Sometimes you have bar-stool man talk with your buddies, other times you have monologues and loud conversations with yourself in the bathroom about how you’ll nail your next acting role. Most of the times, we keep these ‘interventions to ourselves… But on this very occasion when I got interviewed on a Sanaa Talks episode that aired recently; I made a statement concerning knowing one’s type as an actor. Melissa Kiplagat had a very interesting point. I will put the conversation in script-ish form as below :
ISAYA: As an actor it’s important to know your type and shape yourself as per your type. The easiest way to know your type, as I learnt from Neil, is to have a group of actors then let them write on paper what roles they think you can play. Shape yourself towards what others think of you as a character.
MELISSA : I kinda don’t agree that you should shape yourself according to your ‘type’. You never grow as an actor doing that. And people can play roles no one would think they could. Jared Leto doesn’t look like an HIV+ drag queen but he played it. And played it well.
ISAYA: Melissa has a valid point. However, for beginners, you need to know your type to get into the door then eventually you can be versatile. You need to be specific to land first gigs then branch out. What do you think Peter Kawa?
That is where it sort of all started… then a couple of friends thought it would be important that we have this online class on facebook… to discuss and help each other. These are your views/opinions
Does ‘Knowing your type’ limit your chances in acting?
“An actor should believe themselves first. Then go for scripts that they believe in. Versatility is also about knowing your strengths in skills and physique if the description fits your ability”
“I don’t think one should limit their talent based on “your type” as going out of your comfort zone actually helps you grow and learn more about your capabilities as an actor. I may think my type is one thing but after venturing out from “my type comfort zone” I could actually unlock even greater acting skills that I probably would have sat on for a while with the perception of I can’t do anything outside of what I have set my mind to.”
“Don’t you think telling a beginner to be versatile may be setting them up in an already competitive industry? What if they try what they look like first then perfect it, get in the door then they can be anything else?”
“There should be nothing that stops an actor from trying EVERYTHING. No one is stopping anyone from going to auditions. A casting director might see something in them that their friends don’t. Try everything. Just be prepared for a lot of NOs.”