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ACT Exclusive Q&A with Member & Actor Extraordinaire Osman Khalid Butt

Q. What was your first ever acting role/audition? Describe how you felt then.

A: My first audition, for Shah Sharahbeel’s Moulin Rouge!, was actually a month-long process. While I’d dabbled in school plays, I hadn’t broken out of my proverbial shell (I was painfully introverted and had spent most of my life in my head). Standing up on the NIH auditorium each night auditioning was liberating. I felt like I’d finally found my calling, and my people.

Q. Did you make any mistakes back then that you have learned from now?

A: I was definitely naïve when it came to the business side of my art. Like any industry, it’s easy to get exploited here, and especially as a newcomer, to feel like you don’t have a voice or say in matters.

Q. What is one piece of career advice you would like to share with aspiring or new actors?

A: Be adventurous, don’t be afraid of change – your career isn’t going to go the way you’ve mapped it in your head. Experiment, and find ways to hone your craft even when there are no job offers. I find reading theatre & film scripts and performing monologues (most of which aren’t public) to be a great exercise in slipping into the skin of divergent characters.

Q: What is the one acting/performance tip you would like to share with aspiring actors that look up to you?

A: Find a way to connect with whatever character you’re portraying. If you’re not feeling it, your audience won’t either. Don’t be afraid to discuss a scene (even a dialogue) with your director and co-actors. Acting is all about collaboration. Also, when in a scene, really listen to what your costar is saying. The camera catches every subtle shift in expression & body language.

Q: Who is your inspiration in terms of acting?

A: I find myself more inspired by performances than performers – so I’d say broaden your horizons and explore cinema & television. Actors can elevate very average material just by the weight they put into their words.

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