Acting is a craft that cannot be rushed. The director of Acting Out! UNCSA’s community actor training program, Janine Hawley, an associate professor of voice in the School of Drama, offers these acting pointers for beginners but cautions that there is no substitute for perseverance and commitment to the craft.
She gives acting advice and her rules for success—for acting, auditions, and life in general—drawing from her experience teaching actors of all skill levels, from amateurs to seasoned pros.
- TAKE ACTING CLASSES.
Even though it might seem obvious, acting classes with experienced teachers are the ideal place to start, according to Hawley. Take acting classes that emphasize sound acting techniques and a progressive approach.
ACTING OUT! CLASSES
Don’t undervalue the importance of technical learning and practice either. The actor will be allowed to use their imagination when developing a character genuinely if they are knowledgeable about the art and how to use the tools that comprise the craft.
- KNOW WHAT YOUR CHARACTER WANTS.
Get to know your character if you want to play a role well, advises Hawley.
An actor must be able to portray an aim, which is what a character wants, according to Hawley. “Consider what the character needs to do to achieve their goal after defining their goal clearly. The action the character is taking is crucial. The text contains hints about that, but the performer will also need to use their imagination.
- READ THE ENTIRE SCRIPT.
MULTIPLE TIMES, HAWLEY SAYS.
It is crucial to read the complete play from which a scene or monologue is drawn numerous times, advises the author because most young performers will focus on scenes or monologues. Research the universe of the play—the historical context, period, and location—so that you can embody it. Look up phrases, expressions, characters, and new circumstances that are new.
It is crucial to read the complete play from which a scene or monologue is drawn numerous times because the majority of young performers will work on scenes or monologues. To further embody the world of the play, look up unfamiliar words, phrases, persons, and circumstances as well as the play’s historical background, period, and place.
Create a backstory to fill in the blanks when the script is missing information. An actor must first corroborate the playwright’s descriptions of the events before expanding on them. The givens frequently contain facts, and there could also be suggested details that need to be taken into account while creating a job.
- FINE-TUNE YOUR INSTRUMENT.
Your body serves as your instrument when acting. Develop abilities that will enable you to adjust that instrument.
For an actor, voice work is essential to ensure that their instrument develops healthily and is related to their core, according to Hawley. She continues, “Movement abilities are equally crucial because the actor’s complete body is their instrument. The authenticity of the character will be improved by understanding how to utilize the physical being to support character traits.
“Skills like singing, dancing, juggling, stage combat, etc., can all improve an actor’s employment potential and should be studied. If done effectively, acting may be applied to any skill!
- DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
Hawley contends that performers should spend their downtime pursuing activities that bring them joy. “Live life, travel, investigate, and learn. Life experiences are priceless to draw from when studying characters, and they also help to develop a well-rounded person.
- BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.
Hawley emphasizes constantly putting your best foot forward when it comes to auditions (and professional encounters in general).
She advises, “Present the most endearing version of yourself.” “Make sure the interviewers get a sense of the applicant’s personality as well as just what they can do. As odd as it may seem, if an actor can win over the audience members by making them like them as a person, they will overlook the actor’s need for something from them, such as a job, a position, or a place in college.
“I am aware that candidates that have a sense of humor and enthusiasm for their work will be valued by me when I am sitting behind the hiring table. The auditioners want to see if the actor will be a positive person to work with since they genuinely want them to succeed, thus it is crucial to be personable, professional, and pleasant.
- BE DEDICATED, DISCIPLINED, AND CURIOUS.
It’s crucial to invest time in your trade, according to Hawley. “Practicing for at least an hour every day can help you become more focused and disciplined. The most difficult skill to perfect is a craft. There aren’t many ‘instant’ actors in reality. Perfect one’s skill typically takes a lot of time and effort.
According to her, that effort can be expressed in a variety of ways. “Seek out other actors, and discuss plays with them. Work on scenes, write, socialize with designers and artists, and collaborate creatively with like-minded individuals. Never cease being curious about the world, your work, and the relationships between them.
- THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR.
Hawley’s final acting suggestion is to create your possibilities in the arts and get engaged in your neighborhood.
Actors’ ability to produce their work is becoming increasingly vital in today’s theatre, according to her. “Entrepreneurship is a crucial talent for self-marketing. As tacky as it may sound, we are our product and must be able to “sell” that product.
“I support utilizing art to improve the world, and I encourage our kids to look for chances to be artists as members of their communities,” the speaker added.