There are some young people who dream of making it big in the theatre, in films in TV.
As far as I am concerned there’s no harm at all in dreaming big! I like people who are ambitious, who give themselves a goal and go for it. I would never have set up Theatretrain if I hadn’t backed myself while some around me were saying, “Is this such a good idea?”
You have to be careful with young people’s dreams. You don’t want to crush them, and you don’t want to guarantee things you can’t deliver. There are unscrupulous people who will promise you everything and take your money. They can see those stars in your eyes and it’s easy for them to persuade you that if you do as they say, and give them your money, it will become a reality.
Before Fame the movie there was Fame the TV series and every week in the titles the teacher used to say,” You’ve got big dreams, you want fame. Well fame costs, and right here is where you start paying; in sweat.”
These days we know differently – you can go to Tik Tok aged 12 and make yourself a sensation. You can write a book and put it out on Amazon and be an author. I love the story of the 15-year-olds who were invited to meet rock musicians at 10 Downing Street – this was in the days of Tony Blair. One of them told a rock musician his life plan of getting a band together and where they would tour. Eventually the rock musician asked him what guitar he had. The 15-year-old answered, “Well I haven’t actually bought it yet!”
The reality is that whatever your reason for wanting to learn a skill like performing, you need to learn the skills and put in the hours. So, it is about hard work and sweat.
If it was so easy that anyone could do it then everybody would be doing it. In our heart of hearts, we know everyone can’t (and of course not everybody wants to) but we can kid ourselves that we could be the lucky one, we could get that break.
If a young person says to me, “OK Kevin you’ve been doing this a long time, what should I do now to make my dream come true?” I’d say, “Don’t worry too much about getting a part today. Learn the basic skills and do them well. Join a group that operate as a company and be in performances where you can do your stuff. Then learn the more advanced skills but take each day as it comes and be part of the world. Live in the moment. Know what is happening around you. Be kind and generous to others and always be as positive as you can.
And as a famous actor-teacher said, “Love the art in yourself – not yourself in the art.”