01 Jul 5 ways to improve your acting skills
Acting is a doing word and unless you are continually practising you will lose the skills you have already accumulated.
Establishing any kind of routine and repetition will be advantageous for your skills.
If you went to the gym once a week for a year, you would be fit, but no one can argue that going 5 days a week for a smaller amount of time can make you fitter! It’s called compound interest, and you can collect that interest all year round.
It’s the same with acting muscles, if you practice 5 days a week for 20 minutes it’s going to be better than practising once a week for 2 hours.
By all means, go to acting classes, take acting courses and for now… Here are 5 tips that will help you be a better actor and improve your acting skills.
1. Establish a morning routine.
It doesn’t have to be long, just 30 minutes!
Write for 10 minutes, expand your imagination and creativity by writing (not typing) continually for 10 minutes barely lifting the pen from the page. Just write, it doesn’t matter what you write just spew forward all your thoughts onto the page. It’s difficult at first but after a while, you will begin to love it and see your creativity appear on the page. It will go a long way to making your acting more expansive.
Meditate for 10 minutes, and I don’t mean sitting cross-legged and chanting (or though if that’s what you like then go for it) but spend ten minutes watering the garden, do a repetitive task and while you are in the space of moving meditation concentrate on your breath and just listen to it (no need to change it, just be aware of it) then think of three things or people that you are grateful for. After 10 minutes you will be feeling a lot freer and happier, trust me!
Move your body for 10 minutes, stretch, walk, run, dance or shake your body! Just get that heart rate up, make it race! The endorphins that will be released by this simple act will get you raring for the day.
Acting classes, courses or, in fact, actual plays and films require stamina, so start now.
Acting requires us to look inside and see what we are made of, but we must become good observers of the outside, of humans and human nature. If we want to recreate human behaviour on stage and be truthful about it, we need to observe, watch people, family, friends, strangers and see how they work. Note down peoples eccentricities and habits, no matter how strange.
You will be amazed at how this kind of research and observation will help your acting skills in the creation of characters and their habits.
3. Be You
Just like any tradesperson or artists toolbox contains tools, brushes and paint, the actor’s toolbox contains an emotional and physical life.
Fill it up with experiences. Go to the theatre, read plays and autobiographies, watch documentaries and movies, visit museums, listen to music, look at art, immerse yourselves in other cultures at festivals and have interesting conversations with just anybody (everybody has a story to tell).
Write down what makes you feel good, bad, indifferent or inspired.
Your unique life is your greatest asset when becoming an actor.
4. Be Present
‘Stop and smell the roses’ is how they used to say it, be “in the moment’ as Stanislavski put it, ‘practice mindfulness’ is the current trend.
Ultimately they all mean the same thing, just be present at this moment in time! This is an extremely important skill for any actor and in fact any human being!
The past has already gone, the future is yet to happen but what is happening right now is the present (a play on words, it is a gift after all)
Awaken all five of your senses and notice how they individually incite different emotions or activate different memories. Reach out and touch a surface and put all your attention on how that feels, that is putting yourself in the present. Really listen to what someone is saying (instead of composing the reply in your head) really watch a bird, cloud, rain and see how it affects you.
No matter what you’re doing, in an acting class, just strolling around Brisbane or at an event, this is such an easy skill to practice and get better at, do it consciously 10 times a day.
“I think most actors take roles because they think they won’t get offered another one that week,” Ricky Gervais said, “or they’ve got to work every week of the year or they’re worried someone else will take it.”
Don’t be that person! Create your own work, find your own voice, go out and find like-minded people and make some art.
A web series, a play, write your own material and do stand up! Whatever you do go out and create, not only will it expand your imagination and your acting and creative skills but it might get you noticed. Justin Beiber started off on YouTube, Broad City (Netflix) started off as a self-shot web series on YouTube.
A friend of mine put on a one-person show (that he had written) in a small theatre and was spotted by a producer in town for a couple of days and offered the lead in a feature film.
Do your own stuff, keep the momentum moving forward
These tips will help you improve your acting skills. An acting class is also a great way to progress. We offer casual acting classes in Brisbane and professional acting school.