WILMINGTON, N.C. — Beth Becka has had a recurring part in “Matlock,” appeared opposite Jennifer Lopez in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and mastered leading or supporting roles in theater productions from New York to California.
But now she’s well into her second year as a Wilmington entrepreneur with her own startup business, and it’s not an act.
“When we opened our doors,” Becka remembers about the 2011 debut of her Insight School of Acting on Randall Parkway, “we had two teachers and 14 students. Today we have 7 teachers and over 70 students.
“By August, that number will be up to 90. With a zero marketing budget to start, we have relied heavily on word of mouth, our website and our Facebook page.”
Word of mouth was not an issue. She’s lived in Wilmington for 20 years now, working in film and theater, supporting the community and teaching at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
“And with the way the film and television industry is booming here, (starting the school) was just a natural fit for me, and the market,” Becka said. “We are unique in this market in that we are the only acting studio offering an on-going program of courses for the student to progress from a beginning level through to advanced-level courses.”
Becka has deep roots not only in Southeastern North Carolina, but throughout the state.
Her master’s in acting and directing is from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and her Wilmington credits include fundraising for local nonprofits, but always with one hand, or mainly both feet, in her trade: acting, whether performing, studying or teaching.
“An actor’s life is, in part, about becoming a perpetual student, certainly of life, but also in training,” Becka said. “As with anything that is to be done with excellence, it takes practice.”
In fact, she has been in Oregon this summer refining her acting and teaching talent at the True Acting Institute.
Back in Wilmington this July, her business has geared up for numerous summer programs based on two of the key elements of her school’s success.
One is on-camera classes, where students are taught to be more natural in front of the camera, learning relaxation, the moment before, in-the-moment delivery, and substitution. Becka promises students will be on-camera acting in every session.
The other is audition taping services. Becka said the audition process is one of the things that has changed in the film and television industry the most in recent years.
“Where we used to go to the casting directors’ offices to audition live, in this digital age, almost all auditions are taped,” she said.
Prior to starting the Insight school, Becka got credit for some “home schooling.”
Daughter Caitlin, now 25, has grown up around and in the Wilmington theater scene, with leading roles with Opera House Theater Company, City Stage and Thalian Association.