If you have never seen the film Whiplash, then you must.
It’s about an elite student jazz band and the plight of a young student drummer (Andrew) to make it into the band and stay there.
His nemesis is a tough, no B.S. conductor called Mr. Fletcher.
Fletcher is completely uncompromising and pushes students to the point where he is pretty much deemed abusive to the students.
In one scene, he is trying to get Andrew to play the right tempo, but he isn’t getting it right. In the middle of a song Fletcher throws a chair aimed at his head, but Andrew manages to dodge it.
He asks him, “Were you rushing or were you dragging?”
He doesn’t know.
He then gets him to count the tempo out loud and slaps him hard on the face to demonstrate a rushed tempo. He asks him again, “Was I rushing or dragging?” Andrew answers, “Dragging.”
Fletcher replies, “So you do know the difference!”
Extreme, I know and I can’t agree with Fletcher’s methods but his passion to push students to a higher level is spot on.
Later in the film he gives a beautiful little speech (you can watch it here) about how the great Jazz musician Charlie Parker became a brilliant musician, after a conductor threw a cymbal at him for not playing “spot on” one evening. He then went off and practiced and practiced and practiced until he became outstanding.
The truth is, to become brilliant at anything (acting included) it takes practice, practice, practice. It’s not something that is “god given” it’s something you develop. That’s what I like about the film Whiplash. It shows that greatness is not a natural occurrence but something that is created.
So, it’s worth doing a bit of Actorlash on yourself. Get that acting whip out and give yourself a good lashing until you become brilliant.
Now, if you would like someone else to do the lashing (ahem, metaphorically speaking) then look no further.
Auditions for the Ultimate Acting Programme are on September 2nd.