Oooh i did 12 months training, gimmee an oscar!

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I just want to have a quick moan at the hierarchy within our field with regards to 'accredited training' or not.

    I had a rather 'lively' conversation with a lady the other week claiming that because she has done a one year course at an accredited drama school that she is a more reputable and trustworthy choice for a role. One year. ONE YEAR!!!! (she was previously in recruitment) How the hell does that make you a good actor? I didnt go to an accredited school, and neither did friends of mine i studied with who are (for want of a better phrase) 'smashing it!' within the UK acting scene.

    Point being, (and this is by no means a damnation of those who were able to go to accredited schools) but those of them (and there are a few)who feel they have a g-d given right to be higher up the pecking order because of 12 months training.. get off your high horse!

    Phew, rant over.

    • 2nd Jul 2009
    • 2691
    • 29
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Ollie .... take it from me, Old Son, you can have umpteen years of so called 'training', if you haven't got the talent all you've got is .... umpteen years of training. Talent will out !!!!.

    • 30th Jun 2009
    • 1
  • Nathan Masterson

    Actor

    Agreed! I'm still waiting to be found out!

    • 30th Jun 2009
    • 2
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I agree with Allan on the basic principle: the essential truth in acting is that, ultimately, no one NEEDS to be 'trained' in order to 'become' an actor. There's a whole lot of idiocy that gets talked about 'training'. At the end of the day, acting is essentially channeled through the individual; it is a spontaneous, specific, personal reaction, using the actors own body and mannerisms as a tool, aiming to conjure a story intelligibly in the eyes of a watching audience. That is all there CAN be to it, because every actor is unique. It is true that some actors are possessed of an uncanny ability to convey emotions believably; it is true that some appear pretty stilted and unconvincing, but have managed to creat careers for themselves telling stories to audiences nonetheless. It is true that there are those who remain strangely popular even though it is hard to see them as 'technically flawless', because, in truth, audiences are drawn to them. There is no rationale to any of this.

    When an actor is employed, training is one of the least important qualifications for the job that an actor brings to the table: look is more important, as are personality, skill set, likeability, personal connections, perceived appeal to the market and so on and so on. None of these are entirely within an actor's control (though we all like to convince ourselves they are) and they, not training by and large, is what tends to dictate how an actor's career rises and falls. Perhaps Allan is right to say 'talent' will out, but 'talent' is a capricious thing - the best description I have ever heard used of it is to say that it is the actor's ability to be true to themselves - and, in a sense, that is just another way of saying that if you can find ways of presenting what you can do better than anyone else, then you will find work. If you are lucky enough to find amongst people who themselves wield influence, they will help make your career.

    In all of this, training is fairly irrelevant. It cannot teach you how to 'act' (as such); what it is there to do is to help you maximise your understanding of HOW you act. Even then, it is based upon following theories expounded by those who were interested in trying to distill what makes acting seem better to the audience, and they may be wrong as often as they are right. But there are limitations in most of us - psychological and physical - these may restrict our acting range, and training is very good for opening ourselves out (which is why good actors never really give up taking courses and workshops, and learning new ways of expressing themselves). Training never guarantees what anyone's resulting career will be like, either!

    BUT I think it should be said that there are some very important reasons why the idea of an accredited training is banded about with so much determination these days - and these are worth thinking about:

    Firstly, the idea that every actor must go to drama school is very recent. Traditionally, before the 1960's, there were few in this country, and they were more like a 'finishing school' for those who could afford the education than anything else. Many actors didn't train, or trained after they had already begun work on their careers in rep. But we now operate within a marketplace in which there is no closed shop union any longer; there is no rep system to promote the careers of young 'up and coming' actors, and ease their path into the mainstream; and more and more actors enter the profession every year. Because there is no standardisation any longer, one recent trend has been the encouraging of attendance at drama schools, in the hope that this will ensure a certain level of professionalism *is* successfully instilled in a sizable percentage of new performers. At the very least, an 'accredited' drama school can claim that its tutors are considered to be solidly trained themselves, that their courses have been examined and found to be useful, and that they are instilling a certain level of 'professionalism' in their students. This is what the 'accreditation' is all about. There is some vagueness here - many well-respected schools do not run 'accredited' courses (because it takes time and money to get 'accreditation'); some schools of renown run both accredited and non-accredited courses; and some tutors teach at both accredited and non accredited establishments, so the tutoring is much the same. But 'accreditation' can be used as shorthand for a course which is at least seen to aspire to professsional standards, and that has to be remembered.

    There is also the very important point that some casting directors, directors etc. *DO* use these distinctions as short - hand in order to accept or reject casting choices within the open market (which is a business issue, essentially, nothing to do with talent). I am frequently asked where I trained by auditioners, and sometimes they will attempt to put together what they know of the course, or the methodology of the school, or the tutors they know to be on the programme etc. together with the 'style' of your performance. It is not the be all and end all in casting terms, but don't for a moment think that no-one judges you to some extent depending on what training you have. It will always colour their assumptions about you, at least until you prove to them the actual content of your acting.

