Do you need to train as an actor?

I get asked this question A LOT!

Usually, I like to challenge actors by answering that question with another one – which I’m sure they probably find at least slightly annoying.

I ask them:

What kind of actor do you want to be?

When actors ask me the first question, most of the time what they are really asking is if they should go to the effort of studying when there are good indications that one may not need to, in order to be successful in the industry.

Let’s be clear: It is absolutely not the case that one needs to study as an actor in order to be a successful as one. If by success we mean, working professionally and being at least somewhat famous or ‘known’ – study and training are really not essential. There are many paths to success in our industry, most of which are usually probably noble. A few of them quite certainly aren’t. But regardless, study is just one of those paths and if you wanted to gain access to the industry you can achieve this in many different ways.

But, here’s why I ask the second question.

Acting is a skill. In fact it is many skills. It requires craft, artistry, effort, thought, planning, practice and refinement. It usually requires a process or a method. The method and the process become ‘instinctive’ in well-skilled and experienced actors. And the skills are simply luckily just there, in those rare human beings we call ‘naturally talented actors’. Just because we exist in a society which at this moment in historical time does not see acting skill as a pre-requisite for being hired to do acting, doesn’t mean that acting isn’t a skill and that it does not need training if one doesn’t naturally have it. It simply means that success in acting on the one hand and acting skill on the other do not necessarily connected.

So, asking if you need to train as an actor in order to be an actor is about understanding what brings YOU to acting. Do you want to be popularly known and famous? Do you want to be a celebrity? Or do you care little about those things and really love the craft of acting for its inherent worth?

Think about it for a sec. What brings you to this website?

Now here’s another way to think about study and training:

Training to be an actor - Fay Beck Studio
Should I train to be an actor - Fay Beck Studio

Change your Mindset about Acting: Aim for Success through Excellence!

My hope is that an actor will say (when I reply to them with my question): I want to be an excellent one.

And that, most of the time involves training, unless, you ‘naturally’ have it in you.

Studying/training in acting – so long as the training is up to standard – means learning, exercising and cultivating the skills to do something incredibly artistic and transformative. You will take more pleasure from walking on stage or on any set having applied and understood this incredible craft that has the power to transform people. You will go deeper into your understanding of character, you will be able to do exceptional work and you will be able to truly experience the moment in someone else’s shoes.

This about this a little further:

As an actor you have the ability to transform people; to truly change them the same way you have been moved and changed by the stories and characters you experienced. Those shifts and changes in you happened because someone excelled in becoming someone else. And/Or someone did an excellent job of the writing and/or of the directing and so on and so on…


What kind of actor do you want to be?

The answer is more straight-forward if you ask yourself this question instead.