Read these 10 Acting Techniques 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.
As an actor, you're required to make choices for every second you are on a stage. Those choices are going to steer you through every performance and you should never be without them. Because of the importance that your choices hold, would you like to work off a vague decision? No. Every actor wants to be the best and you can't be with vague or simple choices. When you consider a role and you ask yourself the questions that develop that character, you must be specific! I mentioned earlier that it is important to build your vocabulary and this is why: There is a huge difference between MAD and LIVID. To say that your character is MAD is vague. To say that your character is LIVID is much more specific because now you've nailed down exactly how mad they are. Never generalize in your choices, be specific and be decisive.
Like a professional athlete, actors need to get their bodies warmed up before performing on stage or in front of a camera. Yoga and other types of stretching exercises work quite well for full body toning. However, don't neglect the most important areas: your mouth and jaw! Lip, tongue, and jaw exercises are vital to an actor. Here's a quick combination exercise you can practice anytime: Clasp your hands in front of you at chest level as though you are about to arm wrestle yourself. Relax all the muscles in your face. Begin to shake your clasped hands rapidly toward and away from your body. Your lips and jaw should move easily, and your tongue should flop around in your mouth. Stop shaking your hands, and finish off by opening your mouth wide and relaxing it shut again to release any further tension in your jaw.
“Just listen,” is perhaps the best acting tip you can receive. As an actor a good deal of your work will be scripted, but just reciting lines is not acting. You must actively respond to the material you are given and to your fellow actors. Listening, constantly and vigilantly, is the best way to do this. Listening to your fellow actors helps you to respond naturally and flexibly. Listening to yourself provides an important check to your own performance, allowing you to gauge how well you are working with the material.
A critical acting tip is to remember that you are showing a story, not telling it. The advice may sound simple at first, but it's harder than you migh think to engage your audience. Simply reciting your lines and obeying stage directions won't be enough. Acting involves the whole of your persona. Each movement, each breath, and each spoken line contribute to your performance. When you are on screen or on stage, know that your actions must be deliberate. Everything you do (your "stage business," in other words) must work to show the audience the story.
First night jitters affect almost all actors. (Ed Sullivan was sick before every show he ever did!) As an actor, you need to develop your own personal strategy for defeating the jitters. Your method can be something as simple as going over your lines again or as complex as crocheting. Meditation and other breath control techniques often helps. What matters most, however, is that you come up with your own personal way of managing anxiety and stick to it.
A crucial acting tip is to always remain relaxed and confident. Granted, you may play characters that display the extreme opposites of these emotions. What matters is that you approach the role with these attitudes. Learning to be relaxed within your role helps you to be a more flexible actor, allowing you to respond instinctively. Being confident helps to you develop your character more fully, even if you are playing a role that calls for a doubtful personality.
Status is a huge part of acting technique. Much of human interaction can be broken down in to shifting issues of status. During the course of a normal conversation, a person's status my shift from high to low, and back again, depending on the topic of the conversation. In order to be an effective actor, these status changes must be replicated on screen or on stage. Be conscious of your body language. What kind of status is your body projecting? You should also take note of the timbre of your voice. Is it clear and confident or low and quavering? These factors help determine your status in a scene, and thereby establish your position and goals within it.
Alexander technique is another way of approaching acting. It involves a complete restructuring of the way your body responds to stimuli, re-realizing how your mind and body integrate through retaining breathing and movement. It was Alexander's belief that breathing and vocalization determine how the body functions as a whole. The technique allows actors to retrain any bad physical habits they may have developed and create more efficient ways of moving and breathing.
A common warm-up acting exercise involves re-naming your surroundings. The point of the exercise is to break down external barriers in the hopes of challenging any inner barriers that you may have. Follow these instructions: Take a deep breath. Choose an object in the room, and rename it. It doesn't have to be a special name, just different. Move on to the next object, rename it, and repeat the new name of the first object. Repeat until you have renamed everything in the room.
The Stanislavsky method, or method acting, is one of the most common acting strategies. It involves studying and living as the character you are portraying. Essentially, with the Stanislavsky Method, you are working to find common emotional experiences with the character. Once those common emotions are identified, you draw on your own experiences of those emotions to fill out your character. In this way the emotions of your character become more genuine.