- DIVER: Art Brown
- NATIVE COUNTRY: USA
- CATEGORY – Artist
- DIVE: Actor
- LEVEL: 1
- REQUIREMENTS: Level 1 (Has gone on an audition OR has acted out a scene..)
When and Why Did You Decide to Pursue This Dive & Level?
When and why are two things I can remember distinctly.
When I was 5 years old there was a comedian named Red Skelton. He had a weekly show. He was a clown, a mime, a comic, and most importantly, his heart and love of his audience always came through.
I decided, and I can remember the moment like it was yesterday, that making people laugh is what I wanted to do with my life.
I remember, as a 5-year old, wondering why anyone would want to do any other job! Not long after, I booked my first professional acting job (and by professional, I mean, I got paid), at the age of 12. It was a children’s theatre on 2nd avenue and 12th street in Manhattan.
They had posted an audition notice in a show business newspaper. My friend I traveled in from Queens to audition. I got cast and he didn’t. For the next couple of years (until my voice changed), I had a career as Hansel (in Hansel and Gretel). The director paid me $3.00 a show.
I’ve been a working actor ever since.
How Long Did It Take For You To Accomplish This Dive At This Level From The Day You Decided To Pursue It, And Why Did It Take That Long?
Living in NY, I’ve done more live theatre than film or television. Since I sing, I’ve performed in quite a lot of musical theatre. I’ve performed in summer stock, off-off-broadway, Shakespeare, and recently I starred in a touring show in Los Angeles.
Although I’m grateful for the success I’ve had, I imagine I might have a much greater level of success by now had I made different choices. I’ve had many self-imposed interruptions – going to school, being a parent, etc. I could point to the circumstances… but I believe it’s internal conversations and choice which drive circumstances, not the other way around.
I believe my biggest obstacle from the very beginning has been my lack of confidence. Show business (even performing for a simple audience of a few people) is the ultimate sales job because you’re constantly selling your abilities. Your confidence, from that very first audition or performance is critically important – offstage as well. For me, though, I still know that the best is yet to come.
What Was The Hardest Part About Achieving This Dive Level?
Steve Martin was asked what advice he’d give to new actors. He replied, “Get so good at what you do that they can’t ignore you.”
Show business is a nexus of art and commerce. I’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and money on training. That was the easy part. I believe that if acting is something you really love doing, getting better at it is a natural desire. Selling the product, and everything that goes with selling, has sometimes been a challenge, though. Networking, schmoozing… I’ve gotten better at that over the years, but I still have a way to go.
What Was The Easiest Part About Achieving This Dive Level?
The easiest parts? Performing, entertaining, and making strangers laugh, think, cry and experience their own vulnerability, and that all started back when I was 12. Opening hearts. Casting a spell and creating magic. Being a part of an ensemble. Playing make believe with other actors, and working together as a team. Having the privilege of collaborating with great writers, like Shakespeare, by bringing their words to life.
What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Is Pursuing This Dive And Level?
- Approach it like a business, from day one.
- Write a business plan – with short and long range goals.
- Like any business, get good at what you’re selling. Seek out the best training and invest in it, but don’t hide out in class.
- The best training is often acquired on the job. I’ve had a lot of classroom training, but I’ve also learned important lessons in front of an audience. There’s no substitute for getting out and doing it.
- If you find that you’re the best person in your class, leave.
- Manage your money well.
- Become financially literate.
- This business requires capital, and unless you have a wealthy significant other to bankroll you, you’ll need to bankroll yourself.
- Finally, get clear on your dream and hold on to it like a bulldog with a piece of meat. Lead with your commitment, take massive, consistent action, and everything else will fall into line.
What Are Some Of The Best Resources You Recommend to Those Pursuing This Dive at This Level, And Why Do You Recommend Them? Please Include Relevant Weblinks, If Applicable.
The best resources I can recommend are:
- No Acting Please, the book by Eric Morris (Author’s Website)
- Audition, the book by Michael Shurtleff(Barnes & Noble Link)
- The Theatrical Juggernaut – The Psyche of the Star, the book by Monroe Mann (Amazon Link)
Tell Us A Story Of One Of Your Adventures While Pursuing This Dive & Level.
I’ve had many adventures in acting. Every performance in front of an audience is an adventure – particularly at the beginning of a run, when you’re still getting the play in your bones, and managing fear.
I’ll share three notable incidents, one each, from the beginning, middle and recent times of my career.
At the age of 16, I ran away to Canada. I supported myself by performing pantomime on the city streets. I would put on whiteface, put out a plate, and mime routines I’d written or seen. I usually made just enough to stay fed, and the crowds were delighted. In fact, after one performance on the streets of Montreal, an audience member walked behind me, whispered “give me your hand”, and instead of paying me with money, gave me a huge bag of weed. Usually though, they paid me in money.
Around 20 years ago, I was the lead in a show at Off-Off-Broadway’s Theatre for the New City. As the main character and narrator, I was required to walk downstage alone at the top of every act and deliver a lengthy monologue. One night, towards the end of the run, the music stopped, the stage went dark, and a singular spotlight was shown down center. The audience went silent in anticipation. I walked downstage into the spotlight and I went up. (“Went up” is theatre lingo for “Oh no, I suddenly can’t remember one damn line!”)
I took in the audience, breathed, smiled, and had a fantasy of running off stage in terror. The moment seemed endless. Suddenly, an audience member sneezed. I answered, “Gesundheit.” The audience laughed and the spell was broken. I launched into the monologue and the audience assumed the long silence had actually been planned.
Two months ago, I starred in a touring review of a show entitled “Old Jews Telling Jokes”. We played 7 performances a week, so towards the end, we really had it down. One night, I’m on stage and couldn’t help but notice a nun – in full habit – in the audience. As the name of the show might imply, the majority of our audience members also were… old Jews. And the show had very adult humor – not the stuff you’d ever say to a nun.
In the wings, we were all shocked, perplexed, and tickled to have a nun in the audience. As we were pondering this curiosity, one of our cast members shared that his dentist is a real joker and threatened to show up dressed as a nun. We all laughed and figured that was it. So we laughed and played with her a bit during the show. Guess what? It was a real nun!
One common thread though – which points to why I do it – is audiences coming up to me after, shaking my hand and telling me some sadness in their lives and how much they needed to laugh. It’s an honor to share this gift.
How Did You Prove You Met The Requirements for this Level?
- Break Diving founder Monroe Mann has verified that I meet the requirements for this dive and level.
- Please visit my professional website, Art Brown Productions.
- Please visit my IMDb page.
- Please read this recent review from Broadway World about a show I’m in now.
Will you be pursuing the next level? If so, what is the next level, and what is your plan? If not, why not?
Yes. I’m just getting started. I’m very excited to take the new and exciting ground to come. This includes becoming a lead actor in major, feature length films. Cheer me on!
And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Art Brown is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: ARTIST – ACTOR – LEVEL 1. Congratulations Art! Thank you for being an inspiration to others!
The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at www.breakdiving.io and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!