In a previous video we spoke about why all actors should not only be practicing their craft each day but deliberately practicing as well as mentioned by Anders Ericsson in his book Peak. If you haven’t seen it already then click on the link below.
I mentioned that there are four components to becoming an actor in demand and
The second component for acting greatness is the one I like to call The Stretch.
Actors shouldn’t only perform; they should also act. The act in this instance means to stretch.
Stretching is more than facing the camera or standing on stage. It’s about being proactive, taking charge and making things happen. It’s about being the spiky purple sheep among the fluffy white herd. This is where our strengths comes into play.
As artist we all have the capability to stretch our abilities – we are creatives and it’s our job to create not just our goals but something more immediate and tangible whether it comes to writing, directing, set dressing, costume making, cooking or even producing.
Finding the ability to learn a new skill or capitalising on a talent we already have will help us stand out from the rest of the acting herd. Acting, of course, should always be the priority, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add further strings to our bow.
Having another skillset has almost become a prerequisite if we are to compete with the thousands of other actors out there, all of whom are vying for the same attention we are looking to attract as actors.
And, as actors and artists it’s our job to dig a little deeper, search a little further and discover our inborn gifts and skills.
Take writing for example, we may not have the creative flair that let’s say Tarantino or Aaron Sorkin have but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we have a concept, a spark of an idea, a ‘what if?’ moment for a character that we can explore.
Yet, it should be a character that we’ve been told we’d be great at performing and would be good at portraying. A character that we can take on a journey, a voyage of discovery and create for a potential audience.
This character has to resonate with us, must count for something before we can kick off with writing a backstory for him or her. Then, and only then once we’ve birthed this character we then pass it on to another, a writer to take the reins.
To find the right writer can take time but there are countless of Facebook and meet up groups for writers so it’s down to us to put the word out their and see which writer resonates with our initial idea/story and see if they’d be interested in collaborating with us on the project.
This also, doesn’t have to cost us much or any money since there are hundreds if not thousands of writers out there that are hungry for work even if it’s unpaid.
Once the story is written whether in short form, as sketches or as I’d like to suggest webisodes we can then move on to the next phase of attracting the right director, producer, and even cinematographer to the project.
The idea here is to think outside the box and stretch beyond our capabilities, and to find the right people whom we can utilise their time and expertise.
If we can surround ourselves with a coterie of talent, even if they’re just starting out but have the passion and drive like we have then amazing things can happen.
But, it takes a spark to ignite the vision, and therefore it’s down to us, the initiators, the fire starters, the instigators, the stretchers, the creators.
It all starts with us, the moment of creation, the idea that can develop into a story, the story that gets written down by the writer, the planning and strategising by the producer, the visual execution delivered by the director and the threads that ties and binds them all together.
It’s called team work which can only be done by a cohesive unit of collaborators and believers.
Yes, creation does take time and effort but let me ask you this – wouldn’t you as an actor prefer to work on your own creation to bring to fruition rather than working on someone elses?
If we don’t stretch, we won’t know where the edges are.