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Picture of Acting Tips
If you've ever enjoyed a movie, been hooked on a TV show or been moved by a play, you've witnessed the power of acting. This timeless art form of storytelling has come along way from ancient Greek theater and has ignited many lives with its passion. Whether you're a theatrical tenderfoot or a tenacious thespian ( I enjoy alliteration too much) this, my first instructable will provide you with some tips and tricks for better acting.

Drama class is simply amazing, and while I have a few plays under my belt, I have never stopped learning new and wonderful thing about acting. Acting is difficult, rewarding, painful, and in my humble opinion some of the best fun you can have! Hopefully you learn at least a little from my tips. And they are only tips, if you're interested in exploring and establishing a thorough background or knowledge of acting I suggest you search via your preferred web browser.
 
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Step 1: Building a Character

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Watch other people. Don't be a creeper, but seriously spend a day at a mall or park and just observe people and how they go about their merry (or not so merry) lives. You'll soon notice the variety of people and the quirks and mannerisms which really define them. Be sure to see what people do with their eyes and hands as these are very expressive features. Make note of any particular characteristics which strike you, if someone has a particular tick, a jump in their step, or a striking facial expression, then take some time to think about what they did and how you might be able to apply their behavior to create your own particular character.

We are always speaking with body language, often more so than we do with English. What do you think about someone who is always stiff and almost mechanical, or someone who slouches and leans constantly. When a person smiles or laughs a certain way, how do you react? Always realize
that we are constantly assessing one another, moods, status, reputation, esteem (self confidence), intelligence. People certainly can seem wealthier by standing a certain way,
or confident by the way they move through a crowd. How do we know these things? I'm not quite sure, but it just seems to be part of our collective human culture that we associate
certain appearances and actions with traits. A hobo could stand with a posture that make him seem like a king, and a Harvard Alumnus can have a facial expression which makes him/her
seem like a moron.

Keep studying; the more you watch, the more you learn. If anything stand in front of a mirror and practice various poses and expressions and think about how they make you feel and how you would feel seeing someone else doing it.

One key factor that I really find helpful and enjoyable is watching professional actors do their thing. Live theater can a fantastically fun and informative experience. Go see some plays at your local theater or if plays are unavailable, then rent some "classic" movies and just study what the actors/actress do. Don't plagiarize their techniques, analyze how they use their techniques to come across as a "better" actor, body language, voice inflection, volume, etc. Also, be sure to watch "bad" actors, or people who in your opinion didn't do a good job; did they somehow break character? smile or smirk? Look directly into the camera? Try and observe as many examples of both the good the bad to try and asses your personal conception of ways to perform better.

Step 2: C is for Communication

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Unless your putting on a one man show and self directing, chances are you'll be interacting with a bevy of dramatic personae, and believe it or not you're gonna have to play nice. Honestly, I find this the easiest and most rewarding part of any cast. Some of my best friends began as casual cast mate acquaintances. If you're gonna put on a great show, or make a great movie, you're gonna have to interact with your fellow crew.

Simply don't be a jerk and just treat people with respect. Nobody wants to work with an arrogant know-it-all or a timid introvert. I've worked with bad people, funny people, good people, and strange people. Getting to know your cast is essential. If you're cast with your worst enemy, don't sweat, tolerate him/her and treat him/her respectfully so that you can both reach your goal. If you feel that someone is lagging behind or struggling, offer your help and you will both learn something from one another and once again, this will add synergy your performance.

Aside from your fellow thespians, it is also key to communicate effectively with your director. If you're given strict directions--follow them. If your given some improvisational slack--make good use of it. The last thing a director would tolerate is a selfish rebel or a robotic servant. Be yourself, but know when to listen and behave accordingly.

Step 3: Lines!

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It's great to read a script, and many are worthy pieces of literature, but when it comes to your own task of getting those precious lines ingrained in your noggin, nothing is better than hearing them out loud and learning with other people!

Remember: every line is important! Everything from a "Hmmm?" to the longest of monologues exists for a purpose and is included to move the plot along and develop your character. Playwrights and screenwriters do not just put filler dialog to add pages to their script. When reading your lines think about who/what you are speaking to (if anything), your motivation to speak, and the goal of your speech. Its a sign of bad acting to throw away lines into mumbling or by ignoring the motives/tactics/goals of speech by your sheer laziness or ignorance.

