Becoming an actor means not only mastering a wide range of roles, but being able to effectively speak across generations, according to Backstage. Even if there is one goal in mind, individuals will view what it takes to get there very differently depending on their generation.
For example, let’s say there is a casting flyer posted at the local library looking for adults of all ages to play background in a student film. Three actors spot the same flyer – 16-year-old Samantha, 50-year-old, Tyler, and 75-year-old, Terri. Samantha might pull out her smartphone and snap a picture of it while taking note of the social media at the bottom and adding the pages to her profile on the spot. Tyler might also take a picture of it or he might jot down the details on a pad of paper. Terri might temporarily remove the flyer and ask the librarian to make a copy. These individuals are all interested in trying out for the same background roles, yet their strategies could be very different due to the generation gap.
Understanding the generation gap is crucial for actors, because an actor will work with a wide range of ages throughout his or her career and because, at some point, a seasoned vet may even be mentoring individuals who are much younger and just getting their start.
There are significant differences between how millennials and baby boomers process information. While millennials may be attached at the hip to their devices, baby boomers often see this as rude in certain social situations. Therefore, millennials who are auditioning for a role might pull out their smartphones to text a friend while they are waiting their turn. But, if a client of a different generation witnesses this, it may be seen as disrespectful. While the millennial would have never thought twice about it, the client may hold a grudge and the actor may not have a chance at landing the part.
A millennial may also approach booking a gig very differently than a baby boomer might. The baby boomer generation is used to a hierarchical structure in the workplace, while Generation Xers and millennials tend to be more team-oriented. Therefore, the millennial may believe he or she has much more of a say in how the character is portrayed than a baby boomer. It may seem like a minuscule soft skill in the grand scheme of things but understanding how to communicate despite the generation gap and interact with individuals of all ages really is a must-have to make it big!