Movie Star, oh Movie Star; or what I’ve learned from being on Stage

I could never be an actor. I like to write, yes, but I could never be an actor. The first (and last) event in my life that’s come remotely close to acting was me dressed up as one out of twenty elves for a Christmas play that we staged in elementary school. I had to recite one line. And I almost died of a heart attack back then. Ever since, I have successfully avoided all situations and scenarios in which I might have ended up on a stage again. Drama classes at school? No thanks, I’d much rather take art and paint pretty pictures. I’ll come and see your final play though… deal?

When I first started playing with the idea of trying to become a professional writer about a year ago, I’d often found myself mindlessly scanning the internet for schooling opportunities abroad. That’s when I happened to come across the New York Film Academy. I hadn’t really given thought to screenwriting before unless you count my admiration for well written screenplays – Blue Valentine being one of my favourites – but before I knew what was happening I had filled out the contact form, and was on the phone with one of their student advisors a few days later. After all, it’s always good to know your options, right? (I still have absolutely no clue why they decided to call me but that’s a different story.)

Mikael Wiman_On stage (1)(Photo Credit: Mikael Wiman via Flickr cc)

I was flattered but reality caught up quickly – there was simply no way I could ever afford studying in the US unless I got a scholarship. Because let’s get real here for a moment: American student fees are just ridiculous. And so I carefully stored the phone call in the “what if” corner in the back of my mind, revisiting it during dreamy contemplations of the future.

Who would have known that I’d be talking to several representatives in person only a few weeks later? After all, we all know what they say… Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. Before I could even catch up on all the things that were happening I was sitting in one of those fancy classrooms in Downtown Manhattan and talking to the chairlady of the screenwriting program. Whether it was overwhelming? Don’t even get me started!

It didn’t take long for the word “acting” to come up. There I was, thinking I was talking about a writing program and already the first semester was all about taking acting classes. “To learn about the difference between a writer’s language compared to that of an actor.” That did sound plausible even if it made my heart beat notably faster.  To be honest, I didn’t really see it happening, neither do I know if I will ever get the chance (or find the courage) to actually apply but that conversation alone has given me a lot of useful insight.

And here I am today, another half year later. In the meantime I have taken a drama writing class at university and wrote a short film. I will admit that it took some convincing from a very special person that’s been a great inspiration since I met her, but I haven’t regretted my choice once. Instead, it turned out to be my favourite class of the semester.

Mikael Wiman_On stage (2)(Photo Credit: Mikael Wiman via Flickr cc)

Today, we staged the opening scene of The Berlin Blues by Drew Hayden Taylor for this year’s students. If anyone would have told me this only a few months back – I would have laughed, really hard.

I was nervous as hell before we started; for a brief moment I swear I even considered running for the hills. I also know that I turned as red as a beetroot the second I made my appearance. I could feel the heat flame up in my cheeks even before I had said my first line. But you know what? All of the sudden, I simply didn’t care about it anymore. I didn’t care that there were complete strangers sitting only a few feet away, watching my every move. Instead, I focussed on the warm and fuzzy feeling I felt inside. I focussed on the controlled sound of my own voice and on that of Bene’s. I was Angie in that moment. And I didn’t care that today, she blushed a lot.

Sometimes, all you need is a person who believes in you. A person that makes you believe in yourself. And then you just do it. Not only will you see that you are a lot braver than you originally thought you were – for the first time I also saw the allure of acting. And even though the thought alone still brings me close to a nervous breakdown, I’m actually thinking that I will do it again. Who would have guessed, huh?

After all, I guess nothing is impossible.

Mikael Wiman_On stage (3)(Photo Credit: Mikael Wiman via Flickr cc)

3 comments Add yours
    1. Thank you Ruby! And yes, it really is crazy. I would have never imagined to voluntarily be on a stage again so that’s really saying something.

      On a different note: I love the way you write!

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