5 Ways to Be a GREAT Actor
“Find your light.” This statement can be applied to many different things in one’s life. Like, finding inspiration for a new masterpiece or being the “light of the world.” But as for me, I use this in the literal sense: to find my light on stage.
- Find your character. Many people will tell you there is a secret to acting; this is a lie. Acting is something you feel. You do not necessarily have to possess talent to act. All acting is, is reacting: just in front of an audience or a camera. Instead of you coming up with your own emotions or reactions, your emotions are scripted. That is hard for some people, as they cannot react while using a script. However, the key to acting is to use the script to enhance your own reactions.
For example, when I am cast in a new role at the Factory Theater, the first thing I do is read through the script and find a connection between myself and my character. This connection can be many different things– what they wear or what they say. The last role I was cast in was Lucy from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. She is a very commanding character and, luckily, command happens to be my top strength. So it was easy to get into her character. But my role in Charlotte’s Web was more difficult because I have little in common with a lamb. I eventually figured that since a lamb is a baby sheep, I would just channel my inner child.
One you have your character, everything else will come.
- Listen to the director. Listening to the director is like listening to Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi, when he says “It’s a trap.” Your director gives out key information and blocking cues that you will need to know in order to become successful. There are probably many actors that have not heeded this advice, and I can guarantee you, they are no longer employed.
- Respect your fellow actors. Treat them like an extension of yourself. There may be scenes that you have to do when you have to rely on other actors. For example, in the most recent Factory Theater production, Godspell, Mandy Pennington had to rely on her fellow actors to lift her into the air during her song, “Bless the Lord.” If respect and trust were not present, the scene would not have been able to take place.
Respect yourself. Know when to say no to certain roles. A lot of actors don’t know when to say no. They end up saying yes to something, and in extreme cases, this can end their career. Acting is a tasking activity/job and you must take care of yourself: adequate sleep, diet, etc. Most importantly, determine if it is something you want to dedicate your life to because becoming a good actor means that you will have late nights, long rehearsals, and unbearable stress.
Acting is a passion much like anything else and it’s just like finding your light. Once you feel it, you’ll know.