    Finally, while I have deviated from the start of the thread, and agree with you that no-one has the right to make self-righteous claims about 'being a better actor' because of 'better training', I myself trained on a one year course, and would point out (in our case, at least), it was POSTGRADUATE.

    In fact, I don't think there are any one year acting courses in this country that aren't. You seemed to want to imply that one year is not enough time to get a decent training; but the whole point of postgraduate training is that the people enrolled on the course have been acting for years beforehand anyway - they are selected on that basis, and the course serves to 'tighten' their method, if you like. Just thought I'd clear that up.

    • 30th Jun 2009
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Lee ... I think Ollie was trying to make the point that, because she had been to College on an Acting course for a year .. she somehow felt that entitled her to feel superior to, shall I say, a more natural actor.

    You have in many ways, as usual, hit many points on the head, and I, and no doubt many others , welcome the sight of your profile preceeding your missive.

    On a personal basis, I have kept my work to a simple format ..... stage left, stage right, up and down stage, camera left, camera right and most importantly ... edge of frame ... get on, get off ... and pick up my little brown paper envelope.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 4
  • Leilani Holmes

    Actor

    Acting is a craft. Like any other craft.

    With the right tools and training you can call yourself a cabinetmaker but it takes practice and application to become a true craftsperson. The same goes for actors and, like cabinetmakers, each has their own brand of preferred tools that suit their hand and the way that they craft their work.

    Craftspeople who sand down other people's cabinets instead of polishing their own are likely wasting their energy. ;)

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 5
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    In my experience, and I have interviewed a lot of actors, (a fantastic learning exercise in itself) but I now try and stay clear of Drama school trained actors. For me too many of them turn up with a blue print ideas on how to be funny, how to be sad, how to be angry etc. They often assume because they have done 1-3 years training they are now equipped to take on anyone and are far better than they actually are.

    I also hear there are casting directors who take the same approach…..now there's a thing!

    Interestingly, the students that hated their time at drama school, and thought it to be a waste of time, are usually the better and more natural actors!

    Lets be under no assumption here: Drama schools and there are so many new ones opening all the time, why….coz it's a great way to make money, that's why! If you spend 3 years telling a student how brilliant they are they will start to believe it! Not that I have a problem with installing confidence in students, that's good….but it needs to me measured.

    You cannot teach someone how to act, it's a natural talent, with natural timing and that's it in a nutshell.

    I would say Drama school is good for learning about construction of plays, playwrights, and the different types of writing, theatre stage management and anything technical. However, how to actually act…..nonsense! Also, very few drama schools if any seem to include anything about the actual business of being a self employed actor, or very little TV workshops or instruction. Knowing all about why Hamlet feels the way he does about his Mother, will not help you when a casting director throws some last minute impro at you in a filmed TV casting, with the client and or director/producer staring at you, or talking!!

    To flip it over and totally contradict myself: I dare say if you have done a full "THREE" year training at somewhere like Rada, you are in a better position to get seen by an agent and the like! There are probably only about 4-5 main very well known accredited drama schools worth being associated with, but for a great deal of the others, I think they're not worth 10-12k per year!

    I agree with Alan/Lee, just get on to the stage luv, and do your acting, and if you can do that without bumping into the furniture and keep the audience entertained, you've pretty much cracked it….there after, it's down to life and acting experience which will make you better and better me old muckers!

    Mind you, I never trained, so I would say all that wouldn't I !!!

    Is it me, or can I hear the sound of fingers being pulled from bums whilst racing to their keyboards?!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 6
  • Dave Bibby

    Actor

    I LOVE the title of this thread. I knew exactly what the content would be straight away. Spot on. It is such a shame that there are people like this out there. But of course they are individuals and not representative of everybody that had accredited training.

    The only slight generalization that I would make is that in my experience people who haven't been to drama school work harder than those that have. I don't know why this is. But I'm sure that you, Oliver, are a driven young man and will progress a great deal further in your career than this deluded young lady.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 7
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Slight generalisation?? A fairly hefty one I'd have thought.

    It's a shame that there are idiots out there that think that accreditation is the be all and end all. As has been said, it can add a certain clout to your CV, but means very little in terms of actual ability.

    I also think it is a shame for one of you to have said that you avoid actors that trained at accreditted schools, is that not just inverted snobbery and as bad as the agents, that won't see actors from non acredited schools? Also, accredited schools, if you're doing a 3 yr course tend not to cost that much any more. They are different to going to uni and getting a degree. Student loans, grants etc etc.

    For what I've seen there are lots of different roads that can be taken in this came. Use what works for you, don't preech and don't discriminate.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    that should read "are NO different to going to uni"...Sorry.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 9
  • Amber Elliott

    Actor

    For me I feel becoming an actor is filled with alot of personal choices and for one person to say that their way is the right or only way is very wrong and a bit pigheaded.

    To make the decision of if and where to train comes down to who you are as an actor and if a person is following some high a might, 'I'm better because I trained at such an such a place' a casting director will pick that up!

