Do you need to act for a school play or project? Do you have big dreams of acting on the big screen? If so, you will need to master the basics of acting. Take the initiative! Read on for some tips on how to take control in any setting.
Part 1 of 4: Pinpointing Character Traits
Step 1. Come up with your character's background
Many actors will recommend that you come up with a secret that only you know and give your character strength. This technique is completely legitimate and worth a try. In addition to the secret, know your character inside and out. Make him a real person, not just a name on paper.
- What do you like to do in your free time? Who are your friends? What makes you happiest? How do you think inside? Where do you buy your pants? What is your overview of the world? What is your color and your favorite food? Where do you live?
- Do your research on the character, if it is based on a real person. If not, find out about the time period in which he lived, where, and the historical events that surrounded him.
Step 2. Ask yourself why
Knowing what motivates your character will make everything fall into place. Analyze the whole scene, but look for a motivation for each part and each scene. Does your character have a driving motivation? What happens to their interactions? The answer is "yes", so you must find it.
Generally, all of this is in the script. If not, the director will clarify it with his concept. Take the first scene you appear in and analyze what you want to achieve and how you will accomplish it. The result should be two things: Something simple like "acceptance" or "reaffirmation" followed by "getting my friend, lover, or enemy to do X or Y things." Once you have this, let your emotions flow
Step 3. Study your linesTo gain confidence during your performance and focus on your character, you will need to learn your lines as best you can. When you feel nervous, you may forget your lines or have difficulty pronouncing them. To avoid stuttering on stage, learn your lines so well that you can recite them in your sleep.
- Read your dialogues every night. When you get the hang of them, start trying to recite them to yourself and test how far you can go without looking at the script.
- Practice the dialogues with a friend or member of your family doing the part of the other characters. In this way, you will also memorize the context of your dialogues and when you are supposed to say them.
If someone makes a mistake, you can cover it up
- Practice your dialogue the way you want to deliver it on stage or in front of the camera. Experiment with different ways of interpreting for each of these contexts until you find the one that feels most comfortable and authentic.
Step 4. Write about the script
Even if you have to spend time erasing afterwards, writing annotations in your script will help you immensely. Develop your own annotations system that only you understand.
- Write the pauses or accents. These can be noted with a line between words or phrases. Seeing the line between a phrase will give you a clear signal to slow down. Pauses are as important as words. Remembering this is essential for effective execution.
- Write the feelings. In a single paragraph you can find four general motivations. You can start off angry, explode, and then try to regain control. Write emotions (or any cues that serve as a reference) over the phrase to help you evoke the best possible interpretation.
- Write your reactions. That's right, you should also make annotations about the dialogues of others. After all, if you're on stage, probably at least one person in the audience will be watching you, even if you're not talking. How do you feel about what they are saying to you? What do you think about it as you marginally observe the scene? When you decide, write it down.
- Write down your volume prompts. There may be one or more dialogues that need to be pronounced much louder than others or keywords that need to be accentuated. Imagine your script as a musical score with crescendos, decreases, and accents.
Part 2 of 4: Developing Movement and Voice
Step 1. Relax
Take a deep breath. Many people find it helpful to do this while tensing their entire body and holding it that way for a few seconds. Then just relax all of your muscles. Another effective method is to take in air for 4 seconds, hold it for another 4 seconds, and then release it for another 4 seconds. This process will produce a general relaxing effect.
Step 2. Become aware of your body
There are complete techniques and specific classes dedicated to movement for actors and this has its reasons. These will help you to take advantage of the "space" you have in the best way according to your abilities, as well as to take control of the stage. The performance is reflected not only in your voice or your face, it occurs in all planes.
Feel free to give your character particular traits. Do you walk with a slight limp from a war? Does she constantly play with her hair? Do you have a tic in your leg? Do you play with your fingernails? All of this doesn't have to be in the script! Think about how your character would behave in everyday life. How do you envision it sitting in a waiting room? What could you find yourself doing?
Step 3. Project your voice.
Speak louder than you normally would so that everyone can hear you and the camera can capture the sound. There is nothing more irritating than being in the audience and understanding only a few words.
- Don't talk wild, just make sure your voice is projecting and you're not mumbling or speaking in a muffled voice to the other actors.
- If you are in a presentation, you want to make sure that the people in the back of the auditorium can hear you, so stand up straight, project your voice, and make sure to focus slightly on the audience. You don't want to talk to the back wall of the stage.
- Don't speak too fast. This usually muddles your words and it will be more difficult to understand what you are saying.
