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The Truth about Acting & Talent

If the craft of the actor is one of creating stunning 3-dimensional characterisations, then that really is a hell of a skill and where do I learn that skill or does it come innately?

There are no natural born actors, some children were encouraged in right brain activities more and their play pretend games had more to them, a sense of truth. Then they were encouraged, supported, nurtured, taught, coached and acting was no choice but the only answer, as if life itself had lead like a compass to that place.

The thing is that I think there are two problems. Firstly, I dont think characterisation is the role of the actor. Second, I don’t think that talent has anything at all to do with becoming good at anything, acting included.

On the second topic, talent is not something you need to concern yourself with as an actor. Talent is cheap, showy tinsel, what one person can do, another can do. What really matters is that you acquire knowledge, the right kind – not just any – and that you commit to hours and hours and hours and hours of practise.

Most people won’t do that. And yet, the power to be the best actor you can be is actually within your own hands. Sure, you need coaching, you need expert guidance to attain the right kind of knowledge but after that, it’s a process of giving yourself the time to develop that level of expertise.

But most people won’t do that! They presume acting or learning a language or the acquisition of any skills is a matter of some knack or fluke of innate gifted ability. And so when moments of challenge arise, what Seth Godin calls ‘the Dip’, most people give up. And I can’t tell you how many potentially brilliant actors have stopped training, or gone and ‘got a real job’ consigning their previous hours to waste because they were just of the opinion that they hadn’t got ‘it’. Acting is not innately given, other than you are innately human. But like everything else about you, it was acquired!

It isn’t about talent and you only have to read Syed or Colvin or Coyle to realise the massive amounts of proof backing this up. Venus and Serena Williams being a great example from Matthew Syed: their parents decided to MAKE them tennis champions, before they were even born!

I know that many of us would like to believe that we have been touched by Divinity itself and gifted remarkable ‘talents’ but if you’re good at something, it’s because you’ve spent many hours doing it well, often with help.

Today, I want you to give up on the notion of talent and start thinking about how get hours of practise into your life, if you can do, you’ll be good, very good, maybe even great, but trust me when I say this, without it, you won’t.