All training institutions offer a wide range of skills to their students and I firmly believe that we still offer the best actor training in the world here in Britain. Indeed I believe we train the best actors. I don't believe you can be taught how to act, but I think you can be taught how to be an actor.
There is a wealth of British acting talent coming through the ranks on stage and in films. Over the last year people like Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Rosamund Pike have all gained critical acclaim and A-List status in Hollywood, and they all have one other thing in common which is that they were privately educated.
The government are not going to suddenly fund drama training for people on low incomes. Despite the proven value an excellent drama training has in equipping people for so many roles in life, as well as in the arts, it's probably a low priority with graduates from low income families in medicine, law, and so many other areas also fighting for support
For many it's been a struggle to get there. Young actors emerge from their training weighed down by debt, and - given that less than 2% of actors earn over £20,000 a year from their acting - many leave the profession in the first 5 to 10 years, to seek financial security, dignity, and some quality of life.
I am a self-acknowledged, self-confessed, self-help junkie. And like any self-help junkie worth her salt, I love a good quote. This week I came across one I reckoned you really ought to know about. "Character is the ability to follow through on a commitment after the initial enthusiasm has passed." Nifty, huh?
The first thing that hits you when you step off the plane in LA is just how eager people are to help you out here - or at least that's what I've found. I've been perpetually impressed with waitresses, bar tenders, shop workers - pretty much everyone I've come across in the service sector, have all been exceptionally polite and almost too eager to help.
My daughter wants to be an actress. Words that should strike fear into the heart of any right thinking parent. I've gently tried to discourage her from what I perceive as a harsh life, but she comes alive on stage and has held on to this ambition to the exclusion of other childhood dreams. Luckily my daughter is only seven and there is plenty of time for sense to prevail, but were she to continue on her path, what should she know?
When we experience someone being genuine we believe them. Be that a politician, someone asking for help at work, or the member of staff in a store who genuinely seems interested in helping us. We notice when people are being real, when they forget about trying to impress but come from a genuine desire to connect with us in that moment.