What’s Your Number?

Actors and Athletes

The prep work of an actor is, in many ways, similar to that of an athlete. In between gigs, the actor and the athlete must train in order to stay sharp and ready for the next job (or the next game).

Okay, so maybe you are not an athlete, and you don’t know what the heck I am talking about. Well, I am no athlete either. Sure, I like to shoot some hoops, and can throw a football around, but the closest I ever got to being truly athletic was when I was a personal trainer back in 2003. However, I have been a NFL fanatic for years and a huge fan of ESPN and the NFL Network, and I have learned that in order to excel as a professional athlete, one has to put in a heck of a lot of work. The same holds true for actors. If you want to do it and do it well, and get paid for it, you have to put in a heck of a lot of work.

How many times did you rehearse that piece?

When I was in Los Angeles, I studied with Tom Todoroff. One of the things he preached was preparation, and he encouraged us to work on our material 250 times before putting it up for view.

250 is an exceptionally tall order, but it is possible. And when you commit to putting in that amount of effort, it shows up in the work. It makes a difference. Honestly, I thought Mr. Todoroff was crazy when he talked about that two fifty. Until I heard Sir Anthony Hopkins say the exact same thing in an interview.

What’s your number?

I have seen actors working in our classes for over 3 years now. Each night of class, they get up and work. Sometimes the script is in their hand, and at other times the words (and the character) are completely memorized. And when the words have not been worked enough, it shows. When you, the actor, do not take enough time to explore the character and the words – when you don’t put in enough reps – it shows. Now, I know you are not always going to be able to put in 250, but you should be aware of what “your” number is – how much do you have to do in order to really shine with the material? 50 reps? 175? Keep track, and know what you have to do in order to show up on game day and knock it out of the park!

Thank for reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and work on your craft. The path of an artist is one of the most challenging and noble journeys to tread, and we commend you for your efforts and your passion.

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Responses

  1. So true. I can always feel the difference when I throw an audition together versus one that I put my work into and hit my number. Thank you for the reminder