A lot of people tend to write actors off. They’re moody, they’re flakey, they don’t understand the production process, etc. Being a former actor, I know that is not the case. My respect level is so high. Actors are on my mind, whether I am writing, directing, or producing. I’ve been there.
Actors are here to help us figure out the truth. To get at the truth in a moment in a way that we can’t describe or control. You watch theater and you can tell who is telling the truth and then you really can apply that to your day to day. We particularly need these live truth telling rituals in an increasing virtual world. You have to really be there for it to really happen.
Libby Skala created a one-woman show based on her relationship with her grandmother, the Oscar-nominated actress, Lilia Skala. While most grandmothers would be horrified to learn that their granddaughter wanted to be an actress, Lilia instead was pleased that she would no longer be the only “black sheep” in the family. Here, Libby shares her struggles and triumphs becoming an actor, and the long and sometimes difficult process of developing her very own show.
An outstanding work ethic is key. New York is not a city for lazy people. A good sense of self-worth. You will be told “no” more than you are told “yes”, so you have to learn to just move on to the next thing without taking it personally. And persistence. Remember that developing a good reputation and a quality resume takes time. Of course talent is important too, but let’s not forget we live in a world where Anna Nicole Smith is famous. It truly can happen for anyone.
Through theater and the arts people can see their world as different and can be inspired to change it, and if not change it then just think a bit differently about it. That is an amazing ability that can’t be achieved in such a short period of time by just talking to someone. It creates empathy and allows the individual to suspend their own judgments for a short period of time and feel what it might be like to be in someone else’s shoes.
Iris Bahr’s one-woman show, “DAI (enough)” has the New York Times raving and audiences debating. Read why this sitcom and movie actress (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) believes there’s nothing more gratifying than creating and performing shows that entertains, moves, angers, and provokes after-show dialogue!
The best advice every given to me was that agents, managers, casting directors, producers, everyone in the business is lazy. They don’t want to do anything. So all that you can do is become the greatest, individual artist that you can be. Eventually, if you are true to who you are and what you do, the public will respond and, all those suits will have to scramble to work with you. That kind of blind faith in yourself and persistence. That’s it.
I think most people have insecurities when they start out, and I had to gain confidence through experience. But, now, I consciously put myself in insecure positions. I scare myself whenever I can. When I read a script and wonder how I could possibly play this part, that’s when I know I’ll have a chance to be original in it.