What Makes an Actor More 'a Professional' than Just 'Another Hangabout'?

@mythociate (15963)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
January 2, 2015 12:38am CST
Watching the "Inside the Actors' Studio" where host Professor James Lipton interviewed alumnus Bradley Cooper (The HANGOVER movies, WEDDING CRASHERS, etc.), I was struck with a kind of "realization": 'Hey! These acting-people really think they're doin` somethin`!' See, I never really thought of 'acting' (or almost anything) as 'a profession' or as anything more than 'something one kinda does for fun' (like singing karaoke or juggling or bike-riding). The way I see it, actors are just 'readers/dancers who fit the parts that directors/producers imagine to manifest their stories on stage/film/tape.' Drama-school basically shows actors how to 'access the feelings required for the reading/dancing that producers/directors want to see.' And Bradley Cooper (whom Professor James Lipton said was the ultimate interview of Inside the Actors' Studio---sort of 'the very interview the Professor had started the show all those years ago to do ... as was sort of demonstrated when they replayed footage of Bradley asking questions as a student in the early Aught's), Bradley Cooper pretty-much SAID as much in the interview: that he experienced 'accessing his feelings' in the classroom there, but that he only got better at that as he applied it to work in films and the stage and television. So the question I'm left with is "Why not me?" What do I have to do to be seen as more 'a professional' than 'just another karaoke guy or -another guy who talks'?
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