What Can Happen When You Start Studying Acting...

Stefanie Townsend

You go to school, you go to class. You sit and listen to the teacher. You absorb everything like a sponge, work through the new techniques in class, with your scene partners, and at home alone.

Then you notice everything you learn in the performances you watch.

And it never. Goes. Away.

You stare at every actor you ever watch, trying to learn their secrets. Hoping you can earn some of their talents if you stare without blinking at the screen long enough. You begin to see what is a natural performance and what is not.

You begin to understand why certain people get awards and others never get a nomination.

You begin to fall in love with certain actors and spend countless hours on countless nights watching their entire filmography. And then you do it again.

It’s getting to the point where you can’t even enjoy performances like you used to. It’s no longer entertainment. It’s constant study and analysis. You critique everything you see and form opinions.

Sometimes these opinions are highly unpopular. But you stand by your decision, you stand by what you have determined. You’re an actor, you know and understand this world. You have a different perspective.  

You start to become these actors’ biggest fan. You read every article about them, listen to every interview, listen to their Broadway show on repeat. You know every word, every note, every rest by heart. Probably even more than they do at this point.

You lie in bed, dreaming about how incredible it would be to be on stage next to them. What if I sang alongside Ben Platt? What if I shared an emotional scene with Brie Larson? The dreams and possibilities are endless.

You check their IMBD every day to see what movies they will be in. You can’t miss a single one of their films. They inspire you, they changed you. You want to support them. You want to learn from them.

You want to finally uncover their secrets.

When you sit in the theatre, you get so excited every time they get on screen or on stage. And you ask yourself so many questions.

What is their objective here? What are their tactics? What actions did they choose? What’s the subtext in this scene? Why did they choose this action? What drives every single choice they made? How natural is this performance? How much do I believe them?

When you start to learn acting, your life changes. Your perspective changes. And though you may not be able to watch performances the same way anymore, you begin to get something else out of them.

And that something else may just be what you needed to get rejuvenated.

Photo: Park Square Theatre