Becoming a successful actor is no small feat. Fortunately, for those interested in improving their acting skills, plenty of tools already exist that can help you enter the theatre world like a professional. Here’s a look at the top five.
#1 Use a Day Planner
A day planner is perhaps the most powerful tool when it comes to improving your acting. That’s because routine practice is critical to actually building and sustaining your acting skills. If you want to perform like a professional actor, you must treat acting like a profession.
If you have the desire to practice, but it feels like things are always getting in the way, a day planner can fix that. If you have a full schedule and don’t know when you can fit in time to act, a day planner can fix that. If you want to get involved in local clubs, groups, or performances, but you always miss the deadlines and castings, a planner can fix that.
Use your day planner effectively and you’ll be able to manage all of the priorities you have in life, making sure that acting is one of them. When you put acting into your schedule — be it time to practice, find upcoming performances, or go to auditions — you’ll be a lot more productive. No longer will you be struggling to find time for acting; you’ll instead be scheduling your days around acting, just like a pro does.
#2 Record and Watch Yourself Back
You’ve got a day planner to help you practice. Now, how do you make sure that you’re actually making the most of that practice time? One of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal is your camera. Whether it’s on your smartphone, laptop, or a webcam attached to your computer, your camera can reveal a lot of nuances about your acting that you probably haven’t noticed.
Every time you practice, set up a camera and record yourself for the entire session. Then, make sure you’ve set aside time to review the recording in full. Don’t fast forward or skip around — be your own acting coach by analysing your performance. Take notes on what you did well and what you think you need to improve upon.
Practice giving yourself constructive criticism and, when you get the chance, have someone you trust look over the video to give you their feedback.
#3 Buddy Up with an Acting Partner
You can read all the books in the world and spend countless hours practicing in front of your mirror, but no actor acts alone. Ultimately, to become a great actor, you must spend time practicing with others who can help you improve your skills, both in improvisation and in script reading.
Of course, most of us don’t know a bunch of talented actors, or even one. While you can practice with a non-actor, finding a fellow actor to practice with, especially one above your skill level, can do wonders for improving your talents.
Talk to local acting groups to see if anyone’s available or, if you’d prefer, get online and find a virtual acting partner. You can have video calls with your virtual acting buddy on a schedule that works for both of you, allowing you each to practice in front of one another and together, gaining valuable feedback along the way.
#4 Practice, Practice, Practice
You’ve pencilled practice into your schedule, so what’s next? The fact is, actors can never practice too much. However, great practice is about more than going through scenes in front of a mirror or with your acting buddy.
Great actors explore more than just the on-stage aspect of the profession. Actors must be able to do a number of things effectively, like learning how to read call sheets and understanding what would be expected of them on-set at a theatre, television, or movie production.
By looking beyond the “fun” aspects of acting and digging into the finer details, you’ll be able to gain a level of professionalism that impresses both new and seasoned colleagues in the theatre world.
#5 Enrol in a Course
Even if you can’t attend acting classes, the advent of online learning has opened up many opportunities for budding actors who wish to improve their skill sets. Masterclass, Skillshare, and Udemy are just a few examples of online learning platforms that offer courses from professional actors and directors, some for free and some for a fee.
Enrolling in an online or local course is the next step every actor must take when trying to reach a professional skill level. So, if you have hopes to enter the world of theatre with a bang, make sure you’re perusing all the learning options available to you, both online and off.
These courses can teach you an abundance of lessons that will prove valuable in your pursuit of greater acting skills.