What’s the shortcut?
Once you’re a student of acting, you’re a student for life according to award winning actor Dustin Hoffman. And according to another award winning actor – Jack Nicholson, “the minute you stop learning you’re dead”, so why are there so many aspiring actors who want to take those tempting short cuts (the bare minimum training).
Those in the acting game for the long haul (and what a haul it can be), know there are no shortcuts. They understand what both Dustin and Jack are saying. They know that the learning never ends.
“If you’re interested you’ll make excuses, if you’re committed you’ll do whatever it takes” – John Assaraf
The not so secret, secret to acting
Lots of actors believe that doing their classes each week/day is enough, or that being in productions is enough. Some actors even believe there is only so much training you can do. I have worked with actors with this mindset, so let me share a little secret with you; These actors get to a certain level with their abilities and become stuck. They become limited with the roles they are able to play truthfully. These actors start to churn out bland, vanilla performances that leave you a bit “meh”. They’re not bad, but they don’t excite you either. I’m going to show how to stay away from meh performances and improve your acting in 3 easy steps.
The important three
This doesn’t mean you have to bankrupt yourself paying for an acting coach every minute of every day, I get it; actors eat hand to mouth in the early days. What it does mean is that outside of your training and outside of productions you must take responsibility for your talent. You must do a combination of classes, productions and developing in your own time so you don’t become rusty or limited in your abilities. Missing out any one of those three key elements is risky business and can quickly land you in BLANDLAND.
If you’re stressing that you don’t have enough time in the day for training, I’m going to focus on how you can improve your acting in 3 easy steps whilst you’re out and about on the move, or that can involve family/friends so you can still live a life at the same time (also important for being a healthy, versatile actor).
Improve your acting in 3 easy steps
Each step involves filling up and nurturing your imagination, which is one of three key parts to the craft of acting.
STEP ONE – People watch. As you’re observing people in everyday life (including yourself) notice how they walk, their posture, their clothes. Ask yourself (without placing judgement), why they walk that way, why they’ve chosen those clothes, speak the way they do etc. You can even go as far as creating a backstory for this person. The ultimate way to get your imagination in gear.
STEP TWO – Live life. Experience as much as you can without limitations, so your actors antenna (the little invisible thing at the back of your mind that unconsciously monitors everything), can soak everything up and store it away ready for a performance that needs you to draw upon this experience.
STEP THREE – Learn. Go to museums, watch documentaries, talk to people to fill up your imagination. Learn about how other people live, the things other people/cultures have experienced, learn about the world that came before you and the world you’re living in now. Your imagination will grow the more you do this. You never know when you’ll need to draw upon what you’ve learnt but it all gets stored away just in case…
Did that help? Let me know in the comments box below, or share with your acting friends, it could be just the thing they need!
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning.
NEED MORE INSPIRATION & POWERFUL METHOD ACTING TIPS?
If you found these tips useful, you can grab yourself more completely FREE.
Louise O’Leary is a professional actress, method acting coach and Artistic Director of StandBy Method Acting Studio. Her mission is to help as many actors as she can launch their careers and become the best actor they can be.
Join the hundreds of actors around the world who have downloaded her FREE eBook “Become a professional Method Actor and make it to the top“. Download here and be on your way to a successful acting career!
You can also head over to FACEBOOK to join in the daily conversations, receive inspirational advice and the most powerful method acting tips.
Or if you’d like to work with Louise and join the actors who’ve transformed their acting ability using the word’s most powerful acting technique, you can can change your career by applying here