Showing Up Is Lesson One at NYC Acting School
Cover of Woody Allen“80% of Success Is Showing Up.”Woody Allen
If you want to be an actor on stage or in film or on TV, you need to get your priorities in order. Woody Allen’s famous quote about showing up is pure genius, and goes far beyond the idea of arriving on time for auditions, rehearsals, and performances.
Mark Stolzenberg, Founder of the New York School of Acting for Film and Television, starts every the first day of class with the following observations:
For instance, It means you have to show up for classes and training. You have to be serious and disciplined whenever you are pursuing your career. It goes without saying that you have to be prepared to keep showing up again and again...perseverance could easily be most of the other 20% of success.
I never used to care about that stuff. But I do care now, and it's very important. I've had a lot of students starting out the business, and I see what makes the difference. If you want to be an elementary school teacher later on in life, do whatever you want. But if you want to be an actor, get your act together.
True story time. I used to do commercials. I did around three national commercials a year. I’ll never forget the time I had a callback for a Wendy's commercial. It came at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Meanwhile, I had a show that morning in upstate New York. I was making around $1500 doing this show, so I wasn't going to cancel it.
I do the show, I get in my car, and I'm racing back to Manhattan for my Wendy's call back, because a Wendy's commercial, we all know, could be a lot of money. I'm doing great, and then I get to Westside Highway and there's a traffic accident, and the traffic is stopped.
I finally get to the audition, and as I walk in the door, they're putting away the audition tape. Everyone in the room knows me. It wasn't like some stranger was walking in. The casting director says, "Oh Mark, sorry you missed it." I said "Wait! Put the tape back in and shoot me!" They said, "No. Sorry, we're done." I missed it by three minutes.
That's the way the business is. If you have an audition, you don't come up to a casting director and say "Well, I have to babysit. Can I come tomorrow instead?" or, "I have a final in my psychology class, I can't make it."
And they'll say "fine."
"Well, can I reschedule?"
Show up, be there on time, know your stuff, and be professional. You can't wiggle in this business. There's too much competition. There's too many talented people out there who are there on time, doing a great job, and ready to go.
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