    I was always taught that for as many directors who only cast from RADA (for example) there are going to be the same amount that don't because of who they are. So if you are damned it you do and damned if you don't you must make the choice that you want.

    Anyway, you learn from experience more than anything whether or not you train at drama school!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Ok. So ignore my badly worded ramblings and read what Amber said instead. Far more eloquent.

    Do what suits and don't be a pompous fool.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 11
  • Bob Dobson

    Actor

    Good actors have trained and good actors haven't. It does seem that some people who haven't trained are very negative about training and about actors who have trained more than the other way round. Possibly just the conversations I've had. I think it's fair to say that the majority of hugely succsessful actors have trained, there are of course those that haven't but I would imagine the balance falls towards training. Maybe it's coincedence. Doesn't really matter unless it opens doors. I think that Mark's comments about trained actor's being stilted is perhaps a very wide generalisation which is dangerous for writing people off, in the same way as the woman mentioned in the intial comment had written off untrained actors. It occurs to me that there is some benefit in having continuous vocal and movement training over a sustained time which most schools do and practicising, building confidence and helping to wipe out avoidable mistakes.

    I personally trained to revitalise myself and for the showcase and to a degree it worked. Let's not be negative about training or not because of an experience someone had with someone who sounds like a bit of a wally. Good night London.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Ollie, if I may have a quick jab at this thread as well…Firstly, may I acknowledge some of the previous replies from Allan, Mark and Lee…always sound advice and the voice of experience, and may I say I feel it all comes down to experience.

    In my previous career, I was deemed to be a clever chap, and so my employer sent me on every course and seminar there was to become in their eyes the "Trade Specialist" for my profession - worldwide!!!...and on paper, technically I suppose I was.

    They then put me in an office with other clever people to draft 'Operating Procedures' and 'Policy Documents' and 'Aide-memoire'…I realised very quickly that I was not so clever when my fellow colleagues started to rip holes in my work and they were right…I may have had the theory and the qualifications to speak with authority, but they had done the job for real and had something I did not…'On the Job' experience.

    As Allan, rightly said…"You must have talent"

    As Lee said…"Training is one of the least important qualifications for the job"

    And as Mark said…"You cannot teach someone how to act, it's a natural talent, with natural timing and that's it in a nutshell".

    Ollie, like all of us, you have been training to be an actor since the moment you were born…in the 'School of Life', and the only difference between you and I is I'm a couple of classrooms closer to the school 'pearly' gates…hehe

    Again as Allan, correctly said…"get on, get off"…I'll get my coat!!!

    TTFN

    Steve

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 13
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Hey Robert and Jessica! I did start my response with: "In my experience....!"

    I also wrote ..."I try to avoid"....but will rephrase that to be fairer to all and to myself, to: "I am more weary of" is the truth.

    I know you think its a generalisation, and of course there are some great drama school actors...but I cannot honestly say they were made great coz of the drama school they went to.

    If I generalise it is not a personal attack, but based on true experiences I promise.

    I've lost count of the many times I have waited for a dram school grad to tun up and audition and not shown up, not got back to me to say why or cancel etc. as for the times I see trained actors not bothering to learn lines...well! ...this is what I meant by the business of being an actor not being hammered home at Drama school.

    You see things very differently from the directors chair I promise.

    BTW: I still stand by the fee amounts, as I was referring to what the Drama school gets into its account per student.

    Finally, Rob's point about the trained view v the untrained view....re-read how What I said in my last post...I'm sure you have a good point!

    The secret is not to take it personally!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    When one looks back through the Posts, it seems to me that this is the old 'them an' us' situation. An attitude that has been with us for yonks...... "How quaint ... Shakespeare done with a Lancashire accent" ... do me a favour ... ask Tom Courtney, Albie Finney... me ... we have all had some Class crap thrown at us. You just have to get on the Set .. do your stuff, walk off ... and say 'Follow that' !!!!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 15
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Spot on!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Us and them is a waste of time. As I reckon everyone has said, do what suits and do it well!

    Mark, not taking anything personally at all. Always good to hear from someone that's seen things from the directors chair!

    And Ollie, if you see that girl again, her pomposity is not worth your rage!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 17
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Also.. spot on!

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 18
  • Kevin Patrick Buxton

    Actor

    Some very interesting points of view. Training, for me I have to say it's a "must", it shows that you have commitment, focus and an ability to conform to the "norm" irrespective of you believing in the norm or not. Most if not all actors and casting, directors know that many aspects of being in drama school are not necessarily going to be of any use in the real world, but it shows you had the gumph to see it though. There will be times when filming you'll need that so called gumph to see it through, and your previous resilience will stand you in good stead. I trained in the US also under the Lee Strassburg wing (method) and I would love to see someone try method acting without training, with out then going mad or living a much stranger and depressive life from before. Here you need to be trained in how to let the very emotions you have congou red up then go, or run the risk of not coming out the other side.

    So training, I say yes, but not to say that there have not been some fine examples of people who seem to command respect for what we call natural talent.

    • 1st Jul 2009
    • 19