Acting Guru - Answering Questions About Acting Tips

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Do you have any tips for memorizing a monologue?

Memorizing a Monologue...By Hand

Actors have different methods for memorizing monologues. Here is one suggestion that many actors use to really get the words of a monologue to stick in their minds. Try hand-writing your monologue! The time it takes to write our every word, and the concentration you give to the task, will inevitably burn the words of the monologue into your mind. It may seem time-consuming, but a few hours of hand-writing your piece over and over again can prove verys useful in the memorization of even the most difficult monologue.

Our theatre class is doing a project where we present a comedic monologue and a dramatic monologue. I just can't seem to find plays I like. Any suggestions?

Finding Monologue Material

Searching for "the right" monologue is like finding a needle in a haystack for many actors. Although you should thoroughly know and understand the play from which your monologue is taken, there's no rule that says you have to LIKE it. Remember, you're not putting on an entire production, you're reading a small portion from one character. Therefore, your only task is to find a CHARACTER you like. For beginning actors, the best thing to do is find a character that resembles your personality. That way, the emotions will come more naturally.

Can I start a career as actor later in life?

Adults Acting

One of the best things about starting a career as an actor is that you don't have to start early in life. In fact, many child actors do not continue in the acting field due to their looks and/or goals changing as they age. Keep in mind that actors represent all walks of life...including older people! If you are interested in becoming an actor, the easiest way to begin is to take scene study or monologue courses. Almost every major city has repuatble instructors to help you begin to hone your craft.

I have been acting for eleven years and am looking to change agents for the first time. Any advice?

Moving From One Agent to Another

Sometimes in an actor's career, it makes sense to change to another agent. This can be because your current agent is not sending you out on auditions enough, or because the auditions s/he sends you to are not appropriate for you. Should you decide to end your contract with your current agent, do your best to have another agent lined up ahead of time. Be sure to choose one who will better fit your needs as an actor. (In other words, don't make a lateral move from one agent to another.) When it comes time to leave your representation, always be as diplomatic as possible.

Would I be a good actor?

The Big Question

If you're wondering what it takes to make it in the acting field, you need to ask yourself one very important question before you begin: Why do you want to be an actor? If you answer is that you want to be rich and famous, you should stop right now. Like any art, acting takes hard work and passion for the craft. The business can be gruelling and almost always involves a lot of rejection. There are thousands of actors who work constantly, but are never known by name. They keep at their art because they love it. If you are going to become an actor, so should you.

I would like to take acting lessons in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles - any advice?

TVI Actors Studio

If you are looking for a great resource for actors in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, why not try TVI? It's a great place to take classes inexpensively, at times that are convenient for you. Plus, you will get opportunities to meet professionals in the industry as well as agents. Hone your skills, get new headshots, make new friends!

What is the trick to being able to cry on the spot while acting?

Crying in Character

Hardly anyone needs to cry on cue anymore. It's a skill that comes easily to some actors, but if it doesn't for you, you dont' need to worry. Even Oscar(r)-winning actress Helen Hunt says she's terrible at it. When she has to cry on-screen, it takes her time to prepare alone in a room before she can work up the emotion. On stage, you have no need to worry, since your audience is not close enough to see you. What is most important is that you stay in the moment of the scene, and act from your heart during that scene. You'd be surprised; the tears may come naturally!

I have been accepted into two drama schools: one for musical theatre and one for acting. As a singer, which should I attend?

Music Theater Schools vs. Dramatic Acting Schools

If you are a musical theater actor, choosing the right school for you can be a difficult task. You need to ask yourself where you want your career to go. Do you want to work exclusively in musicals? Do you want to be flexible enough to do both musicals and dramatic acting? Once you have answered this question, your choice will be clear. Musical theater schools offer a very specific education, which is invaluable for those who envision a life in musicals. Flexibility can be obtained if you attend a dramatic school. Here, you can study dramatic acting while still improving your musical skills through the assistance of a coach or music instructor.

What material should I prepare for an international audition?

International Audition Material

When competing with other actors from around the world -- whether for a school or a grant, etc. -- it's best to keep your monologue choices simple. Traditionally, you should select a both classical and a contemporary monologue. Classical monologues date before the 20th century. Monologues from Moliere, Shakespeare, and Aristophanes are excellent choices. Contemporary monologues can be chosen from any modern play, from Arthur Miller to Tony Kushner.

Recently in college we had been learning to cry at will, but I'm not very good at it. Any advice for crying on cue?

Crying on Cue

Being able to cry on cue is one of the most difficult aspects of acting. Each person has a different technique. The most important thing is to prepare yourself before your scene. Think of something that makes you sad -- or even happy! Sometimes remembering a tender moment in your life can make you cry. But when the scene time comes, you need to stay in the moment; the pressure to have to cry will overshadow the power of your scene.

Do you need acting classes before going to an audition?

Classes Before an Audition?

Many up-and-coming actors will schedule one-on-one sessions with their acting coaches before an audtion. Getting focused assistance before an audition is very helpful, particularly if the role is a big one! In general, however, most actors don't need to take such measures. General knowledge of audition technique and the material you're being asked to perform will suffice.

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Joe Wallace