Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ON ACTING: Born and Made

It is often said an actor is born, not made. The same is often said of an athlete, or a mathematician--or a politician. While it is true all human beings are born with certain propensities, certain capabilities when compared to others, it is also true, as a corallary, even the best are born with certain deficiencies and disabilities. Equality does not mean identical construction. Hard wiring differs from person to person. A level playing field does not mean one team may not be better positioned to win than another team on any given day. We are all equal; but we not the same; we are all equally free to pursue, but not necessarily destined to achieve.

But what is true (dare I say equally true) for all of us is that without effort our individual potential is any professional pursuit will remain unrealized. A child may be born, but it takes effort to grow into a full and wonderful human being. To be born to be an actor (or any other profession) does not free us from the obligation to work hard to perfect that potential. "Don't cheat the gift," it is said. Those that have due to natural endowment a head start in any field of endeavor will only stay ahead if they work at least as hard as those who are naturally less gifted. It is the oild story of the tortoise and the hare.

Actors are both born AND made. The greatest actor may start with certain capabilities; those capabilities are hopefully recognized early...but then begins the work. You can get better in acting if you work at it. The greatest high school athlete can't just walk on a professional field and star. Potential stardom may be soon recognized; but then begins the hard work.

That's why athletes train and practice. Tiger Woods is still practicing his swing; Kobe Bryant is still developing new moves; Kim Clijsters is still working and traveling with her coach.

Good, better, best...you may be born with, but you have to be developed and perfected.

A great actor is born AND made.


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