If you’re a dedicated actor who wants to take the next step in your career, you may be looking for ways to build upon your acting skills and enhance your performance techniques. Fortunately, there are several ways you can improve your craft—and some of them might surprise you.
Our experienced acting instructors share insight into how you can hone your acting skills and take your technique to the next level.
- Work on Your Voice
So much of acting is intangible, but your voice is one element you can physically strengthen and improve. What do we mean by “voice”? Here are some aspects of your voice to focus on that can help you become a more connected actor:
- Dialects and accents
Being able to control and manipulate your voice can help bring a character to life or even open you up to more potential acting roles. Try to practice voice warm-ups and articulation exercises to feel more comfortable and confident with this powerful acting tool.
- Practice Guided Meditation
According to many meditation experts, guided meditation can be an effective way to improve acting skills. Meditation practices can help actors in several ways, including:
- Center and focus the mind
- Improve breathing for better voice control
- Get deeper into a character’s state of mind
- Reduce stress and calm the nervous system
Studies have found that meditation can actually change the brain to improve cognitive, learning, and memorization skills. Who doesn’t need a little help memorizing those lines, right? The study also showed enhanced areas of the brain that control perspective, empathy, and compassion—all of which can help actors connect with their characters!
- Perform in Front of a Mirror
Running lines or even doing a little improvisation using a mirror can help actors judge their own performance and make changes they may not have tried otherwise. Performing in front of a mirror is also an effective way to improve expressions, understand angles, and discover new ways to embody a character.
- Study the Movies and Shows You Watch
While watching movies and TV shows all day sounds like awesome homework, you should take it a step further and really study them. Immerse yourself in the story and question why actors made the choices they did. How effective were their performances? Is there something you would have done differently? What did and didn’t work? Asking these questions can ultimately help your own acting process.
- Read More Acting Books
Acting books hold a ton of knowledge that can help you understand your craft, the history behind it, and what you can work on to improve your acting skills. If you want to learn more about different acting methods or get insight from successful actors, acting books are a great place to start. These books can also share tips on how to make connections in the industry and what the process might be like for you.
- Expand Your Talents
Actors with natural talent can make themselves more valuable and versatile by adding different skills to their repertoire. After all, there may be roles out there that require an actor to sing, dance or play an instrument. Maybe there’s a casting call for someone who can ride a horse or shoot a firearm.
Think about what types of characters you want to portray and expand your talents in a way that makes sense to land those roles. By being comfortable with those activities, it gives you an edge over the competition and more room to focus on your acting performance.
- Take an Improv Class
If you’re not a comedian or interested in doing comedy, you may question this one. However, taking an improv class is one of the best things you can do to improve your acting skills, no matter what type of actor you are.
Improv classes focus on many skills that can help just about any actor make better choices. Some benefits of an improv class include:
- Learn to be more fluid and playful
- Help with taking direction
- Teaches you to trust your fellow actors
- You’re forced to take more risks and think outside the box
- Improves confidence and creativity
- Focus on Physical Health
While meditation helps actors with mental strength and stability, it’s equally as important to prioritize your body’s mobility as well. Being healthy, flexible, and active can help diversify your qualifications to land more roles that require an actor to be physical.
Also, days on set can be long and grueling. Being in good health can help you cope with the demands of the industry and the physical toll it can take on your body.
- Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
No matter how small the role or how many lines you may have, it’s crucial that you rehearse. Learn your lines and run them with a partner. Re-read your script and look for subtleties you may not have noticed on the initial read. Know your lines like the back of your hand and rehearse as often as you can. When you do these things, the more confident you’ll feel and the more you can bring to the table.
- Understand That Every Job Is a Learning Opportunity
Never take an acting job for granted. There are valuable lessons to be learned on set—and not just from other actors. Absorb the atmosphere. Learn the lingo and familiarize yourself with the different types of people around you. You can learn so much about the process by choosing to be present and grateful for the opportunity.