Screen Acting

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So, ya wanna be an actor…? Well, you’re not alone. From community theatre halls to Broadway, and from major motion pictures to public broadcasting, thousands of folks take to performance every day. Most of that number are amateurs – performers for whom acting is a passionate, lifetime avocation. The word “amateur”, after all, is from Latin meaning “to act out of love”. Many find great satisfaction in acting for love while doing something else to pay the rent – a common occouance when it comes to screen acting.

Acting is an unstable profession for the unestablished. The truth behind the cliches of struggling actors awaiting their “big break” for countless years is only too painfully true. According to Equity, the Irish actors guild, more than 85 percent of its members earn less than ten thousand pounds a year. While seven-digit movie deals make headlines for some stars – creating a false impression that all actors are highly paid – the reality is far less glamorous.

Screen Acting – What You Need to Know

Acting demands patience and total commitment, because there are often long periods of unemployment between jobs. Sometimes, while under a film or stage contract, actors are required to work long hours and have to travel. Travel isn´t so glamorous when you arrive to freezing cold or burning hot weather conditions and have to work in that!

Meanwhile, you have even more chance of being successful if you diversify. For instance, when it comes to stage actors, flawless performances require tedious memorizing of lines and repetitive rehearsals, and in television, actors must deliver good performances with very little preparation. After all, soaps go out so much more frequently these days that actors just don´t have the time for detailed rehearsals. Further, there are the hours under hot lights, heavy costumes and make-up, physically demanding stunts or action scenes, long, irregular schedules, and the uncomfortable living conditions that may be faced on location shoots. Then, those without the recognisable names face the constant anxiety of intermittent employment and regular rejections when auditioning for work.

Love Your Craft

Yet, in spite of these discouragements, the “passion to play,” as Shakespeare called it, still motivates many to make acting their professional career. So, for those spirited performers, who won’t be dissuaded from traveling this path, bear in mind some information that might prove helpful;

Irish Actors Equity Group, commonly referred to as Equity, is a branch of SIPTU and has a membership of 1650. Membership is open to anyone working professionally and full-time in entertainment. In order to join, written proof of your professional experience must be provided. Membership comprises provisional and full members. You´ll get advice, you´ll meet like-minded people and you should make some contacts to help you on your way to some work.

Educationally speaking, there are many courses in acting, speech and drama and playwriting out there. Local drama groups are auditioning, film companies looking for movie extras and advertisement companies looking for actors to play in their ads. Then there are degree courses in theatre at Trinity College and good acting courses at places like the Gaiety Acting School. Getting involved in the acting world is easy. Talent will decide just how far you go!

By Mark Godfrey


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