This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Entertainment Industry Careers Advisor to The Stage newspaper, John Byrne. As well as his work as Career and Business Advisor for The Stage newspaper and ‘Just Ask John’ columnist for Young Performer magazine, John also gives talks on auditions, career options and preparing for drama training applications at a wide variety of schools and institutions.
Q1) You have interviewed thousands of actors for your ‘Careers Clinic’ column in The Stage. What have you learned during that time?
I have learned that there is no one path to success in the acting business. There are so many actors with so many different casting types, talents and backgrounds. If there is any ‘secret’ to making it, it is to combine hard work and perseverance with making the best use of your own particular abilities and personality.
Q2) You are also a careers advisor for The Stage. What advice would you give to any of our young actors who may be considering a career in acting?
The best advice I can give is that building a career takes time. There is lots of time to focus on your training and your practise so that when your ‘big break’ does come you are properly ready.
Q3) We often remind our cast at Dramacube how important it is to learn their lines and lyrics thoroughly. Do you have any techniques you could share with us that help actors learn their lines?
Different actors use different methods from visualising the words to using smartphone apps – you can find a very good line learning one at The Stage website. But whatever method you use the one common factor is that since the lines are written to be spoken out loud, never just learn them ‘in your head’. Practise them out loud as much as you can.
Q4) Do you have any tips you can share about the best approach for achieving a successful audition?
Well, definitely learning your lines and lyrics as well as you can helps at auditions too – if you don’t have to keep trying to remember what comes next, you will have the time and space to use your acting and singing talent to bring it all to life and really impress the panel.
Q5) Many people feel nervous when they start a new show. What’s the best way to overcome any first night nerves?
Remember that everyone gets nervous even the most experienced performers – use the nervous energy as excitement to help you do your best and remember you feel your nerves more than the audience so even if you are shaking a bit, keep acting confident and they won’t notice.
Q6) You often give talks giving advice to students and young people. Can you tell us more about these talks and where they take place?
I speak in a lot of stage schools, acting schools and on acting courses to help actors plan their careers and make good choices. What is nice is that having done it now for quite a few years, some of the successful actors I now write about in The Stage were once young people listening to my talks.
Q7) What do you enjoy most about your role as ‘agony uncle’ for The Stage?
I hope I am able to give actors good advice about their problems and challenges but any ‘expert knowledge’ I have only comes from being lucky enough to have so many actors sharing their stories with me.
Q8) Looking ahead, what is next in the pipe-line for you?
I hope I’ll get to see many more of today’s young performers become the stars of tomorrow-and I am sure many of them will have learned their skills at Dramacube!
We’d like to thank John Byrne for his time. For more information about his work visit his website: www.performingcareers.com