BEATS!!!!
Certainly one of the greatest and most essential things to recognize when memorizing and rehearsing a script are beats. Beats are shifts in the intention, motivation, etc. and are key to expressing a character as they truly are. Whenever anyone speaks in their daily conversation, they have beats. Beats reflect character goals and actions and can occur several times in a single sentence or may drag on for a page or two. Go through your lines and mark where you think a beat occurs and recognize how this would affect your performance.

Get Feedback:

Don't pester your friends and family, but if you see one of them in no particularly busy state, politely ask if they would run your lines with you. More often than not they will oblige if you ask them kindly enough. The other person will usually get a kick out of seeing you act, and you both will get some laughs (well in my experience nearly everything can be comedic, so your experience may differ), you will strengthen your memorization of your lines, and have the opportunity to vocalize them in several different ways.

If said family and friends are unavailable or you prefer the hermit lifestyle, then a microphone will be your replacement buddy. Buy a cheap usb microphone or tape recorder and record and listen to your recording. This may be a preferable practice choice as the recordings can be stored for later use and will be helpful in memorization or specific vocalization such as accents or inflections, plus the recording device will never get bored or hungry and leave you to play video games.

Step 4: Self Confidence

Some people have it, some dont. How to get it, and ways not to lose it:

I'm no psychiatrist, and I certainly can't explain the underlying roots of self-esteem, but I can provide you with some lessons that have gotten me this far.

1. Focus on the objective, not the outcome. People are often very self critical of themselves and worry when it is unnecessary. I'll compare acting to life in general; if you spend all your time worrying or thinking about the future, then you're wasting your present; in acting if you spend too much time thinking or worrying about what people will think of you then your performance will suffer. The key here is focus; your objective here is to give the best performance you can, first for yourself, then for others, not the other way around.

2. Learn from your mistakes! Its painful and difficult, but that's life and it can be just as fun and easy as well. I've gotten stage fright, we all do sometimes. It's horrible, it hurts, and you never want that sinking feeling in your stomach again, but we learn from pain. If you ever burnt your hand in a fire or on the stove as a child, then I'm sure you've never intentionally done it again. The same goes for acting. You make a mistake. You suffer the immediate embarrassment. Then you move on and avoid repeating those past mistakes as quickly as would you pull your hands from scalding water.

3. I won't give you a real third or forth bullet point for the sake or your time and my own. I probably couldn't fully explain confidence if I gave you a thousand bullet points, but my final two cents on it are: never back down and never give up, what I mean is that if your desire to act and give a great performance is greater than you fear of failure then you're on the right track. If not, get comfortable and get interested-- if you are only comfortable acting alone then do so until you can do it in front of someone, then do it in front of a group, then do it in front of a crowd, build yourself up step by step. When it comes to interest, you simply have to be motivated. You can't persuade yourself to be a better actor the same way you couldn't persuade a car without fuel to start; it just doesn't happen. If you lack motivation to dedicate yourself, then it will be a real struggle, if not an impossible feat.

Step 5: Miscellaneous Mumbo Jumbo

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Never eat or drink (yes especially booze) right before a performance as this can impair your ability to perform. I wont get into the messy details, but the only thing that should be spewing from your mouth are your lines, not that over caffeinated energy drink/ultra jumbo cheesy spicy fish taco surprise combo which gave you food poisoning. Don't drink alcohol before a performance either, 'nuff said.

Be sure to keep hydrated. I suggest keeping a large water (yes water and only water) bottle backstage to keep your body (most obviously your throat, to prevent coughing and thirst), and mind hydrated.

Be sure to keep well rested. This is a basic given, you are simply less likely to give your best performance if you are tired!.

Keep full. I mentioned previously not to eat right before a performance, which is extremely helpful, but it is also important to not act on an empty stomach. Once again keep some goodies backstage (and be sure to share, the rest of us actors get hungry too ya know). AVOID SUGARY SWEETS! they may be tasty, but the surging and crashing energy levels they may give you during a performance may impair you once again.

