The world is constantly changing. Which means there is always something new to learn, and something new to explore. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. But does that mean I know everything there is to know, or ever will be to know, about Theatre in general and Acting in particular? No. Not even a little.
All the greats started out as students. Sutton Foster, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Idina Menzel, Jack Nicholson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Heidi Blickenstaff, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and every other actor I or anyone else has ever admired started out as students. They definitely had talent, and a passionate drive to get them to where they wanted to be, but I guarantee, if you asked them, they would tell you that their education and training was crucial to their success.
Here’s the thing, though: when you graduate from school, you don’t stop being a student. If you do, you’re missing out on so many awesome opportunities to learn! Sure, you may not write “Student” in the “Occupation” field on paperwork, anymore, but as long as there are classes to take, and workshops to attend, and LIFE IN YOUR BODY, you have something to learn.
This weekend, I had the privilege to participate in an On-Camera acting workshop. Although I have acted in Theatre spaces more times than I can really count, I am definitely a beginner when it comes to camera work, so I was really excited about this workshop. I had the opportunity to work with a couple of short scenes, and give a few different readings. What struck me as the most interesting was how differently each reading felt to me as the actress, and how it was received by the audience (ie the other workshop participants). When I was able to watch my videos later, I realized how difficult it is for me to watch myself objectively. I definitely felt good about the performances when I was giving them, but, as an audience member, I couldn’t tell if they were good or not! My husband, bless his soul, assured me that they were good, and he isn’t one to sugar coat things, so I trust his assessment.
The point, here, though, is that I was able to explore a new skill — Camera Acting. And I look forward to other opportunities I may have in the future to explore this new skill further. (It’s definitely different from acting in a theater – believe me.) I’m still sort of processing everything from the workshop, which, to me, means it was worth my time.
It would be egotistic of me to believe that I know everything there is to know about my chosen career. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I know a great deal, and I’m not ashamed of the knowledge I have. But I also know that every production, every workshop, every conversation I have with another person in the industry has a lesson for me. And it is my job to listen for that lesson, and welcome it graciously.
It is imperative to us as humans to always continue learning. Whether it is a new skill that is relevant to your chosen career, or a new hobby that you think might be interesting, find a class, and get to it!