Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Social Distancing has our life in its control right now, and while it certainly sucks at times, many people make us of this time to work on things they have been wanting to work on in a long time. So why wouldn't us actors or wanna-be-actors use the time and get ready for what comes next? So here are my Top-10-Tips for improving your acting from the comfort of your own home.
1. Take the extra time to actually read some plays in depth.
Have you ever actually read all those rusty Shakespeare plays in your shelf? Or maybe it's time to get that new one - you've been wanting to get for a while now. Take a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, and dive right into the world of theatre right from the comfort of your own home. Check out last weeks blog post
2. Time for some Netflix and ...
Not much of a reader? - Don't worry the Internet has your back. Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu all have some great plays or Movies to watch, dissect and take some notes on. Working on your acting doesn't always have to be exhausting ;)
Bonus tip: Check out www.broadwayhd.com to watch some of the world most renowned stage acting and musical theatre.
Short on money? - Many theatre companies like the National Theatre or A.Lloyd Webber are releasing whole shows for free right now. e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUDq1XzCY0NIOYVJvEMQjqw https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMvag
3. Work on your voice ...
Whether you aim to work for stage or screen - your Voice is important. There are many amazing exercises you can do right from home.
Here are my Top-5 Book recommendations for working on your Voice:
Free National Theatre course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc-_hoG4nec&t=188s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBoOyCLlCcU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_MvlGKwLh0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRdFtrv2yGA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqU0z_AP5HM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Kj0-a7TAQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pQ_JbzdAb8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXqyl4C1J4&t=275s
Here are some other warm-ups/ exercises I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW08injjI1M https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckv7P7gPR90 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5hS7eukUbQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eub7MzfsbdM
4. Find a scene-partner
Acting comes from interaction, which isn't always easy these days, but worry not: Zoom, Skype and co, allow you to continue working on scenes and keep on training those acting muscles.
Here's a book series I personally love to work with:
It has short one or two pages long scenes, mostly funny or with some kind of a twist and with an equal share of lines and emotional load.
If you don't have a friend to read with you, there are to options record the second character yourself ( I use https://dramaresource.com/line-learner/) or you can practice with Scenebot (https://scenebot.com) where you can get lots of scenes which have one part recorded by a professional actor (also great for finding funny scenes for you and your friends.
5. Learn to be more mindful
Mindfulness is a powerful skill. I'm not gonna go too much into detail, why that is, for today, as you'll find so much on that literally anywhere. Instead, I want to quickly outline what it gives you as an actor.
Firstly, Mindfulness brings you right into the moment, it lets you be grounded and balanced, allowing you to fully embrace your character, without thinking about dinner tonight or your bills.
Secondly, it allows you to develop a greater awareness of yourself, your feeling, your body & your surrounding, all of which are incredibly helpful to form a character.
Lastly, Mindfulness soothes anxiety and stress, something you are most likely to face during audition seasons or before going on set/on stage. If you never tried any kind of meditation I'd recommend starting with a simple body scan, like the one I have linked below on a daily basis.
6. Create a vision board for yourself
When I first learned about vision boards, I was sceptical. Why would someone do that? How should that help with your acting? Isn't it all just a bit spiritual?
The truth is it was probably one of the most powerful exercises I've ever done.
Firstly, it makes you think about your goals, making it specific.
Secondly, this clear image of your dreams sparks your imagination and creates a boost of confidence in yourself going forward in your career. After all, most acting practitioners agree on the power of imagination.
Finally, having your goal hanging on your wall, and looking at it on the daily boost your productivity and perseverance, especially in an unusual time as we are going through right now.
7. Work on your CV/homepage /social media
Acting is an incredible skill but comes with massive competition. Practising your acting requires you to remain competitive and putting your name out there. A good headshot, CV, showreel, website and social media presence is becoming increasingly important, especially with many places doing online auditions. What better time is there to tidy all your materials and credits up, and polish your online portfolio.
8. Practice a new audition monologue
Monologues are a wonderful practice whenever you have to work on your own. They provide you with deep emotional moments from plays or movies and there are plenty of choices. (e.g.: https://www.backstage.com/monologues/)
But not only are they good for individual practice they are also a part of almost any audition - so it's never a bad idea to have a few spare ones memorised. ;)
9. Practice some scene study
When you study acting not all of it is practical, many plays/scripts need to be tackled, and scene study is one of the most important skills for a successful actor. Highlighters and a pencil will be your new best friends. - And the good news is, they are not even affected by social distancing ;)
10. Join a free online acting class
One good thing about this whole drama (pun intended ;) ) is that many people suddenly seem to have the urge to give something back from the comfort of their own home. Hence, you can find plenty of great free opportunities online. I will be hosting a number of Acting lessons, in this weird time, starting on the 05th of April at 2 pm UK time (3 pm European time). More dates and times to be released.
Do me a favour and stay healthy and positive. :)
All the best,
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