The secret of great role-players

Many of our role-play actors have worked with us for several years, and on the occasions that we have a need to recruit more associates every new applicant goes through a rigorous selection process to ensure consistency in our team.

As well as the obvious imperative that our actors must be able to act convincingly and have the corresponding professional training and experience, there is an additional trait in which we will not compromise. If you have worked with a first class role-play actor then this quality should be obvious, but if you’ve experienced mediocrity then perhaps your role-play actor didn’t possess the magic ingredient that, in our team, comes as standard…namely, an excellent attitude.

An excellent attitude from our role-play actors is as important as their talent. An ‘excellent attitude’ can be open to interpretation of course, so let us break down what it means to us and what it should mean for you if you have hired a role-play actor for your training or assessment centre:

1 The role-play actor is happy to be there.

The actor’s attitude should be that your project is as important as any other job they have worked on. Corporate acting work is not a ‘fill in’ job, or temping work – something to do if there’s no better offer on the table. We specifically recruit role-play actors who have a keen interest in using their skills as often as possible, whether that happens to be in business, stage or on screen. We think there is a marked difference between those professionals who want ‘to act’ as a craft, and those who want ‘to be an actor’ just to be famous. We have many well-known actors who work for us, but the distinction of wanting ‘to act’ as a craft is still evident whether somebody happens to be famous or not.

2 The role-play actor is hard working.

Attitude also shines through in the preparation for a project as well as the delivery. If the actor is not sufficiently prepared then the exercise will not work. We have heard stories of other role-play actors not knowing their lines, or delivering a role-play with their brief ‘on their lap’ – this is not acceptable or professional in our book. Thorough preparation should be a given.

3 The role-play actor is not on a power trip.

The actor is there to deliver their role in the most realistic way, and if there are multiple actors on site playing the same role, each actor should present the same level of challenge to the participants. This is achieved through a careful briefing and, crucially, the actor must be disciplined enough to listen extremely carefully, concentrate and react to the participant’s behaviour. The role-play actor may have to portray a certain characteristic in order to challenge, but a role-play exercise should not be a celebration about how well the actor can act.

There are now well over 40,000 listed professional actors in the UK alone with a wide range of abilities and temperaments. At NV we go to great lengths to work with actors who represent our values. Trusting the quality, commitment and attitude of your role-play actors is essential in delivering the most effective training or assessment centre.

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