Should you do more acting training?
Many actors swear by short courses, weekly classes or even training that lasts several years, while some seem to skip the sessions all together and still bag work – the question is: do you need it?
The short answer is, you are the only person who will ever know. But let's get stuck into this.
First, let's get one thing very clear. You definitely don’t need to train to do the job. When you walk into a casting the decision maker's main question is typically not ‘where did you study?’ It's ‘can you do the job?’ and possibly also ‘are you going to be difficult to work with?’ All the training in the world – or lack thereof – won't save you from lateness, fluffed lines or a bad attitude.
So excellence on the day is far more treasured, whether that comes from a recent spate of intensive workshops, practice in your bedroom or a natural – and enviable – ability to tap into your talent whenever you see fit.
However, the majority of successful actors have trained in some shape or form and while training is no guarantee of success (there are a lot of classically trained waiters around too!) the benefits are numerous.
Firstly, in the case of the more prestigious drama schools, training may open doors to opportunities through the institution's connections. Something wildly helpful, especially if you’re just starting out. The main benefit of training, though, is not the reflected glory of the school you attend. The truth is, acting is an extremely demanding profession and classes can be an excellent way to hone your skills in a safe environment so that, when you get your next audition, you walk in confidently rather than catatonically nervous because it’s the first acting you’ve done in months.
There is a very convincing argument that talent is not innate but is something we acquire with practice. According to a growing body of evidence – written about by Outliers author Malcom Gladwell – it takes approximately 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. This applies to chess, golf and violin, so why not acting as well?
If this is true, then class can be a great way of working towards that goal. Even if you have done a degree or full time training you may still find that going to class keeps you motivated and focused.
There is no definitive path. Some actors are comfortable practicing characters in social situations or feel they learn enough by simply studying the characters in their own lives. Other actors might feel more comfortable with the formal environment of a class.
Ultimately, only you know what you need and what will work for you. If you do feel that there is something you want to improve on, practice or even just do because you enjoy it then there is almost certainly a class for that out there.