Just Be Yourself

Remember that advice that you got on the first day of school “Just be yourself.” Well, it still rings true, especially for actors. The Daniel Day-Lewises of the world are the exceptions that prove the rule. Most actors will play characters that have similar traits to themselves, and there is nothing wrong with that.

A while back, I was casting a film where we needed an actor late 30s to mid 40s to play a European film director with a flair for the dramatic and a bit of a temper. The character was seductive and manipulative at once. It was a solid role. The creative team decided the character could be from any European country and we saw actors from France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia. Sweden, and a few more. What I found ironic was that after living in the US for a number of years, several of the actors we saw had worked hard to reduce their accents and they struggled to speak in their original accent. They struggled to tap into their original language. They had done so much work to “fit in” in the US that they forgot what made them stand out in the first place.

My advice: Just be yourself. Of course actors can stretch and play different parts and no one wants to be locked into playing stereotypes, but don’t forgot what makes you special and differentiates you from the other actors out there. Sometimes, the hardest types to find can be “real New Yorkers.” There are plenty of “real New Yorkers” roaming the streets, but a real actor who still has an authentic born and raised edge is a diamond in the rough, that is why the talented actors who have maintained that edge work all the time.

Separate yourself from the crowd with your thing. If you’re from Georgia, don’t lose the accent, just learn to modulate it for different roles. Hang on to what makes you special and it will serve you down the road.

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