Earning your acting chops takes work and a break. It's often said that less than 10% of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members support themselves from their craft. It's a tough business. Despite the long odds many decide to still pursue their acting ambitions.
There are acting schools like Hollywood Actors Studios and American Academy of Dramatic Arts West – Hollywood that provide aspiring actors a solid program to study the craft of acting.
Another popular way to learn is attending workshops or acting boot camps. The Acting Corps has a terrific program to look into.
Others out there trying to carve out their names in movies or television go a different path. They read books and watch DVD's on acting to help them. Two newcomers to acting I met during a independent movie shoot, Consignment (2007), shared their personal stories with me. I've always been impressed with people's abilities to act in front of a camera or audience.
Newcomer Ruben Navarro brings a charismatic urban edge that connects with movie audiences. His acting debut came in 2007 where he played Smiles a successful crystal meth dealer that gets gunned down in Writer-Director Sid Kali's urban drama Consignment. This youthful Latino actor made a powerful impact on critics and fans alike.
Born and raised in Fontana, California Ruben Navarro has experienced the harsh realities of life first hand. His older brother lost his life violently in front of a relatives house. Two close friends were shot and killed senselessy. He himself survived a nearly fatal shooting on the streets of Fontana that left him temporarily unable to walk for months. He recovered with the attitude he was going to appreciate each day as it came and be open to new things in life.
When childhood friend Sid Kali told him he was writing a script for an urban drama and wanted him to appear in a supporting role he was caught off guard. He didn't see himself as someone who could get in front of a film crew delivering lines. What sealed the deal was how natural it seemed for him to give an authentic portrayal of a gangster that gets shot. During the shooting of Consignment in and around the Inland Empire he made the role of Smiles his own like a seasoned actor.
The term has been used many times, but he was a natural delivering a powerful performance. A unique experience for him was working with East Coast based actor Tim Beachum. Never traveling outside of the West Coast it was interesting watching these two different personalities work well together on screen and behind the scenes.
His first film appearance Consignment has ignited a promising acting career. The independent film has been well received by movie audiences. Consignment is available at Blockbuster, Best Buy, Tower Records, FYE, and other retail outlets. Consignment is a story of drug dealing, money, and power. Based on true events, Consignment is about Tommy Jones, a reluctant East Coast drug dealer on the run with his wife, Yolanda, after a rival kingpin's plan to have him ripped-off and murdered goes wrong. In need of fast cash to go straight, the pair head to Southern California, where Tommy hooks up with his cousin, a reckless, hot-tempered drug dealer. Tommy quickly gets in over his head, and is forced to take a large shipment of crystal meth on consignment from a ruthless Latino gangster. Double-crosses, a series of brutal murders, and an old secret from his wife's past foils Tommy's plans for a new start at life.
The role of Smiles in Consignment was the perfect role for him to utilize his natural charisma and talents. Ruben Navarro is set to become a breakthrough performer for the Latino community in the film industry. Early on his style is being compared to Tyrese Gibson and Christian Bale with a Latin edge. A rising talent that will have movie audiences interested in watching his next exciting appearance. Ruben Navarro is slated to appear in Writer-Director Sid Kali's latest red hot film titled Stash Spot that begins shooting in 2008.
Actor Tim Beachum started in the editing room before ever stepping in front of the camera. When close friend Super Bike Mike from Detroit invested money into a movie called Dope Case Pending (2000) starring Coolio and Kid Frost he was invited on set. Super Bike Mike was given a role as a drug dealer named Flakes. The movie itself was very forgettable, but when Tim Beachum was asked to help edit the movie he jumped at the chance. He has been a movie fan his whole life and loves every part of the business. After seeing all the footage and editing parts of the movie (uncredited) he got the acting bug.
He was brought on as the Editor for Director Sid Kali's urban action film Consignment, but decided to take a chance and audition for a role. He had read the script learning it cold front and back. He knew the story inside and out. So he took it upon himself to get in front of the green screen at his editing studio and tape his audition. Being a film editor he cut together two scenes he liked from the script and sent the DVD to Casting Director Stream Gardner. The two had not met and she had no idea who he was before watching the DVD. In the movie business the Editor doesn't get the love the actors or directors do.
She was impressed enough to have him come out for final call backs. Tim Beachum walked through the doors of the acting studio in Los Angeles, CA to read for the lead role of Tommy Jones a moneymaking drug dealer from the East Coast. Director Sid Kali was surprised to see the Editor auditioning and skeptical that the Editor could act.
Not giving him a break it was trial by fire. Tim Beachum was paired with the female lead of the film who was a working actress. This is the part of the story where it would be great to say he nailed it, but according to Tim Beachum his performance was less than stellar. Nerves had got the best of him. He flew all the way in from the East Coast to audition and screwed up.
He was going to be in Southern California another week to go over the post-production needs of Consignment. The role of Tommy Jones went to another actor. Rehearsals began on the last day Tim Beachum was scheduled to fly back home. As luck would have it the actor pulled out of the movie to take a regular role in a network drama. A final call back was done to cast the part of moneymaking drug dealer Tommy Jones. Tim Beachum delayed his trip home to give it one more shot. This time he did nail the audition. The female lead said he was the best she ran the scenes with. He got the part.
Since then Tim Beachum still loves to edit movies, but he is know pursuing acting as well. He attends workshops and acting classes on a regular basis building a strong acting foundation. He feels that editing movies helps him get a better grasp of what it takes to act. Both these newcomers are still trying to carve out their names in movies.