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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz By Adam Hill Answering Important Questions Knowing what it takes to succeed as an actor—in any medium—all comes down to having the conﬁdence in yourself to achieve your goals I ’ve been interviewed many times for television, radio and newspapers, or just sitting at my desk being quizzed by a potential student. People’s interest in the world of acting is boundless. Their curiosity about the magic world I inhabit is endless as well as diverse. Everything from who I know to the intricacies of the craft, while I avoid the questions that entail any form of gossip. However, ask me a question about my craft and I could talk forever, and sometimes I do just that. What follows are a few select questions that have been asked of me by sever- al accomplished interviewers and a few by inquisitive peo- ple like yourselves. I hope this article gives you the impetus to write me with any questions you may have: Q: When someone is looking for an acting teacher or an acting coach, what do you tell them you teach? What is your technique? A: It is important to note that the craft of acting is the craft of acting. It doesn’t change from one acting teacher to the next. To use an analogy, a C chord on the piano is a C chord no matter who teaches you the piano or what kind of music you play. If you rename a C chord a W chord, it wouldn’t change what a C chord is. It is what it is no matter what name you give it. When the craft of acting as we know it today was being formulated by those I refer to as the “great gurus” of acting, these wonderful masters of the craft of acting did one un- fortunate thing. They each developed their own language to 92 PAGEANTRY “Do what you do, know why you’re doing it, and do it to the best of your ability.” – Bryan Cranston describe the tools of acting. For example, the most impor- tant tool in the craft of acting is knowing what the charac- ter wants. Some of the approaches to the craft will call this the character’s goal; others will call it the need. My original Stella Adler training called it action. I currently teach using the word “objective.” I do that because it is the most com- monly used word in the business. Action, need, want, goal, objective—they all mean the same thing. I’ve studied with a variety of teachers and their individ- ual approaches to the craft. I was hungry to know as much as possible. Over the course of many years I kept expand- ing my tool kit so I could share with my students as much information as possible. I do tell students to be cautious of schools that advertise “ﬁlm acting.” For the most part this is a lure to attract students who innocently believe there is something different about acting for the ﬁlm versus stage acting. Acting is acting. The craft is the craft. Once you’ve learned the craft of acting you can then learn the adjustments necessary for ﬁlm. In truth, we are constantly adjusting as actors. Adjustments are made if we are acting in comedy or drama, for style, for stage or televi- sion. Yes, it is just an adjustment for ﬁlm acting. Q: You say that the objective is the most important tool in acting. Why is this true? A: It’s really quite simple. Acting is life. Life is acting. If it’s SHOWBIZ Continued on page 136