ACTOR’S CALLING: Acting Is For Actors Only….Right?

Not too along ago I turned 33. So nice, they aged me twice. How did I celebrate it? A family lunch and then a transcendental Strasberg’s Long Form Improvisation workshop with my students. I was delightfully surprised with a cake, cards and presents. It’s probably one of my favorite workshops to teach simply because of the obvious evolution of the students within the span of only 8 weeks.

Many of my students lead creative double-lives. They have “real jobs” from 9-5pm and they come to HCAC after work. Some are proud of what they do here. Some struggle with being open about it. Some say, they tell their family and friends about it and they straddle between being very supportive and extreme dispassion. The dispassion seems to come from a lack of understanding so this post is dedicated to you.


How Can I Benefit From Acting?

People ask me this all the time in my classes, especially if they haven’t had prior acting experience. Even actors sometime ask this question. There seems to be a preconception that acting is only for actors, that it is exclusive, pompous, unrealistic, reserved for the stage and screen, and separate from real life. None of that is true of course. In fact, acting is a lot like life and I tell my students that a lot. If anything, it’s simply a heightened state of life. I tell them “your life problems are your acting problems. Likewise, your acting problems will be your life problems.” It’s something I’ve learnt and come to believe in along the years. Then comes the often asked questions, “so what’s in it for me?” or “how will I gain from this?”

Well, here are some often reported benefits from learning acting:

  1.      A higher self-esteem and self-confidence
  2.      The chance to learn how to speak in public
  3.      Improving your social interaction. (rapport building)
  4.      Learning how to take risks (stepping out of your comfort zone in order to grow)
  5.      Listening skills
  6.      Independence
  7.      Responsibility
  8.      Learning to think on your feet

One of the great things about acting is that it doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or extrovert. A good story doesn’t require someone who is good looking or pretty. Think about the last time you heard a good story. One that really made you ponder or engaged you or caused some sort of emotional reaction- a tear, a laughter, a smile, a frown, a grimace, a tight knot in your gut, a sense of dread or fear. Almost instantly you think about the story itself and not whether the storyteller had a great set of teeth or looked like a Hollywood/Bollywood/Kollywood/Mediacorp/K-Pop/J-Pop star.

This quote comes to mind, one of my favourites from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The best stories speak to the heart. They stay with you for a long time and sometimes they change the way you see the world. You remember them. I hope that at HCAC, my students will learn to become great storytellers in their own right, translate their personal journeys on stage and share unforgettable stories.

Always With Hope Towards the Future,
Kamil Haque

Actor’s Calling is a series of articles written personally by Kamil Haque, founder of the Haque Centre for Acting & Creativity. In this series, Kamil hopes to share his personal journey. He explores his vision for the school, growth as an actor and experiences as a teacher. The series also seeks to dispel some of the common misunderstandings about Actors and Method Acting.

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