How to get the most out of summer workshops
Many performance workshops are held during the summer school break, with hundreds and even thousands of young hopefuls and “tomorrow’s stars” working really hard to develop their skills as actors, singers, dancers, program hosts, scriptwriters, models, comedians, etc.
For weeks or even months, they push themselves to the limit, or are mentored, persuaded, goaded, screamed at, or otherwise forced to do their best by all sorts of mentors—from frustrated performers to really great motivators.
After all that frantic activity—plus possibly a recital performance to showcase and end the workshops with a bang however, most of the workshoppers continue to remain unknowns, or bide their time in “chorus” parts.
A veteran of many workshops both here and abroad, asks the plaintive question: “I can do so much, I’ve been trained by famous mentors—why am I still part of the madding crowd?!”
Well there are workshops and workshops, and workshoppers and workshoppers. Based on our experience the authentic “stars of tomorrow” don’t really need a lot of honing to come into their own and shine.
At auditions they immediately stand out on point of looks, talent, personality, verve, uniqueness, and a pulsating love for what they’re doing. A little tweaking here and there, and they’re ready for their close-up, Direk!
But such potential stars are one in a hundred. Most of the new and raw talents need to be honed, to get over their inhibitions and limitations on the one hand, and pump their plus points on the other.
They have to be taught, not just the ABCs of performance, but also the XYZs of how to make it in the biz. Without this knowledge, they can be exploited and seduced by the many “user-friendly” stalkers and big talkers in the industry.
As for all those workshops, choosing the right class and mentor is key. It’s important to take long workshops, rather than breezily swift ones that promise to turn you into a topnotch performer practically overnight and easily at that. Making it really isn’t easy, so you know that you’re being sold a made-up bill of goods if promises are made that look sure to be broken!
Some so-called workshops even turn out to be schemes to fleece more money out of its students than the workshop fee. Recently, a “search” for child talents was exposed as a scam, with additional “incentives” needed to get actual roles for the “more promising” workshoppers. So talents and their parents should watch out for those extra “expenses” coupled with dubious promises.
Work really hard
Instead of getting blinded—and blind sided—by promises of easy stardom, they should favor workshops that require them to work really hard and long, because “degree of difficulty” is one of the best ways to make a new talent really develop and shine.
In addition, workshoppers should make it a point to watch and analyze many productions, so they’re exposed to other talents’ work and can eventually know which ones to emulate, and which to steer clear of and reject.
Most important of all, they should realize that their success is in their hands. Good mentors can help, but it’s the talent’s own passion and determination that best assures their ascent to stardom.