Step 4. State the words
When you are on stage or in front of the camera, you should pronounce your words clearly and make sure that all sounds are well defined. This is especially important in word endings, which are easily scattered and lost acoustically.
- Make sure all the consonants are present. This will slow down your pronunciation speed enough for everyone to understand you.
- Don't go overboard with your enunciation, as this can make you sound fake. You want to make sure your voice is clear, but not over-acting. If you're not sure you're overstating the words, check with the director or your acting partners.
Step 5. Speak like your character
Even if your character does not have an accent, there are other aspects of his idiolect that you can consider that may not be in the script. Take into account their age, race, social class, beliefs, and income.
In a review of the recently re-enacted play "The Pajama Game" a writer said that the main character had done very well… except that he was not credible. It was a simple Midwestern girl who mispronounced the word "anyone." Avoid this being your case and analyze the dialogues of your character
Part 3 of 4: Acting
Step 1. Let your emotions out
This should not be highlighted. Unfortunately, in large part due to the influence of Keanu Reeves, it must be done. As an actor, you need to portray certain emotions and make sure that the audience can see what you are feeling, both on stage and in front of the camera. Use your own emotions to tune in to those of your character.
- Find an emotion within you that equates to what your character would be feeling. Did your mother die? All right, so thanking your mother for not having died, remember when your pet died and how bad you felt. You cried for days. Tune in to it. The audience will not know what drove you, they will only perceive that you are devastated and will probably relate it to the dialogue that is presented in the context (if only they knew …).
- Manipulate the tone of your voice. If your character is angry, you can make your voice sound louder and less controlled. If your character is upset or nervous, raise your voice in pitch.
- Use gestures and body language to express emotions. Don't just stand with your arms stiff at your sides. If the character is angry, wave his hands and stomp. If the character is sad, hunch his shoulders and bow his head. Use logic.
Step 2. Take the hits
Never, never, never, never, never accept that you have made a mistake. Never, never, never, never, ever. Were there "never" enough to make it clear? Don't let the audience know. If you don't let him find out, he won't.
- If you are dancing or moving, do not lower your face. Trust can be deceiving. Keep smiling. Smile because you are the only one who knows.
- If you messed up a dialogue, stick with it. The only people who have memorized the dialogue are on stage. Go back to the point you need to continue the dialogue. If the other actors are as professional as you, there will be no problem.
Step 3. Get in the moment
From the moment you take the stage, you will leave behind your romantic conflicts, money problems or general exhaustion. All of this is off stage. You only find yourself in the moment that is being created on stage.
If you are going through a problem during the presentation of a play, use it as a loophole. The theater should relax you, not add burdens. Use this moment to become someone else and leave your problems (and attitudes) at the front door. You can resume them a few hours later if you wish. Stop your thoughts and begin to actively listen and place yourself in the moment. The audience will perceive if you don't
Step 4. Don't suspend the character's performance
If you forget everything, just remember that you have to be your character without being yourself again. Child actors tend to be jokers, resist the urge to laugh in Juan's shorts that you must now use as a rag at the bar, and be the best bartender this side of the Mississippi.
If an unforeseen mishap occurs on stage, stick with your performance and react the way your character would react. Gun didn't work? Well, good thing you have this knife that the audience can't see from their side of the auditorium! The gun sound man fell asleep and is likely to be fired
Step 5. Stay positive
Sometimes worrying about making mistakes or the reactions of others can hurt your mental state. If you are enjoying it, the audience will perceive it and enjoy it with you.
- Take criticism without getting involved. If the director tells you to do something in a different way, don't take it as a personal insult. Take it instead as an opportunity to improve your performance.
- Your performance improves and is more natural if you are having fun rather than stress. By being positive and releasing tension, you will be able to take on your character more easily.
Step 6. Free yourself of your inhibitions
Practice relaxation exercises, play your character and stop worrying about how others will perceive you. You are not doing it because it creates anxiety! You do it because it feels great.
Look in the mirror and repeat: “I am no longer me. Now I am (your character's name)”. You are no longer you, so you should not worry about what they think of you. Remember that when you do something, the audience is not looking at you, they are looking at your character
Step 7. Learn when is your time
You must be aware of your moment to enter the stage or enter the scene. There will be a lot of trouble if you lose your ticket (besides the voices in your head). When your entrance approaches, you should be waiting in your section (or out of shot on camera), assuming your character with the appropriate props.
- Go to the bathroom before the play starts. You don't want to miss your ticket because you were out in the bathroom due to a nervous urge or eating something.
