By Odeon Odalo
Did you read my last article? This is the second part. Every actor began by learn How to Act.
Acting is primarily a skill.
The best of the Nollywood actors understand this and no matter how far they have come in their careers, they are constantly looking to develop upon their skill.
They take classes, work with acting and talk coaches; they study life experiences, etc. They know full well that even after a life span of labor and learning, they may never reach total excellence.
So, it’s very important that an aspiring actor take ample variety of acting classes. You will also need to work in a wide range of styles with as many different groups of people that you can find – the more you know, the more attractive you’ll be and eventually, the better prepared you’ll be for whatever roles come your way.
If you hope to work in film and/or television as an actor, you need to go where the work is. Now, that doesn’t necessarily doom you to living in Lagos. After all, there are plenty of acting jobs in Aba, Benin City, Enugu and Ibadan etc.
But, Lagos is where most of the casting directors work and live. So, even though you don’t necessarily need to move here, keep in mind that it is where most of the action is.
Do what it takes
The acting job is hardly an easy job. It’s a lot of work, in all kinds of circumstances and at least initially, for not large amount money.
You must be willing to do what it takes for the sake of your craft. You might at last have to sacrifice certain aspects of your life to ensure that you will have success as a working actor.
Even so-called successful actors who make millions of Naira per picture still must “work” to earn their keep. They are on location for months at a time and every day they entrust themselves both psychologically and physically to their roles. It can be very strenuous. You must be prepared for this type of challenge.
You must take the time to master your craft. If that means sacrificing a relationship or a few friendships along the way, so be it.
Bad actors are just actors who aren’t willing to “marry” their craft. Good actors control their opinion of themselves. If you’re about looking calm, or trying to keep up a certain image, then acting might not be for you.
The best actors are those who are willing to allow themselves be 100% addicted to the role they are playing. They actually become the person they represent. You have to literally “forget yourself” to help ensure the worth of your act.
Nollywood is all about helping those you know because they might one day is in a position to help you as well. So, you need to remember this unwavering tenet: be nice to everyone. From agents’ assistants to fellow cast members to whomever you meet in Nollywood. Remember, that assistant you treated poorly two years ago might one day become a casting director, film producer, talent agent or whatever.
Make the Craft your focus
The happiest actors are the working actors.
And just because you might not be getting remunerated for your acting, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a working actor. Every experience is experience. So, spend more time seeking out acting opportunities yourself rather than waiting for an agent.
From small plays to student films — you’ll be pleasantly amazed how many seemingly irrelevant opportunities are the ones that make your total vocation. Besides, when the time is right, an agent will come and seek you out.
Make do is a way to discover your range as an actor while at the same time, it forces you to explore new area while having to commit entirely to the state of affairs at hand.
Beyond a crisis situation, Make do is one of the few styles of acting where you have complete liberty to realize what things you’re good at, and which things could use some work.
Know Your Range, Then Break through It
Some actors seem to constantly be working in a particular range of roles. For years, Pete Edoche epitomized the “tough guy” image.
He made his name playing definite roles because he found a range he made work for him and trapped with it.
But then, as many of the better actors will often do, they decided to dare themselves and break through the style that audiences, producers, and their agents had put them in.
Initially, it’s somewhat important to find a range that works for you. It helps people (meaning, casting directors) know who you are and often when you’re starting out, it’s those memories that get you paid work.
But that doesn’t mean you stop developing as an actor. Use the personality traits you’ve discovered to get yourself working. But continue to learn new aspects of your person. From voice depiction to exploring a wide variety of acting techniques. You will find that everything you learn in the acting field will be put to use someday.
There is one general rule in the film industry- talent won’t get you there, but doggedness just might. Don’t wait around in your apartment for opportunity to come knocking. The trick is you have to get out there. Meet people and let them know what you are doing. It’s absolutely essential to your success.
Patience is not only an asset in Nollywood; it’s an utter must to keep from going insane. So develop your patience and you will enjoy the process of rising to fame that much more even if you never end up getting there.