Read these 13 Acting - General Information Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Acting tips and hundreds of other topics.
This seems a bit strange to be included in acting tips, but it ties in with script analysis. Building your vocabulary as an actor will help you immensely because let's face it, if you don't understand the words in a script you don't understand what you're saying and when that happens, you're out of the play and into your head trying to put meaning where you have none. Building your vocabulary also helps you clarify your choices. How many times have you said, or heard someone say, “Well, I know what I want to say, I just can't think of the words.” If you can't think of the words, then you don't know what to say. How can you have a coherent thought or decision without possessing the words to express it?
Your mail goal as an actor is to be the face (and body) of the human condition. Think of yourself as a diplomat for all mankind. The beauty of acting is the ability to "play" in the role of another human being, representing him/her to the best and most natural of our ability. Acting is communication. You, as an actor, have the honored task of creating (or recreating) life on the stage or in front of a camera. You must be able to reflect all sorts of characters, some of whom may even seem odd or distasteful to you. That's the challenge and the reward of acting!
By definition, an actor is a person who plays a role in a dramatic production. But what makes an actor good at what s/he does? Actors have a deep sensitivity to the inner workings of the human psyche. They are able not only to ascertain the motivations and emotions of those around them (which might be considered research), but they are able to render these same motivations and emotions convincingly when they portray a character.
Don't be afraid to enjoy yourself while acting. Yes, you should be serious and professional about the business aspect of your profession, but remember that acting is an art you practice because you love it. Your own joy while acting will help to feed your peers creativity, and help to build your own confidence. The bulk of your time as an actor will be spent looking for work, so don't spoil the reward. Learn to enjoy acting and enjoy your success.
To be a good actor, you need to know your craft. But more importantly you need to know yourself. Consider yourself to be an ambassador of human experience. You will represent the human race with your performances, so study by observing the world around you. Keep your body healthy, as this is your instrument. When you have an audition, show up prepared, on time, and always treat those around you with respect (that includes the casting directors as well as your fellow auditioners). There is only one you; make the most of the person you are and your acting will shine.
Any kind of life experience can benefit your acting talent as long as you learn from it. While you need solid, tangible roles and training to build your resume, any project that you undertake that helps you reflect on yourself can be considered a victory. There's no substitute for work experience and training, but life experience adds the seasoning that makes a better actor. Pay attention to all that happens in your life -- good and bad. Living your life fully and with open eyes will make any role you play richer and more real.
When picking a monologue, remember that you are essentially choosing a tool to sell yourself as an actor. Select material that brings out your acting strengths and shores up any weaknesses that you may have. The monologue should be just right for your level of training. Always (as in, ALWAYS) read the entire script from which the monologue is extracted. Not only will you get a better insight into the character, you may be asked by the casting director to discuss the play (or film) and its themes. This is their way to see if you will be able to work through the themes of the piece for which they are hiring you.
Acting is playing. Remember when you were a child and you played cops and robbers or house or acted like your favortie superhero? You were acting. Actors become completely absorbed in the characters they play, just as children do when they play. While there are many schools of technique available to hone an actor's craft, the essence of acting is the same: You are portraying a life. Your job is to convince your audience that you are the person you are playing. It's a natural process. Just look how easily it came to you as a child!
Acting information can be acquired in several different ways. You can speak with your peers and people you are connected to who have previous industry experience. For training information check out classes offered at local acting schools. You can find lists of these online. Information on casting directors and agents can be found readily in industry publications such as Ross Reports. You may wish to gain experience by acting in studnet films. Try calling the film departments of schools of the arts in your area.
The four mainstays of any production are the producer, director, writer, and actor. All of these roles merge and work together to form a solid production. On the outside are casting directors, agents, and managers trying to supply part of the chain. The goal of any actor is to be able to move through the outer layer (or the business end of things), into the inner circle. The key to moving in this direction is to find productions that are at your level of experience. Develop your craft and progress to more challenging roles and productions.
Make sure that your monologue is flexible in terms of performance space. Each audition may place you in a new environment. Be prepared to perform in front of one person or a whole panel of auditors. Some may even seem to be ignoring you. Do not let this affect your performance. You may be reading in an office, a studio, or on a theatre stage. Your monologue performance should be able to adjust to both small and large spaces, yet always capture the same feeling. The audience should always feel drawn in by your performance.
There are no set rules in the world of acting. There are certain techniques and strategies that make life easier, but in the end you have to find what works for you. Oftentimes what works for a friend or an established colleague doesn't work for you at all. Develop your own methods and strategies and stick to them. Just remember to be objective in your assessments. An old strategy may have once been good, but now it may be holding you back. Don't be afraid to drop it and try something new.
If your child is interested in becoming an actor, there is more to learn than just how to get him/her work. Although there are strict laws about working with child actors, exploitation does crop up now and again. Paul Peterson, child star of "The Donna Reed Show," started an organization to protect child actors. The organization, A Minor Consideration, offers helpful information on the business and helps fight for the rights of underage actors. It's a good place to start research before getting your child in the spotlight.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|