Good looks and charm won’t help if you can’t recite your lines correctly and act convincingly. So many actors believe that all they need is to meet an agent or casting director to soar their acting career – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What they fail to understand is that to rise in this competitive niche you have to bring something unique on the table. That is where you need to develop your skill and become a better actor.
As any talented actor knows, the path to becoming the best performer is a never ending journey. Life withing the entertainment industry is not easy, it will demand most of your time, personal, space and the rejection after rejection of roles. There are times when you’re working hard to get that role only to find out that you didn’t get it. How you deal with this situation will define who you are as an actor. So with this in mind, here are five tips to help you become a better actor.
- Stay up to date. Stay current with the latest movies, television shows, theater plays and the like. There are a lot of things you can learn from watching and observing how the professionals act – not just the veterans but also those who are new in the industry. Take note of the actor’s movements and be their critic. Write a list of what you observed, what you liked, did not like and research them, what else have they been in, who represent them etc…
We all have our favorite actors, so use this as a start to keep yourself updated with the craft. A great way to start is by viewing the cinematography of your favorite actor. It will probably have the films you are already familiar with, but take some time to watch it again as you may discover things that you have missed before. Then create a list of movies to watch. Pick a few from his oldest work to his most recent. Also try to find movies in which your actor play roles that he or she is not usually cast as.
Have a pen and paper ready and take notes while watching these movies. Note the scenes which you feel most engaged or captivated by your favorite actor’s character. Then when the movie is over, go back to those scenes and reconstruct the reason why you are captivated or engaged at those scenes. This is simple but it a nice start in becoming a better actor, it is making you more focused and observant.
Pay attention to the following:
Movement and body language
Eyes – eye contact and expression is key
Voice and enunciation
energy and direction
Unique character traits
Repeat the above step but this time with the sound muted. Pay attention to the small gestures, and micro facial expressions. These things make up the character’s style and technique. With all the information gathered, imitate your favourite scene in front of the mirror or do a self tape. Take note of your movements, gestures, breathing, accent, and so on. This is a great way to experience acting from someone who is very experienced in this field. The goal is to not imitate them, but to develop your own style and method through learning from example.
- Listen. To become a better actor, you must listen!! Good acting is natural and it goes along flawlessly on the script. This means that you don’t just wait for your cue – listen to what your co-actor is saying so that you can act to it naturally. This involves a lot of practice and you’ll get better in time. But if you haven’t landed an acting gig yet, the best way to practice is to talk to people. Listen attentively, look into their eyes when talking, and observe their body language and emotions. You’ll not just be a better conversationalist, but practicing this skill in your everyday life can easily benefit with the way you say your lines.
Want to improve your acting fast and again to be a better actor, all you have to do is genuinely listen. Speak only when you absolutely need to. acting is about reacting and listening, so just listen. But don’t just hear what they are saying, feel what its like in your body to really absorb what is being said to you, when you genuinely listen to your acting partner you will respond accordingly, in the right emotion and timing. Find your physical, mental, and emotional state to what’s being said. Practice this.
- Read. Nowadays, reading to some is more like a chore than a benefit. We are engulfed in the world of digital media displayed in our electronic screens that if it’s more than 150 characters, most of us tend to skip reading. Reading has many benefits especially if you want to be a better actor. Through reading, we develop a more critical way of thinking. Reading helps improve our memorization skills, improves our vocabulary and knowledge, improves focus, concentration and analytical thinking. The fact that reading uses the same part of your brain that you use to act means that reading a thing or two everyday can highly improve your acting.
Being talented is great, but being ignorant of your craft is not so great. A good start is to read plays you have never heard of. Make it a mission that you do that each week. By reading plays each week, you are discovering new playwrights and learning about their unique style.
But don’t just read. Take time to process, think and reflect the word you’re looking at. This method is known as deep reading. Your goal is to not finish the book as fast as you can, but to slow down and understand what the words means. Reread the page or paragraph if it doesn’t make sense at first, then let that sink in. The first and obvious benefit of deep reading is that you’ll get more out of what you are reading. You’ll understand more, see more, and feel more. This of course, translates to what you can achieve as an actor. The more you understand each words, the more you are able to translate what your script is trying to convey.
