It is difficult for mere words to convey the energy and excitement felt in the Montgomery Arts Theater at Booker T last Thursday ,when actor and film star Kevin Bacon took the stage. Hoops, hollers, whistles and applause continued through the 45-minute conversation, while Bacon was quizzed by two senior theater students .
Relaxed and reflective- with a winning smile – Bacon, perhaps unknowingly, offered his top ten list of ‘Inspirational Messages to Aspiring Actors’ to the adoring audience of teenagers. Later in the evening, he was to speak at the Nasher Salon series, but that afternoon, because of a Nasher / Booker T partnership, Bacon belonged to the students.
Gleaned from questions and answers about stardom, auditions, aspirations and even alligators — the ones you see on shirts — Bacon’s advice follows:
1.Realize that acting means “You want to share something with the world. You! You’re saying, ‘Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!‘ From my earliest days, I just wanted everyone to look at me.”
2. “Have a tough skin. Rejection is a vulnerable place to put yourself. Tell yourself you have something unique to offer that no one else has.”
3. “Go full speed ahead with your craft. Do something everyday to further your career or skill as an actor.” Enroll in a dance class, assume a different identity , expose yourself to life.
5. “Commit to the long haul. Acting is a frightening choice for the student and the parent. It is a competitive and tough road.”
6. “If you’re thinking about doing something else, do it. Acting means you will have to, have to, have to work at it every day. But you can actually make a living doing something you love.”
7. “I can’t actually say that an acting degree would be the only way… Everyone has a different road. I knew no part of me was going to college. … My parents were so busy raising six kids, that by the time I left, they didn’t even know I was gone.”
8. Social media is “an awesome way to be discovered.” Short films on the Internet can change the world. When actors make short films, they can better understand the process of shooting and editing.
9. Married to an actress and the father of two college-aged children, Bacon says, “Find something else outside of your acting career, like yoga or family, to connect with, so that your entire happiness doesn’t depend on your success in acting.”
10. Admit that you want to be rich and famous. “Fame is a little weird.” You can get tired of all the other stuff like traveling, the press and the photos, “but the only thing that never gets old is the time between ‘action and cut.’
Bacon added that as an experiment, he disguised himself to blend in with the crowd at a shopping mall. “I hated not being recognized, ” he said.
“For the most part, being famous is great!”
Photos by Julius Pickenpack