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  • Learning to Act: Working vs. Training

    Many years ago there was a very clear sensibility that actors, like all professionals, should seriously train to develop their skills before pursuing actual professional work. Highly regarded vocational schools like the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, required that students like Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, David Mamet, and Sydney Pollack attend all their classes—which meant no auditioning or working. The philosophy was that there was a purity of the process in the safety and privacy of classroom trial and error that would be confused when subjected to the pressures of having to perform or having to get certain results during an audition or acting job. There was a belief that result-based learning would develop bad habits and could even interfere with an actor or director’s career if they worked before they knew how to present themselves in the best light.
    That said, times have changed. There are so many opportunities now for actors to perform in places like the Internet or even by filming on their smartphones. This means that due to this increased opportunity, the allure to perform publicly is far greater for actors now and it is more likely to see them working as they train.

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