AVOID EXTREME SPORTS!! Its not worrying, its precaution! An injury can not only be fatal to you, but to your performance as well. If you get the part and are in the process of rehearsals, then it would be best to leave that mountain bike on its rack in the garage and your rock climbing gear in its bag. Whatever the potentially bone-breaking adventures you enjoy, put them on hold until your performance is complete. Arm casts and crutches cannot be easily worked into scripts and scenes, and either you may get the boot or the production itself may go under because you "just had to" go bare skin diving with sharks you and lost your pinky toe to Jaws. Dont risk it.

Step 6: Showtime!

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Live theater:

Hold for laughs. If you or one of your fellow thespians cracks a joke or performs a comedic action and the crowd chuckles or erupts into laughter be sure to pause a little until they quiet down; this way your lines don't get lost in the sea of noise.

Don't rush when you don't need to. Once I was backstage holding glass of wine my character was drinking, I hurried too quickly for my entry and collided into an unfortunately placed sub woofer, which caused me to spill the drink onto my costume. Thankfully the stain was conveniently unnoticeable on my wine-colored toga, and the sub woofer was unharmed, but I got lucky. Take your time, to avoid injury and possible set damage!

On the spot: If you find yourself in a situation where your cast mate or yourself has forgotten a key line its time to improv! Perhaps the cheapest but fastest way to get someone else back on track is to add a reassuring line , that is if their missed question line was "What are you doing?!" you might fill in the silence with a quick "Are you interested in what I'm doing?" or if their missed line was a statement such as "Wow, she's beautiful" then you might fill the void with "Don't you think she's beautiful?" and if your partner is really drawing blanks then you might potentially have to skip their lines up to a point where someone else speaks so as to maintain continuity. When it come to your own memory loss, always remember to STAY IN CHARACTER. breaking character during a performance is theatrical suicide and you must keep your calm. stay in character and respond in a way that your character would respond not the way you would respond to a situation. Hopefully, you will recognize your cue and the lines will come back and all will not be lost.

DON'T LOOK AT THE AUDIENCE! Unless it is in the script, never look at the audience. You setting is the only location your character is aware of, you, on the other hand are the only one away of all those people staring at you.

Remember, this is a one shot deal, there are no bloopers allowed during a play and no one yells cut.

Filming:

Due to the magic of editing, all your flops and follies can be cut out of the final production, but they should still be avoided for the sake of time. When you're in front of a camera a lot of people are spending time and money to be there, so every moment is precious and you should still strive to do your best every take.

Step 7: Exeunt

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I hope you enjoyed my 'ible. There is a great deal more to learn about acting, but heck, I learned a lot myself and I continue to learn about acting every single day. It takes a lot of time and effort to act, but it is by far very much worth it. Just remember that no great actors are born, they all started somewhere and built themselves up, you can do the same.
SufiyanS6 months ago

Excellent

Aleator777 (author)  SufiyanS4 months ago

Thanks!

PaulineH15 months ago

I completely agree with all of you tips, especially the last one! Keep studying or we must keep on learning on how to act like a professional and many more. Also try to check this https://www.exploretalent.com/acting-jobs for some list of acting jobs. What do you think about it?

abbiehale6 months ago

Thank you for the tips! I’ve learned a lot from it. I really want to become an actress, this helps a lot. Thanks! Also try to check this article guys http://www.exploretalent.com/articles/beginners-guide-starting-acting-career/ . For more acting guides and tips.

