5 WAYS TO BECOME A BETTER ACTOR- By David Dean Bottrell
Most actors believe that if they can just get an agent or meet a casting director, their careers will be launched. Sometimes, this is true. However sometimes, young artists force these doors open before their skills are at the level they should be. What they don’t seem to understand is that the best way to compete in a highly competitive business is to bring something very unique to the table. The best way to get the attention of potential employers is to be the kind of actor who is full of ideas and in command of their talent. That maturity can exist in an actor of any age, if they are present and alive in the room. Acting classes are the best way to start, but here are a few other fun and easy things we can all do to become better artists.
1. Pay attention
Acting is an internal process. It requires us to look around inside ourselves, but we also need to become good observers of human nature. If we want to act truthfully, we need to stop and look at how people actually work. Watch strangers. Ask family members to tell you more about their background, their stories. Embrace any eccentrics that come your way. You will be shocked at how much this kind of research and observation will help you in your work.
Each year we spend more and more time reading bits of information on electronic screens. Nowadays, the concept of reading anything longer than a tweet seems like way too much work. Believe it or not, reading uses the same part of your brain that you use to act. It engages your imagination and pulls you into a carefully crafted and emotionally dense world filled with observation and human behaviour. What actor wouldn’t want to know more about that? Read as much as you can. Fiction. History. Biographies. Notice then how it affects your acting.
This is not just about listening to your scene partner. The world is full of music, full of sound. It is full of imagination. Take off your headphones and listen. What do you hear? What are the thoughts, images and emotions that these sounds create in your mind? Try changing the radio station in your car to one that you wouldn’t normally. How does this music effect you? Listen to the news station. How do the latest headlines make you feel? Happy? Sad? Anxious? Angry? Listen, notice and try to be affected by what you’re experiencing.
4. Become a fan
Most actors agree with this, but Netflix is one of the best acting resources on the planet. Watch all the performances of the actors that you love. If there is a certain scene that blows you away, rewind it and watch it again. Ask yourself some important questions. What was it that made that scene so brilliant? What action was the actor playing? What made the scene so moving, funny, or absolutely terrifying? Learn from the best of the best!
5. Live a little
Acting- or the pursuit of acting- can very easily consume your whole life. It’s very easy for something like this to happen. It’s so important to not let that happen. Go out and have some fun. Experience the outdoors. Travel whenever you can and see the sights, let them influence you. Volunteer. Find a hobby. Meet and connect with people you wouldn’t usually connect with. Just try and step away from the world of agents and casting directors and live like an everyday normal individual for at least a little while of every day. Live your life so that when you do book an acting job, you’ll be able to bring a little of that “life” into your work.
The best way to stand out in an overcrowded space is to bring your whole self, every little bit into the game. This whole idea comes from just observing and gathering meaningful experiences and then recreating them in the room (and hopefully again in front of the camera). Although there are many great acting teachers out there that can really transform you into an amazing actor, life is the best acting instructor in the world. In the wise words of that ancient Greek drama-lover, Socrates, “Know thyself”.