- Take Care of Your Body. If you’re not physically fit, how else can you land a job? Anyone of regardless if you’re physically fit or not can become an actor. However, to land a job fast you have to be in with what the people need. Other than your acting skill, your body is what agents and casting directors usually prioritize. That doesn’t mean that you have to be as fit as Zach Efron or as chiseled as Dwayne Jhonson, but enough for you to stand out from the rest and be noticed immediately. So take some time for a few workouts a day to improve your physique, this also great for you mentally.
You might think that this is simply because actors or anyone in the film industry stay in shape because they want to look good and be idolised on screen. This is not always the case. A body that is physically fit can play many different characters or roles. Your physical capability also defines your role, So if you can’t run more than a hundred meters, the chances of getting a major or lead role for an action film is slim.
To become a better actor, you need to be as fit as you can possibly be. You don’t need to be thin nor bulky. The goal is to be flexible, strong, and have a lot of stamina as you know, acting is not all about memorizing and saying the lines, you have to be involved and be in character. Acting involves long days of repetitive motion. This is hard on your body that even the healthiest actors take a lot of abuse during their acting career. A twelve to 15 hour shoot is normal so if you are unable to handle long hours of acting, you won’t be able to survive in this industry.
With all that hectic schedule, you need to rest from time to time. Rest as your body needs a break from all of this. Relax, meditate and take a nap. You’re no good if you’re always sick.
- Talk to People, networking is key! when on set, waiting around, if you are an extra or at a networking event, get talking. Even if it’s just a simple “Hello” or “What a lovely day we’re having” to people you see at your bar or a person beside you. The more you interact, the more you’ll improve your networking skill, get yourself out there.You never know who you will be networking yourself to; people who or might know someone in the acting industry.
If you want to be successful and to become a better actor, working on your craft should be your number one priority, but believe me when I say that talent is not enough. You have to know how to network yourselves to people.
To network means to build relationships with industry professionals who might be able to help. These are the ways to do that:
One way to talk to people is by being on line. Social media is such a powerful and effective tool that you’ll be left behind if you don’t know how to use one. So many actors, directors, and people of the film industry have their own social media accounts may it be Twitter and/or Facebook. Follow them and engage with them as much as you can. When you’ve build relationships, you can even directly land a job through social media.
Don’t just be involved with the industry you are at. Sometimes, your neighbor may know someone in the film industry but you just didn’t know it yet. That’s because you didn’t take the time to make friends with them. Usually the most authentic and organic method to meet professionals in the industry without them having to veer away from you the moment they see you is meeting them in a relaxed, unstructured setting.
Once you meet and connect with someone, be in touch regularly. Be in the pulse on what your network is up to. Greet them on their birthdays, congratulate them when they are promoted or have receive any kind of award. Reach out to them not just when you need them, but whenever you are needed the most – that is when you are with them through thick and thin.
Don’t ask for anything. The key to building relationships, especially with industry professionals is to not ask for anything right of the bat. This type of behavior is usually the ones that professionals stay away from. They usually see this as a rude behavior especially in a social setting.
Remember that not all relationships pay off. So don’t be sad when you don’t get the job. Simply network to as many people as you can so that you’ll have higher chances of getting the job. Your ability to talk to people and make friends can do a big role in not only becoming better, but also to your career.
Acting isn’t all about how you say the lines, being the right character, and being in the moment. If you can’t land a job then all these would be useless. To survive in this industry, you have to be physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for everything that may come your way. From handling your first job, to being the next big thing and to losing it in just a blink of an eye, you need to be prepared. And a good preparation is to aim to become a better actor right from the start. These are just some of the few things you can do to become a better actor. While they may seem simple or pretty obvious these have a huge impact to your career especially if you do it regularly.
If you wish to develop your skills to become a better actor, then get in touch and join one of our acting classes today http://reelscene.co.uk