Emma Thompson’s advice to aspiring actors

by Jennifer Donovan

What was supposed to be a 20 minute round-table interview with Emma Thompson lasted almost twice that long. After that, we took a picture with her, and while we were gathering around, she volunteered to kneel so that we could all gather around her. Both of these actions show her kind and gracious manner, but this last bit illuminates it even more.

As we got up after taking the group picture, and Emma’s “people” were trying to usher her out, a teen girl who was there because she was interning at one of the magazines represented at the roundtable said, “I have one more question – what’s it like to win an Academy Award?”

Emma answered by saying it was “really cool.”

Emma Thompson

The teen told her it was a goal of hers to win an Academy Award. After talking with her and finding out what she was studying and what she was doing now, Emma gave her a bit of advice. One of the other interviewers, Beth Feldman (Role Mommy) and I were listening. She said, “I wish I had heard this when I was that age. I wanted to be on Broadway, but . . . .”

For all of you who might aspire to be an actor (or like me, simply wonder what it takes to achieve such success), I wrote down this golden advice from a person who has received many nominations and a couple of wins of that coveted golden statuette:

Advice to an aspiring actress, from Emma Thompson

  1. Don’t strive for the award. Just do your best and enjoy what you do.
  2. The theater is the best place to learn your craft.
  3. Sing. Take voice lessons. Work on your voice. Acting is all about the voice.
  4. Observe people. You never know when you might have to play a character who could be inspired by someone you’ve met.
  5. Don’t give up. Any actor has to experience rejection. Just keep going to auditions.

For more insider scoop of the movie-making trade, check out my review (and giveaway) of the Nanny McPhee Returns novel and film diary over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Other Emma Thompson/Nanny McPhee posts:
Nanny McPhee Returns movie review
Interview with Emma Thompson
Nanny McPhee Returns book and film diary review (and giveaway)

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janice August 26, 2010 at 1:55 am

LOVE this advice Jennifer! THANKS for sharing!


2 ibeeeg August 26, 2010 at 10:49 am

Wow…that is so cool! Her advice is so dead on for any us striving for what we want. Enjoy what you are doing. Work on an area that could greatly benefit your goal. Keep at it – don’t give up. Mostly though is the Do your best and enjoy! Love it.

She does sound like a very gracious person, and i truly appreciate that. I think it says a lot about her personality. Thanks for sharing!!


3 Jennifer, Snapshot (&5minutesformom) August 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

She really was pretty inspiring, and that’s one of her goals for the film as well!


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