Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date


Faculty Advisor(s)

Jocelyn Buckner


I personally believe that anyone can be a performer so long as they have the determination, dedication, and refuse to take no for an answer. There are all kinds of training out there designed to help turn hopeful wannabes into the “stars” that we know them as, however, not every “star” we see has had this kind of training. We often hear of young actors like Jennifer Lawrence hailed for their “natural talent”. Does this mean there’s some kind of birth-right, a specific natural inclination or ability that makes someone a potentially great actor from the start? I will refer to this phenomenon as “natural talent”. In contrast stands “cultivatable talent” a talent which wasn’t necessarily a gift from the acting gods, but perhaps someone who started out with little promise and was able to acquire skills that could make them into a powerful actor. If the latter scenario exists, is there any kind of cap or ceiling to how much they can learn? My thesis will investigate the several different schools that I referenced above, a BA/BFA liberal arts program, an acting specific studio of one school of thought, an acting specific academy, and genre specific training (for my purposes I will investigate improvisational comedy training), investigating to what extent each of them is cultivating talent that didn’t come “natural” or merely honing natural talent that already existed on its own and as a result discover whether or not truly anyone can become a great actor.


Presented at the Fall 2014 Undergraduate Student Research Day at Chapman University.