When Judy Greer first arrived in Hollywood seeking an agent, she found one who, rather than sign her, sent her on auditions to see what kind of feedback she’d receive from casting. It was 1997, and within a week she landed a part in two movies and a pilot. “I learned early on that when you make something funny it stays in the movie, and if you don’t, it doesn’t, “ Greer shared. “Everything needs some comic relief. Everything.” The distinct artistry she brought to the table was her sense of humor. By throwing in a few jokes into the material she made her work experience more fun, and it helped in the collaborative process of the project over all. “I’ve rarely worked on anything where the directors haven’t wanted me to embellish or improvise.’ These are boring lines. Just get the information out, but say whatever you want.’ I get that direction a lot,” the 39-year-old star says. Her comic approach has lead to a prolific career.

Every actor has his or her own strengths that catch the attention of casting directors and audiences alike. What stands out most can be an intriguing personal quality like being particularly lighthearted, soulful, intense, or genuine. Other times a compelling level of skill in the craft is the most distinctive quality, or a specific talent like a stunning singing voice or enviable dance moves. And of course the more strengths you have, the better! Fortunately, in the entertainment industry there is room for variety. Here are some quotes from actors over the years talking about what they regard as their biggest strengths.

“My strength as an actor is in the theater–I know that about myself. Some actors get onstage and vanish, but I’m much better there than I am on screen.” –Stacy Keach

“My greatest strength is common sense. I’m really a standard brand–like Campbell’s tomato soup or Baker’s chocolate.” –Katharine Hepburn

“Part of my strength as an actor comes from what I’ve learned all these years: when you play a villain, you try to get the light touches; when you play a hero, you try to get in some of the warts.” –John Forsythe

“On set is where I feel comfortable. The red carpet stuff, talking about the film, explaining your own life, it doesn’t come naturally. It’s all necessary stuff I suppose but it’s not my strength.” –Naomi Watts

“I know what my limitations are as an actor, but my strength is putting myself into a well-written part. When I get in trouble is when I have to fix it, or when I have to carry it on personality.” –George Clooney

“I sort of consider myself a comedic actress, not a comedienne. I think it’s different. You know, I’m not a stand-up of anything, but playing into comedic situations is sort of where, I think, my strength lies.” –Zooey Deschanel

“It’s true; I have a skill and it’s…it has not related to acting, it’s not related to auditions, it’s not related to studios, not related to public whim. It’s whether I’m funny or not and whether I can entertain people.” –Tim Allen

“If there are nine guys auditioning and they’re all gorgeous, I have an advantage, because gorgeous guys are a dime a dozen. But if they need someone else–like a goofy guy with bad hair who is just okay–then that’s me. And finally, the other two percent who audition are geniuses that I could never touch.” –Tom Hanks

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is that I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me…but if we get on a treadmill together, there are two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m gonna die. It’s really that simple.”–Will Smith

Or as Al Pacino said, “My weaknesses…I wish I could come up with something. I’d probably have the same pause if you asked me what my strengths are. Maybe they’re the same thing.”

What is your biggest strength?

 

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