Just like everything else in the world, if you decide to do something, someone who has done it before you will try to be helpful and give you advice based on their own personal experiences. Some advice is great, and you should take it to heart and run with it. Then, there’s the advice that sounds weird, doesn’t sit right and does nothing but bug you. That’s the advice you nod, smile and take with a grain of salt.
Being an actor is no different. Other actors will give you their opinions, either while in rehearsal, a random meeting, or even during master classes.
The advice I’ve been given has come from both professionals on Broadway, and from fellow actors that I now call my friends. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was actually from a Broadway performer. They helped me connect with a character I was having trouble with, by pointing to a taxi ‘what is it?’ they asked. When I responded “a cab,” they said ‘right! But your character wouldn’t know that. Therefore, onstage, you don’t know that’. It helped me get more into my character’s head than I thought I would be able to. Their words ‘be the character, breathe, relax, and trust’ have become my mantra, and I write it at the front of all of my scripts now.
On the flip side of that, I went to a master class with another Broadway performer. The performer basically told the class that if they want to be actors, they have to say goodbye to their friends, forget about a social life, and abandon all hope of a life outside of the craft. Now, when I heard that, my entire body closed up. Yes, devoting yourself to your craft is important, but you need a balance in your life or you’re not a well-rounded person. In that case, I just nodded, smiled, and took notes, knowing I’d never refer to them really.
Finally, I get it from my friends as well. As recently as today, I ran into one of my friends, and in the course of conversation he had asked me how it was going, and what roles I had taken on. I told him, and not only was he impressed, he told me to keep with my craft-that I had something. Validation’s good too!