Acting is a Team Effort

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Wayne Frazier

Year after year, audiences from around the globe experience breathtaking performances by actors in film and television. A good actor can make incredible moments created by the tiniest emotional nuances look easy. But, it is not! These moments are executed by actors who have honed their craft. They utilize the tools they have studied for years to give the “performance of a lifetime.” We all know it does not happen overnight, but it’s also important to remember that it does not happen without a team.

Without a team it is impossible to move forward in the entertainment business. The old saying “It takes ten years or more to make it” stands true. Even reality “stars” and one-hit wonders don’t do it alone. A writer, director, producer, etc. all have to work to make any show see the light of day. They must work as a team no matter what part of the puzzle is theirs to complete. Each person all the way from the top has a group of people around them to secure the success of the project.

You are not alone onscreen. An actor might be by themselves in a scene, but how did they get there?
Reading your lines in front of a mirror does not make you a great actor. You must learn from a mentor or coach. Throughout the history of acting, instructors like Stella Adler or Lee Strasburg tested the craft in front of audience. Remember, the audience is a part of the team!

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Directors set the pace of a film, a director of photography sets up the clean shots. The lighting crew, the electricians, the personal assistants “make you look good.” From submitting for a part to auditioning, from head shots to a great resume, all these things work together to form a massive puzzle.
If these people don’t work together you are only getting the border completed, and the heart of the puzzle remains blank. Remember, when you are on set the group of people around you can make a magnificent performance look or sound unprofessional. At the end of the day, we need each other, so it is important to always treat the cast and crew and every person involved with respect and professionalism.

How do I build my team and who are they? Putting the proper team together can be as simple as starting with your instructor, and as hard as picking the right accountant. Research is the key. As an actor, researching a role is part of the job. You don’t buy a car without a test drive, or ride a bike without Dad holding the handle bars while you gain your balance. So, why would you create your team without proper knowledge of the people who can help make or break your career?

Be comfortable with your instructor, your photographer, your manager or agent. These people are on your team. As your career begins to blossom, the team becomes bigger and the stakes get higher. You will need a lawyer, an accountant and probably a personal assistant because the business moves fast and you must be prepared. Are all these people necessary? Can’t I take care of things on my own? Not likely, as you grow and opportunities continue to rise going it alone is not advised. Talk to your peers, be inquisitive about how others have built their teams. At whatever level you find yourself now, it is important to start practicing good team building. These essential skills will follow you throughout your career as you find your puzzle pieces starting to fall into place.