On the 5th of August, I had the rare opportunity of attending the highly publicized Auditions.ng Masterclass with Ramsey Nouah and Tope Oshin. Although I studied Theatre and Film Arts, learning does not end in school, and I am glad I got the opportunity to sit in a class with these veterans. Both Tope and Ramsey have a combined experience of 35 years in the film industry and it was important to hear from them. It was an inspiring day, full of effective lessons and as an actor you can definitely take advantage of some of the tips I will be sharing.
If you are an actor looking for good tips, and you were unable to attend the Masterclass, here are the top 7 Lessons I took from the Masterclass; I definitely learnt more than 7 but here are the best:
7. Social Media is a distraction for actors in the industry: Less than fifteen minutes into the class, Ramsey Nouah made a strong point about Social media, in quote he said “You can’t tell a story on Social media. You need to balance the equation of Social media, when to use and when not to use”. Today’s actors have an over reliance problem with social media and they pay little attention to their craft. While Social media has played an important role in helping actors connect to entertainment jobs, there are actors that use Social media all day waiting for the right director to spot them. You have to attend auditions, get into classes to better your craft, research on the type of acting style that will work for you. Work on your confidence and then succeed before making a splash on Social media. Even after succeeding, the use of Social media needs moderation.
6. Patience is the most important gift for any actor: Ramsey’s first role as an actor was in 1993 when he shot the pilot episode for “Fortunes”, he earned N85 per episode for a year, but it was only his first role and he gave it his best. After he started to book the lover boy roles, the pay was still meager, but eventually when more people identified the work he was doing, he got more opportunities and additional pay. Tope Oshin also shares a similar story. Tope did not intend to be an actor; she just applied for Theatre Arts because it was the only course available for a Literature student while she was applying to the University of Lagos. She got involved in stage plays and also took jobs where she was not paid. Eventually, directing found her.
5. Train, Train and Train: Many people sit and wait for the big opportunity to happen. You know, that one big role that will change their career, but without training it is impossible to get where you are aiming for, many people in the industry aspire for fame because the entertainment industry offers that, but these people fail to put in the work. We watched a few videos with Ramsey and he emphasized on training. As an actor you must have a style. You are either a method actor or a commercial actor. You can succeed while taking either of the styles but you will do better if you can balance being a method actor and a commercial actor. Ramsey played several videos of Daniel Day Lewis and called Daniel, his favorite actor, Daniel is a method actor, and Ramsey is a method actor too.
Some quick tips from Tope on training: Absorb the surrounding of the people you are playing. Understand how life is, generally. The only way to learn is to get into the lives of others, so be eager to meet people.
4. There is no value in taking the same roles over and again: Tope Oshin made a valid point when she said you should not play two roles in the same way. Many actors are victims of typecasting but as a Director with years of experience, Tope says it is possible to play similar roles in different ways. Do not allow the viewer connect you to a specific mannerism, be versatile. Ramsey agrees with this because the best quote of the day is “I can comfortably, very conveniently play the prince or the pauper”.
Tope also spoke of selective actors that will go against their characters because they want to look good on camera, while Ramsey also shared stories of actors that will rather, always take the clean and good looking roles. There are many roles to explore, don’t be a selective actor!
3. Humility and Respect are important ingredients to success: Once upon a time, Tope spotted a good actor on Instagram and asked her team to contact him for a role. The first thing the actor did was to request for the amount he was going to be paid, and offered her team his costs. You have to note that this was a new actor! He lost the job and months later, he found out that he lost an opportunity of working with Tope. Getting paid is important, but actors, be humble. You can’t treat the person in charge of the camera with disrespect just because you are an actor. Respect is important and humility is paramount to be a success story.
2. You need the talent: Be true to yourself, do you have the talent to get into the industry? Many people are eager to become actors because of the fame and wealth that could come from the job. You need to watch yourself, allow honest criticism and if you are trying to get into the industry for the fame and the wealth, then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons.
1. Brand Yourself: There are no limitations to your dream, always make an effort to look simply attractive, and remember nobody is perfect. Good English is a must. Confidence is a must, and talent is what will book you the role.
Here are some additional tips that should help, “Do not call or text the casting director after an audition,” they hate this! No does not mean failure and yes is not always success! Don’t ever flirt with the casting director; let your talent take you through. Always have a monologue ready for auditions; the casting director will request this. As an actor the fastest way to get ahead is professionalism.
Some more; for every role you take, do your research. Do not leave the work for your director. You have to design your character’s mind and body, and be bold enough to go the extra mile.
I hope you have a few tips to help through your journey as an actor. See you at the top and if you have any questions, drop them in the comments, I will reply all.