Saturday, June 25, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 6 - Training as an Actor

Finishing at Strasberg this week was prove of a incredible transformation of me as an actor. But I didn't start out there. When I was in Junior High and High School I would make movies with friends and on my own and act in them. Honestly, in those days I was terrible. I enjoyed being in front of the camera but I had no idea what I was doing. That's probably a big part of why I don't show many people my early work.

I wanted to get into theatre in High School but every year after my first semester doing Marching Band and Soccer I would decide I didn't want to take up all that extra time the second semester. So I never got involved.
Then I entered my time doing an undergraduate degree at Trinity Christian College and my first semester, my roommate (who had done theatre) one day told me they are always short on men and that I should audition.

So I did.

And I didn't get cast.

"That's alright," I told myself. "I'll help out behind the scenes." And so I helped out on stage crew. The next semester they were doing a production of "The Miser" by Moliere. Of course I still wanted to act but ... certain things didn't allow for me to audition or to do much behind the scenes.

So then came my Sophomore year. The main production only had 5 characters but they started up doing student directed One-Act plays so I decided I would still audition. However, I gave myself an acting out.

"If I don't get cast in anything, I guess I shouldn't be an actor," I told myself.

And I got cast in a smaller role of a guard in a One-Act play called "The Valiant." Most of what I did was walk in, react, and say "Yes, ma'am" in various ways. But I was determined to own it and that is when my real training began.

The next semester I continued to audition and I was in my first full length stage play, playing the role of Mr. DePinna in "You Can't Take It With You." During this role I realized how seriously I wanted to be an actor. In the end, I decided it would make more sense to completely shave my head for the part rather than wearing a bald cap (my roommate Pete Turner helped convince me in this decision in the end by shaving his head as well.) And as you can see, I was basically half naked for a scene in the production. I went on to play Antigonus in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," Nicola in "Arms and the Man," and Warnock Waldgrave in "The Nerd." I feel I can really attribute a lot of my early growth and training to John Sebestyen, who still teaches at Trinity, and really helped me gain a lot of initial knowledge.

My training continued in on camera classes in Hawaii and has truly made strides at Strasberg. One of the big things I have learned is that actors need to continue training in one way or another, otherwise they get rusty in their craft and an actor needs to be on his game for when the right role comes along. I wouldn't be the same actor today without the training that I've had.

Oh, and confidence. Actors should really work on their confidence if they don't have it.

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