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MilkyWay's avatar

Any tips on acting/performing?

Asked by MilkyWay (13695points) June 26th, 2011

My acting isn’t bad, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
I know some jellies here do act or have acted in the past.
I’m in the process of building up my own character for a play, something we’re doing in school.
Have you got any tips on acting? It would be really helpful for me.
Thanks jellies :)

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23 Answers

Photosopher's avatar

Get a GREAT head shot!

Joker94's avatar

Read the script a lot, and try to piece together the motivation and emotion for your character in every single scene. Practice in front of the mirror to pick apart what you’re doing right, and what you could improve on.
One thing that helps a lot for me is trying to think of what the character was like before the story begins. Try to think about what your characters actions and beliefs are, and imagine what could have happened to them in the past to make them the way they are. That’s always a good way to get into their shoes.

MilkyWay's avatar

@Photosopher LOL! No camera’s here I’m afraid ;)
@Joker94 Thanks! I’ll try those. :)

aprilsimnel's avatar

Acting is behaving truthfully in an imaginary situation. Remembering that has helped me in my performances.

Photosopher's avatar

No silly, you hire a professional. Don’t d.i.y. an actor head shot.

I shoot hundreds of them every year, for the past 25 years. Working closely with many actor/resses on promoting their career. You should have a few different head shots that are used for different purposes. Some smiling and happy, some dark and moody. You never know what a casting agent will request.

Your head shot is usually the first impression. Casting agents litter their floors, desks and walls with them trying to place the right face with the right role.

Ultimately, you should have a YouTube channel which displays your demo reel. And a personal web site which allows a pdf download of your available head shots. The most successful actors are not necessarily the most talented. Success comes from networking and marketing your product. You are the product.

Judi's avatar

@Photosopher But make sure it looks like you. Nothing pisses a director off more than an actor that arrives at an audition looking nothing like their headshot. (I even have my serial killer headshot lol.)
Best advice I ever got was to find things about the character that you can relate to. You need to be authentic and believable. It’s not about “pretending you’re someone else,” It’s about making the character YOU!

Photosopher's avatar

Completely agree. I specifically tell my clients to do their own hair/makeup for head shots. The casting agent wants to see the same person on an interview that they saw on the head shot. Upon that interview, a portfolio can be presented for more variety of role playing and character studies.

_zen_'s avatar

You are a bit of a Fluther drama queen – ie.

MilkyWay's avatar

Thanks guys! :)
@zen Uhm, wrong thread? :P

_zen_'s avatar

Nope. This is the drama thread.

Photosopher's avatar

I really appreciate the two looks. The no frills goes a long way for serious roles. And the smile is a great first impression shot. Very approachable… In fact, that’s the word I put to the main head shot experience. Approachable is the rule.

Nicely done @Judi

Judi's avatar

That photo shoot was a therapy session lol!

KateTheGreat's avatar

Just humble yourself and don’t let others get to you.

The performing arts are basically 80% drama, blood, and tears and the other 20% is the actual performance. Hahaha.

fundevogel's avatar

Noel Coward advises against a career on the stage. Ironically, I suppose.

MilkyWay's avatar

@fundevogel and @Photosopher I think there’s a bit of misunderstanding here. I’m not acting professionally, as it says in the details, it’s something I’m doing in school.
Thanks for the tips though :)

Jeruba's avatar

I saw a high school student play Lady Macbeth with a passion and conviction that amazed me. Her parents told me that she did all her learning of lines and rehearsing at home behind a closed door; they never saw any of her work on the part until they attended the performance. So they didn’t know how she did it, a mature, complex role like that. They seemed as much in awe as I was.

What I can tell you is that it was clear that the girl understood every line, every word of what she was saying. She had taken it all into herself so that it seemed to come out of her as if it were her own. That’s what I mean by “conviction.” And because of that, she made the words of Shakespeare—language far removed from that of your typical high school students and their parents—deeply understandable. We knew what she meant. We knew what she felt. The character, that is: Lady Macbeth.

No doubt the director had a strong hand in the performance, because there was clearly a single vision behind it, and there were several outstanding character interpretations. But no amount of direction could have transformed that 17-year-old girl into an ambitious, scheming, tormented noblewoman if she hadn’t found that woman in herself.

The play was so good that I went to see it twice.

fundevogel's avatar

@jailbait That wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. Coward was heavily into theater himself and did not go without criticism, sometimes pretty biting. His work is given as an example of what not to do in The Art of Dramatic Writing. Ergi can be a bit of a dick though.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I think that sometimes it is in the small spaces of acting that really connect an actor to the audience. The breath in between two powerful sentences, the moment right before a big scene…

iphigeneia's avatar

I don’t know what methods you’ve already explored in class, but it’s important to consider your character’s objective. Your character must have some sort of goal in every scene, as well as a ‘super-objective’ for the whole play. That means your performance is driven by intent, and your character is motivated. Even if your character’s desires are not clear from the script, you must be sure what they are: it’s an important part of the character development process. If you’d like to do more research, this approach came from the pioneering Russian realist director Stanislavsky.

This brings us to the idea of ‘actions’. To seduce, to appease, to intimidate, to console, etc. Try to find one for every line, and if you experiment with them when you rehearse, I’m sure you’ll discover some new and interesting aspects of your role. The idea of actions is so important; you must know as the actor what your character is really doing.

Also, before you enter a scene, you should have in your mind what your character has just been going through. What have they been doing for the last 10 minutes?

I hope those tips help you for now!

choreplay's avatar

What you really need is a good director and once you have a performance that puts you over the top you will find that is gets easier every time. As to “method” acting….Spencer Tracy once said , ” Remember, Shirley Temple could do it all at the age of five.” Go to every audition you can, find the right song (at least 2, pref. 5) so that you can walk into any audition and sing. Find a monolouge that is YOU! not Lady McBeth, if you are 17 but look young have a teen monolouge ready as well. Look at ‘Member of the Wedding’ for a good older teen. If you look like a young adult , find a 20ish something and leave out the cuss words, it no longer impresses the directors. Again, try to have 2 or 3 that show off your acting chops and be able to pull them out at any time.

I am not just talking out of my ass…I have over 150 shows under my belt and hated acting classes. I have said repeatedly that I am not a great actress but take direction very well. I have a binder put together of just about every song I have ever sung or wanted to sing and monolouges that have fit my personality at every age. I was very lucky to have amazing directors in my teen years and would just sit and listen to them talk and discuss. I think that main thing is to hit every audition you possible can and improve on your own work at those and the roles will come.

MB wife of Seasons of Fall

skfinkel's avatar

Don’t hold back at all. The best actors seem to really fully go where they need to, and are fully engaged, not self conscious. I am sure it is not easy—but it would be one goal.

MilkyWay's avatar

Thank you everyone! ^_^

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