the future. No actor is an island, as it were. So make the connections and then – especially when you feel you’re falling off the face of the earth – stay in touch with them.

And just so I can squeeze one more lesson from this, I’ll add that it’s also a reminder of the importance of being in not just any class, but a good one, alongside actors who are studying and serious.  The ones who will be around for a while and find a way to work. The committed and idiosyncratic. The freaks and geeks.

[This is another in a continuing series of potentially helpful, hopefully practical posts to actors on practicing their craft or surviving the trying.  I bear no responsibility for how this or any of my posts might ruin your life, lead you to law school, or make your parents sick with worry.  For more of the same, click the ‘Info to Actors’ category at left.]

Posted in Acting Tips & Info, Favorites, Random, TV

One Response

  1. sahana martin says:

    This sounds almost philosophical -isn’t it true for so many professions ?
    You have to keep learning, making connections -in various fields in fact ( as you can see in science/research ).
    It keeps you inspired.
    I appreciate my alone time as well since that is when i do (most of) my work.
    Wonder how many people there will be on my trail to the fridge ~


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