- Listen carefully to your input. So you think you know when to enter, stay tuned and listen carefully to the scene in progress. Don't get distracted or talk to other people.
- If there is an emergency and you need to go to the bathroom or run to your car, let someone know so you think you'll be back in time for the scene. HAHA. Did you understand That was a joke. Good year? Okay, emergencies do happen, but unless someone has died or your stomach is about to explode, you should watch out for your entrance. You will not need to tell others that you should run away immediately, they will probably notice.
Step 8. Be aware of your position and surroundings
If you are in a presentation or in front of the camera, you must know your spatial location. Simply put, "find the focus" and stick with it. It is there to enlighten you.
- As you speak, project yourself slightly towards the audience. You must ensure that the public can see you and hear your voice, as well as make it credible that you are having a conversation. If the director tells you that you are very closed, move 90º (a "quarter" of a circle) outwards.
- If you're on set, don't look directly at the camera unless you're on an episode of "The Office" and the director instructs you to do so. Talk to the other actors and interact with the environment as your character would.
Part 4 of 4: Working with colleagues
Step 1. Listen to the director
The director knows the general outline of the production, so he or she will know what they are talking about. Take their criticisms or suggestions seriously. If he wants you to do something that you don't make sense of, do it.
- Follow the scenographic directions and incorporate them when you are rehearsing your dialogues. With this in mind, if you don't understand why, ask! You don't want to walk across the stage without knowing why the hell you're doing it. The director will love that you try to understand your character.
- Ask questions (before your manager says anything) if you are unsure about how to do something. If you are not sure how to react to something or how to say a dialogue, do not be afraid to ask the director. You will generally have a clear idea of what you are looking for.
Step 2. Don't become a diva
Remember that acting is not just about you and that all production is a group effort. How would you be without the rest of the actors, props, technicians, and costume crew? Naked and alone on a poorly lit stage, that's how you would be.
If you have the lead role in a production, don't think that you have the most difficult role. Calm down and get out of your fairy tale. Try to operate an entire group, or the sound and the light control panel simultaneously for a presentation. What if the sound operator gets mad at you? He will not reproduce the sound of your gun. Haha. So be cordial, they can consecrate you or spoil your presentation. In the team there is no one more important than another
Step 3. Act and react
You can get it right in every dialogue, but if you are not listening to the other person who is conversing with you, it will not work. Maybe the other actor took a completely different direction and now the scene is more passively heated than intense and raging, you have to keep up with the scene, and follow it wherever it goes. So act, yes, but react to the same extent.
Read your dialogues with your acting partners and practice. Even if you have learned your dialogues perfectly, you must work the scene with the others and the way to pronounce the dialogues. You must interact with your peers, not just say your lines. Have fun and experiment with them! That's the fun of acting
Step 4. Engage the audience
Although you are not technically supposed to communicate with the audience (at least in most productions), they are there. You must work with them. Do not forget that the fact that they are there is positive. What's more, it's great! Feed on their energy. There is nothing like it.
When the audience laughs or claps, give them time to express their affection. It's not about waiting for a minute, but it does manage the timing of the scene. Let the dialogue drop for a bit before continuing. Feel where they are and where you need to go with the scene. This may seem abstract, but as you get more experience it will make more sense
Step 5. Show kindness and camaraderie
You must seek a rapport with your work team and show them that you value their work. They work as hard as you!
- Wish your acting partners good luck and let them know when you think they've done a great job. Say "Break your leg!" before going on stage and "You did great!" when they are done.
- Thank the team members for their hard work. For example, if you had a very good makeup artist, you can say "I really liked the work you did. It was impossible to look more like the character!"
- Focus on a stage in your life where you have had an emotional reaction to evoke your character's emotional response. For example, if your character is very sad, you can focus on a moment when you had to sacrifice your pet or a close person died.
- Study actors you admire. You can watch videos of your favorite actors and listen to their advice. Write down those that inspire you and try to incorporate them when you are practicing.
- Ask others to criticize your performance. Directors sometimes offer private classes to help you improve.
- Warm up before starting a performance. You can do simple breathing exercises to help warm your throat and wiggle your body a bit to help eliminate shaking before entering the scene.
- If you are still building your character, watch the people. You can observe strangers or people you know and choose habits and gestures that you would like to incorporate into your character.
- Remember to breathe regularly when you are on stage or in front of the camera. This can help you relax and deliver dialogue more clearly.
- If you suffer from stage fright, practice in front of your family many times to get used to the crowd.