RollerBot3 years ago
Is that you in the picture above?
Aleator777 (author)  RollerBot3 years ago
That was indeed my 17 year-old self (My pre-mustache and goatee years)
srobarts3 years ago
Excellent article, the importance of body language never ceases to be underestimated! Watching people is an invaluable way of picking up little bits and pieces for a myriad of characters. It's also a good idea to establish early on when initially learning to act that one of the most important things to realise is that your character is driven by his or her own desires, and not by a desire to simply communicate an emotion to the audience! I cover the issue in the 5 simple steps on my website www.learninghowtoact.com - once again, kudos on an informative piece! =)
Aleator777 (author)  srobarts3 years ago
Yes, absolutely! Thank you for the feedback :)
sjones553 years ago
All what you are saying is common sense to me.. maybe I'm made for acting lol
Aleator777 (author)  sjones553 years ago
That's a good thing! I just tried to cover as much of the basics as possible; it's often the simplest things we overlook when learning a new skill.
bobobob12306 years ago
we use the same pen.
I used the same binoculars O.o
 I now know what happened to my nioculars.. and how i keep getting those pictures of myself..
Omg I have the same pen aswell, I love it.
bounty10125 years ago
Here is an easy way to remember lines: Write them down once, if you cant remember them, then write them down a few more times, and read over them a few times, then once you have to recite them you'll know them. 5/5
This is a great tip that I have tried and it really does help!
shadowfluid6 years ago
Another little tip or four: Be quite backstage. If you must speak, whisper, and try to make your feet roll with your steps. Unless the script instructs or infers that you do otherwise, say your lines a little slowly, (so that the audience and hear clearly and understand every word), and loudly. PROJECT your voice! Also, while on stage, try to think of nothing other than what is going on in the story. Don't ponder on life outside the theater or even what is going on off-stage. Try to think of what your character would be thinking or what you would be doing were you in the scene's situation. This helps you really get into character and makes it less likely that you will zone out thinking of something, sometime, or someone else and miss a cue, line, or action. One last note, unless script or director permits it, avoid rocking back and forth, holding your hands behind your back, or hunching your back while on-stage. these actions subtly imply nervousness, cluelessness, (if that is a word), and an eagerness to get off-stage and back to normal life. Definitely not good qualities for an actor.
Aleator777 (author)  shadowfluid6 years ago
Lol, unless you live in So Cal I doubt it's the same girl :P. Thank you for the additional tips, I knew I didn't mention everything and what you mentioned are essential pieces of advice.
umm... actually, what a coincidence, So Cal is my home! haha! but it doesn't look that much like her in the other photos though. idk.
shadowfluid6 years ago
I swear that short girl in the red T-shirt looks exactly like my friend Cameo in the second-to-last photo. (middle-right)
a_traceur6 years ago
Thanks for your tips! I remember my first play experience. I was trying out for the part of John in the play Peter Pan. And the directors in my tryouts made me try the main role. And i got it! And I ended up using these tips even though i did not even know instructables existed! So these tips are great, especially for memorizing the lines!
Aleator777 (author)  a_traceur6 years ago
Congratulations on the role! I really appreciate the comment because I think this is what this website is all about, and if we manage to help anyone in the smallest of ways then its all worthwhile.
Cooshinator6 years ago
This is a really nice 'ible. I always thought that building a charecter was one of the most important parts of acting. I was going to try out for my school play, but i had cross country at the same time as the try outs and a couple of the practices. I hope you win the burning questions thing. once again: awesome 'ible!
Aleator777 (author)  Cooshinator6 years ago
Maybe you could work something out with your coach, In the past two plays Ive been in there were Cross Country runners, it was a stretch but they never regretted it! thanks Cooshinator.
August Nox6 years ago
I read your article more or less as a guest to this website. After reading it I thought this might be a good place to get tips and information on how to become a better actor. I've just started out with the whole pursuing the acting career. My first intention was to be a model, however I believe I have some issues expressing myself or working with different facial expressions in front of the camera. So in essence I joined Drama in school to help me with that. I explained myself to the drama teacher who understood and I was allowed to skip drama one starting off in drama two. I auditioned for the play at our school and for some reason I somehow managed to land the lead role. The play is "Twelve Angry People" (or a bit of a more diverse "Twelve Angry Men"). While most of what you said doesn't help me, the little bit that does I'll take into essence. I'll most certainly go buy a recording device when I get the chance, and maybe 'spy' a little on a naturally crowded mall.
Aleator777 (author)  August Nox6 years ago
Congrats! and go for it. once again, isnt it all great fun? I'm glad you got a little inspiration outta this, in that case my job is done. thanks August
Ah, you're quite welcome. After all should good work go unnoticed? I believe not.
This is great! I've been in a few plays before, and they're so fun. Great jod explaining everything.
Aleator777 (author)  LuminousObject6 years ago
Thanks for the enthusiastic comment Luminous, and a good "jod" to you too, lol
Whoops! Typing a little to fast there.
I would like to add that you should really read your lines and not paraphrase. If you can record a rehearsal and listen to it for continuity and put yourself in the perspective of someone who has never heard the script. things generally sound a lot better. .
Aleator777 (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
take note everyone who reads this: thank joe, he makes a good point!