Mind the Gap

By lesly kahn | January 26, 2017

“Mind the Gap.”

To anyone who’s ever been on the  London Underground (“subway” in American speak), it is a familiar phrase. Every time the train doors open to let passengers on and off, you hear these words from a disembodied, slightly robotic voice. Why? To warn people not to trip in the space between the train and the platform as they exit or enter the train. It is a phrase used for people’s protection, to try and help them get where they’re going without injury or inconvenience. If you don’t step OVER the gap, if you step INTO the gap, you will, theoretically, die.  

This is an instruction that applies to much of our lives. We desperately want to avoid the pitfalls and potholes – the gaps – that can impede our progress in our commutes, our careers, our lives. 

We’d like to use this example as a way to illustrate one of the great challenges in an actor’s training. We implore you not to listen to that disembodied voice!  Instead we suggest that you jump right INTO the gap (not the gap at the train station. That would be nuts.). 

You probably decided to become an actor, to at least some degree, because you saw great acting, you loved it, and you wanted to do that, too. But when you start training to be an actor, there is frequently a huge gap between where your acting is now (maybe not so great yet) and where you want it to be (great). 

Whereas you want to “mind the gap,” in the Underground, as an actor, we challenge you to jump into that gap right now.  We challenge you to begin to recognize and renovate all of the stuff inside the gap that is just waiting to kill you . Stuff like inadequate listening, poor text-analysis, deficient marketing, etc.

This will be unpleasant, painful – at the very least, inconvenient – but you have to go through it. You cannot avoid it. The alternative is, after all, death – the death of your acting dream — which is not preferable. 

Here at LK&Co. we say “Hang out in the field of suckage” a lot (think of “suckage” as the American word and “gap” as the British word for the same thing, like “subway” and “Underground”). We say this to encourage you not to shortcut your training. You may not be great at this for a while, and that’s ok. 


“It’s NOT ok!  I’m not getting any younger!” 


“You wanna be young and bad or old and great?” 

It is inevitable. You cannot go around the field of suckage, you can’t go over it, you have to go THROUGH it. We all do. Every great actor you’ve ever seen has, at some point, sucked at acting. But they stuck with it, did the uncomfortable, painstaking work, and eventually emerged on the other side. 


“Not EVERY great actor. Some of ‘em come outta the womb terrific.”


“There is an exception to every rule.” 

As artists, we see great art and we appreciate it and we want to create great art, too. But when we are starting out, we have to realize, and make our peace with the fact that we may not yet have the skills necessary to accomplish that. But our ability to recognize the great art that inspired us in the first place is a wonderful indication that we have within us the potential to do it. We just have to put in the time to master the skills. So embrace the gap! Roll around in it. Plan to be there for a while, certainly for longer than you’d wish. Improvement, growth, mastery – these take time and patience. And work. Lots of work. 

We know it is no fun to work hard when you think you suck. Hell, it’s no fun to think you suck, period. And this is why so many of us fear the gap. We take it as a reflection on us, personally. We think that we must be faulty in some way. But we’re not. We just aren’t fully developed craftspeople yet. But just because you may suck at something now doesn’t mean you are a terrible person or actor, nor that you are incapable of becoming great. It just means you have to take the plunge into that gap.