Society & Culture & Entertainment Performing Arts

Acting For Fun

We would all like to be stars.
At one point or another in our lives we have dreamed about what it would be like to be famous.
Wouldn't it be grand? All of that fame and fortune - a household name.
Films, TV, theatre, adverts, chat shows so much work and not a worry in the world.
Unfortunately though, that kind of luck only happens to other people.
I have wanted to be an actor since I was 15, had I been blessed with more supportive parents, then I may have made it and be rich and famous by now.
My mother wanted me to pursue a career in computers though, hence my direction was changed and I was pushed towards ITing instead of ACTing! So how does somebody make it in the business? Well its very cut throat in the entertainment industry - one minute you're the next big thing, the next you're sliding down the slippery slope to nothingdom.
You need a steady head on your shoulders and you need to know yourself.
You pass every temptation possible along the way - groupies, drugs, alcohol - and it takes a really strong person to resist all of this and focus on their career in acting.
In order to get there, more often than not, you will have needed to have studied drama at school, college, and even university.
A lot of current actors were spotted at university shows - Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson.
Many acting agents will send "scouts" to footlight shows at universities, where they will spot somebody with star potential and get them signed up.
On top of this, the "scouts" also attend some amateur shows looking for promising new talent, with the same aim.
Some of it is about knowing what you are doing when acting, but the rest is about being in the right place at the right time, or with the right agent.
If your face fits and you have learnt your trade well academically then you will be a HIT! And the rest of us? Well for those of us who were denied the possibility of taking the proper route, we have to hope and prey that a "scout" spots us in our next amateur dramatic performance, or that our work as a "supporting artiste" or extra will get us spotted by a director, producer or casting manager.
My last amateur dramatic performance resulted in a media review that said "An actor in the mould of Bob Hoskins, his talent could easily translate to both big and small screen!" High praise indeed! It also stated that I had "immaculate comic timing", which is excellent.
I hoped the review would bring big things, however, I am still waiting.
In order to get into amateur dramatics and supporting artiste work, you need have done no professional acting.
I began my amateur career, just wanting to act in something.
I got the smallest role in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as Lord Curio - where I was on stage acting for virtually the whole play, but had just 10 words to say.
From this I joined my local amateur dramatic society (to find yours check on line, or in the local free paper - there will be reviews in there and you can normally find the contact details in the review), and I auditioned for their first play of the season.
I landed the role of Porter Milgrim (one of only 5 characters in the play) in Ira Levin's Deathtrap, due to my ability to do an American accent well.
I have since been in many more plays, and the thrill of being in the spotlights and dressing in the costume and assuming the character, then translating that to the stage in order to entertain hundreds of people every night, is like no other.
Its a great feeling to take a bow at the end of the show and beam in the applause.
Afterwards when you go into the bar to have an end of show drink and people you've never met come and tell you how good you were, or recognise you out in the street a few days later - its amazing.
Okay they aren't autograph hunters, or executives with million pound film or ad deals, but they are recognising you for being talented, and that is just as good in my book - it makes me glow.
As for extras work - I stumbled upon it quite by accident.
I had some prior acting experience, and a "good look" so was able to get signed by an agent quite easily.
Some of them ask for acting experience, others are just searching for somebody with a "good look" that can be seen doing something simple in the background of a scene.
It pays good money too (most of the time), and its great fun being paid for something you enjoy.
The only unfortunate thing is that there is not enough work around to make it a full time career.
So until I get my first offer of fame and fortune, I'm going to keep acting for fun.
It's not massively lucrative, but it is an incredible hobby - fulfilling, rewarding, fun and interesting - guaranteed to start a conversation, centred on you.
"No autographs please," you say, "I'm trying to keep a low profile!"

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