Michael Keaton: Tips for Surviving the Acting World
Michael Keaton has one of the most celebrated careers in Hollywood. The actor’s critically acclaimed performance in the 2014 movie Birdman earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor as well as a nomination in the same category during the Academy Awards that year. With his decade-long career, it is safe to say that Michael Keaton joins the ranks of American actors who have made a positive impact in the industry.
In the acting business, maintaining a steady career is anything but easy. You need to be versatile, thick-skinned, and hardworking. So if you want to build a career like that of the great Michael Keaton, here are important acting tips from the man himself.
Important Acting Tips from Michael Keaton
1. Acting requires a lot of courage
“So [on Birdman] the approach was just about discussing everything and every detail. It was tough, in the beginning, to catch on through the rehearsal process, but once we got it, we were good. I knew it, I just didn’t know how I was going to get there. It’s just really fundamental, human stuff. I don’t really have a set process, necessarily, but I was working my way toward something. I knew it was going to be tough, but it was more difficult than I thought it would be. I have a weird job. I show people, warts, and all, what the character is. This went really deep. Alejandro said, ‘You’re going to go deeper than you ever have,’ and I said, ‘Okay.’ I thought I got that, but every time, he was right. It was a risky gig, frankly, for all of us, but I never want to look back. To me, courage is the ultimate thing. You’ve gotta have guts. If you don’t, you should just do something else.”
Even as a veteran in the industry, Michael Keaton continues to take risks. As a washed-out actor in Birdman, he was required to tap into a range of emotions he has never showcased before and the result is absolutely mesmerizing to watch on the big screen.
2. Let loose
“You’re usually tightening up if you’re fearful. That’s why acting’s such an interesting kind of way to make a living. It’s such an interesting art form or trade or craft or whatever it is. Because when it’s being done well, I think — at least for me — you’re 100 percent present, and at the same time, you just totally let go. I used to compete riding cutting horses. . . . This is a trained horse trained to do a certain thing, and you have to hope that, at that point, your horse is so well-trained and his or her instincts are so strong that you have to trust the animal. You know, I’m just going to let go, man. I can’t tighten up my legs. I can’t get too locked up in my body. And at the same time, I’ve got to stay 100 percent present. That’s essentially, for me, what I’m doing [when I’m acting]. I’m locked in solid. And at the same time, I’m just not in control of it at all. You just kind of let it occur.”
Michael Keaton poses a clear message: build a strong foundation but manage to let loose every once in a while. It may not be easy at first, but the right amount of training and experience will help you achieve your goals in the business.
3. It’s all just an act
“I always bet on me. What I may lack in talent from time to time, I think I make up for in balls. I’ve never seen the virtue in not being courageous in acting. It’s not like coal-miner bravery or Doctors-Without-Borders-going-into-Ebola-stricken-villages bravery. I mean, what’s gonna happen? People are going to laugh at you and make fun of you? Okay, fine. If that happens, I’ll go on to the next thing.”
Harsh criticisms are an uncommon in the acting business, and Michael Keaton isn’t a stranger to that. So even if you find that people aren’t too happy with your performance, do your best to move on and improve for the better.Michael Keaton: Tips for Surviving the Acting World by Holly