Acting Isn’t as Easy at It Looks

This month’s NoHo Arts acting blog from Fran Montano of Actors Workout Studio focuses on “acting isn’t as easy at it looks.”
Photo by cottonbro studio:

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – This month’s acting blog from Fran Montano of Actors Workout Studio focuses on “acting isn’t as easy at it looks.”

 I can’t tell you how many people have come to my class and say, “I want to be an actor, I know I can, because I’ve been acting all of my life. I saw that movie, and I can do that.”

What they see is humans being human. We all laugh, cry, get angry, fall in love, fall out of love, hurt, and get hurt. How hard can that be? They are seeing themselves in the actors. “I’ve been there!, I’ve had that exact experience, I can do it.”  It’s a natural response. Actors aren’t really doing anything unique when watched.  They are just acting human. Acting looks easy.

When I watch Tom Brady play football, he makes it look easy. Also, when I watch a great ballerina, it is done so gracefully, they make it look easy. Even when I see a great musician, I see them having fun, it looks so easy!

But I know they are doing something I can’t do. I see the talent, the form, the commitment. They are doing things with their body, throwing a football so perfectly, making powerful movements with their body, or making love to a guitar. I can see the talent, the gift, and the expertise.  

Not so with acting, we are just doing what everyday people do. We actually play everyday people most of the time. So, yes, it looks easy.

If I had a dollar for every person who came to my studio and said those things to me and then leave in a few months once they see what is required to actually do the work, I’d be a much wealthier man.

Acting is a craft and requires a lot of work, training, skill, talent, and understanding. And this talent needs to be executed on cue.

Martin Landau said, “If I can tell you a joke and you laugh, that’s life. If I can tell you a joke a hundred times and you laugh each time as if you heard it for the first time, that’s acting.”  

How true that statement is. The lines you say are not yours, they are the writers’, and you need craft that involves emotional preparation, specific choices, repetition, and spontaneity to make those lines yours.  And it needs to look and sound like you’re saying them spontaneously for the first time each time. And even though you know what your partner is going to say like, “Will you marry me?”, you have to prepare and act as if you don’t know what’s coming. That is just one part of how intense this craft is. 

Also, the logistics.  You are surrounded by a crew, lights, cameras, with a timeline, budget and you need to hit your mark and lines on cue with the emotion that is required. And if the director wants to change it from laughing to crying from one take to the next, you need to be able to make that adjustment quickly.

I could go on and on with the details and specifics of what is required to be a professional actor. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

What is so different for actors vs other artistic crafts is, when we are doing it well, it looks like it’s easy. That’s the beauty of a great performance and also the challenge.

If you’re serious about acting, you need to understand and study what the craft is all about. You are going to have to seriously work on your instrument, get to know how it works, how to connect to emotional choices, and live truthfully under imaginary circumstances, moment to moment. That takes work and a certain stripping down of yourself. If you love that, and need that, then yes, go for it.

But remember, acting isn’t as easy at it looks.

Fran Montano
Actors Workout Studio

Fran Montano
Fran Montano - is the owner and Artistic Director of The Actors Workout Studio, located in the NoHo Arts District for nearly 30 years. It is one of the longest running small, intimate theaters and Acting Schools in the Los Angeles area. AWS was created to being a “home” for aspiring and working actors were the work not only includes classes and training, but personal coaching, career planning, networking, showcasing, and regular performing. His students range from beginning actors, accomplished actors who work regularly in film, television, and stage, as well as numerous working directors and writers. His style is on an individual basis and in his small, intimate classes, it’s like working with a private coach. His reputation is in finding and breaking actors blocks Fran’s background as an actor, in producing, directing and theater makes him an excellent resource for actors in Los Angeles, in finding their way both in their talent, and promoting their career. Visit for more information and a schedule of classes and productions