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  • Why Actors Need to Be Writing

    We recently honored the wonderful Billy Bob Thornton at our annual alumni celebration and in his uplifting, hilarious speech he made the point that actors should write. They should write even if they don’t think what they write will be seen or read by anyone, because the act of writing by itself will serve the profound purpose of keeping their creativity flowing out. As he gave this particular recommendation, I thought of similar advice Martha Graham gave when she called upon dancers to “keep the channel open.” 
    There’s no question the craft of acting is a sister science to writing, and actors must consider themselves students of dramaturgy, filling in the many, many details not supplied by the writer. I think actors can sometimes overdo it with elaborate backstories for their characters, less valuable than zeroing in on specific events pertinent to the scenes, but there’s no question a great deal of what makes acting, acting are the choices formulated. It’s not going to hurt you to dig in and get your hands dirty writing a little actual dialogue.
    Beyond this, of course, in making a practice of writing you can never tell what talent you might in fact have or develop for it, and where

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