Deadly Sin #6


Let’s kick this one off with a quote from Johann Peter Eckermann, a German poet and author from the 1800s, who was a friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the famous writer and statesmen.

“At table, the ladies praised a portrait by a young painter. “What us most surprising,” they added, “he has learned everything himself.” This could be seen particularly in the hands, which were not correctly and artistically drawn. “We see,” said Gothe, “that the young man has talent; however, you should not praise, but rather blame him, for learning everything himself. A man of talent is not born to be left to himself, but to devote himself to art and good masters who will make something of him.”

It’s interesting this was going on in the 1800s and is still going on today. I can’t tell you the number of people who don’t think they need to learn the craft of acting. They believe they have natural talent, so don’t any tuition but just a big break.

The delusion is strong within those individuals. Nothing you can say or do will convince them otherwise. They all think they can do it on their own.

Or even worse, lately I have been getting emails from people saying they have created their own acting techniques despite never having learned any methods from a professional. I can only imagine how amateur they must be.

The delusion is also alive and well in professional actors. Some (very few) manage to get work and hold up like a badge of honour that they never trained. I shake my head thinking of the talent in them laying completely dormant because they never took the time to listen to those with more ability and experience. In the end, their careers will fizzle out because they are limited in their skills, even if they do have some natural talent.

It takes 10,000 to become excellent at something even if you have some natural talent. There is no short cut. This is the way it has been since time began. Some people say, “Wait a minute what about Mozart or Einstein or Tiger Woods. Surely they all have god-given natural talent because they became genius’s at such a young age.”

It’s true, they were young when they created their first major works, but no one talks about the 10,000 hours they put in to get there. Tiger Wood started playing golf at three years old and was taught by someone who knew what they were doing. He appeared in his first major junior tournament at 13. Mozart was about three when his father (a musician) started to teach him how to play music, and he didn’t produce his first masterpiece until he was about twelve. Einstein spent a decade thinking and working on his Theory of Reality before publishing it. 10,000 hours nearly always equates to ten years.

There is no short cut. If you don’t put the hours in you simply won’t be as good as those who do. EVER!

To avoid such a fate you may want to take some time to look at my Ultimate Acting Programme.

Brian Timoney
The Master Of The Method