‘We don’t do it because it’s easy, we do it because it’s hard.’

For me, school has been quite stressful as of late, it’s been boring, arduous and exhausting, so much so that quite often I ask myself ‘why am I even here?’ The hours are long, difficult, and mostly without immediate result, but that is not to demotivate us and it is not to ruin our inspiration; the challenges exist to make us stronger, to put us above the rest, to turn us into true, dedicated artists.

Art would not exist without dedication, to be a skilful musician one must sit for hours, alone, playing to the ticking metronome, running scale after scale, burning it into your memory, constantly improving dexterity and ability; the challenge for an actor is much the same. We are not in this to boost our ego or to be validated by applause; we are here in training to suffer and fail because that is the commitment and sacrifice that is required of us. Quite often though, when the work really starts to bog you down, you forget what it is you’re striving for; you think you’re in a 9-to-5 job, just making it through. And yes, there is boring technical work to be done, but it just HAS to be done; we need to reassure ourselves that there’s a result here somewhere we’re working towards. And I’m the first to forget that, I really am, I’m the first to get disheartened and start looking for a new career. One bad experience, something tiny even, and I’m not cut out for this anymore. That’s why I’m in training, I’m learning the tools that’ll keep me above water, and when you’re fully above water you can do anything.

Now that strength is essential for any one of us but I’m sure it’s quite naïve too. There’s an industry out there that’s gonna shock us, and that’s a completely separate challenge. One step at a time though. Wow, it’s scary to realise how much of a beginner you actually are, there’s a lot of years ahead of us in this career yet every performance in acting class feels like your last. Which is why when you mess it up (which is apparently inevitable) everything falls apart. I need to be encouraged more to fail. I’m going to start failing more than anyone has ever failed in the acting world. And what amazing things will I learn along the way. It’s true though, I mean what does one stand to learn and achieve in their comfort zone? I’d prefer to start making an ass out of myself in class and gain some idea of what not to do, rather than fly under the radar here and tip toe along out there where your last performance is everything. It’s a great relief when you stop trying to get everything ‘right’. What does ‘right’ even mean?

So, we only do it because it’s difficult, as all the best achievements in life are. So, push yourself, get it wrong, push yourself some more, and achieve something.

Jamie Hallahan.

March 2011