When they take the stage, some people have the almost magical ability to immediately capture the attention of the audience. These people are such good actors that they transport you effortlessly into their world and completely captivate you. This article explains how to become an actor and how to fascinate viewers by conveying strong emotions.
Part 1. Prepare for the role
1. Go through the scenario.
First, go through the scenario quickly by reading it completely. To be completely in character, you need to know the lines of all the other actors, not just your lines. You should also have an excellent overall vision of the play or film. Soak up the text and the story. To learn how to quickly memorize text, you can check out this article. Later, you will usually have an actor reading with the author.
- Once you have gone through the scenario for the first time, reread it in detail at least twice, focusing more on the character you are going to have to play.
2. Ask yourself questions.
To understand your character, you need to not only dig deeper into the reading, but also the context while putting yourself body and soul in their shoes. While some details may seem trivial at first glance, they can actually give you valuable insight into the character and personality of the character you are to play. Always be in contact with the director and the author in order to know their exact vision of the film and the specific characteristics of your role. Never hesitate to call them and communicate with them by Skype or any other means. The first 3 questions you need to ask yourself are as follows.
- Who am I ?
- What are my origins?
- Why am I here?
3. Define the character’s purpose.
In all the films and in all the plays, each character has a reason for existing and a goal. Try to understand these points as early as possible. It could be making a girl (or boy) like you, saving the universe, or finding something to eat for your child. Whatever goal you have, you need to determine it exactly as soon as possible in order to play well. This desire or this “mission” will strongly determine the characteristics of your role and fuel them.
- Sometimes a character’s purpose can change over the course of the story. You should be fully aware of this change. It is usually associated with a poignant scene.
- Take a cue from the movies and actors you like. In the Wachowski brothers movie The Matrix, the main character is initially preoccupied with his job as an office worker, but he knows his life is going to change, something is in him, but he doesn’t know yet what. Fairly quickly in the story, he is confronted with his future and must make a decision that will drastically transform his life and his character. At one point, this transition takes place in a spectacular and compelling fashion.
4. Become the character you need to be.
To properly play a role, you don’t have to be playing, you have to be the character. You have to forget yourself to a large extent to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the character, but don’t go so far as to kill your neighbors because you play an assassin in a movie! Some famous actors go so far as to live in the real conditions of their character to integrate it as much as possible. This is the case with Robert de Niro and many others. To repeat certain passages, ask a friend to come to your house and work together. If you have an actor friend, much better.
- Experiment. To find the exact attitude and the right voice, you need to experiment with different types of behaviors and different intonations. Film yourself and watch the result.
- The fact of filming yourself will allow you to analyze your gestures and your voice. You can then make any necessary changes and correct your mistakes.
- First, focus on learning the text mechanically. Once your text is perfectly assimilated, you will be able to deepen all the aspects relating to the personality of your character.
5. Contact the director.
Whether in person or through a mode of communication (phone, Skype, smoke signals …), speak often with the director of the play or film to make sure you are on the right track, each moment. He has a precise vision of the project and will provide you with valuable advice. If you can also communicate with the author at the same time (in a coordinated way to avoid misunderstandings), that will be all the better. Listen carefully to their message and point of view and when it is important to you, give them yours. Always remember that reviews are positive because they help you improve how to become an actor .
- If you have to go to an audition and you don’t have the opportunity to get the precise point of view of the director, decide for yourself which personality you are going to portray. Carefully read all the notes provided and learn as much as possible about the character you should embody
Put your little feet in the shoes of the character you need to be. You can’t be a good actor until you become the character. You don’t actually have to ‘role play’, you have to be 100% the character! The manuscript is written on paper or in an electronic medium, but your character must be real, alive, believable and make millions of people vibrate so much that they forget that you are an actor. You only have to think about this and nothing else …
- Good actors around the world become full-time characters. This means that they are not just the embodiment of the character on stage or in front of the camera, but 24 hours a day. They become the character during the weeks or months of their performance. Then they quickly wash their brains and move on to the next one.
- Find the connection. Search deep within yourself for the connection between the character and yourself. Try to feel the emotions he feels, to experience what he is going through, to really cry when he cries and to laugh out loud when he is happy. Be the character.
Part 2. Be credible on how to become an actor
1. Invest yourself completely.
The job of an actor is not to rewrite the script, on the contrary. The mission of a good actor is to integrate the story completely and to portray an irreplaceable character in an unforgettable way. If you start by questioning the writing of the script, you are in a bad way … When you are an actor, you are a professional. You are like a producer, a director, a prophet. You are not just anyone!
- Sometimes your character will ask you to do impossible (or almost) things. Yes. You have to make sacrifices for the sake of Art. Perhaps you will have to fight against Jet Li or be transported to an unknown planet. These are things you need to be prepared for.
- Watch Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible“! He makes you believe that his character is real, made of flesh and blood like you and he transports you to his fantasy world effortlessly. Whatever the situation and the role, you should always strive to play the game thoroughly.
- To focus, you can practice meditation, but for anything you want to achieve in your life, the most important thing is the passion you feel and exude.
2. Be proactive.
No matter what profession you are in, to be good you must invest yourself completely and take charge of your destiny. Proactivity is a neologism that describes someone taking responsibility for their destiny and their life. This person does not look for the causes in outside circumstances or people. Learn to actively listen, accept advice and criticism in a positive way. This is an important step regarding how to become an actor . Listen carefully to what others are telling you and always try to improve yourself.
- Live in the moment. Focus and spend every moment of your life in the present moment. Never think about the future or the past. You have other things to do …
- There are many examples. Take for example the actor Coluche. When he was young, he was very shy, yet he knew how to overcome his fears and climb to the top of the pyramid of glory. He said “when you are in front of someone who impresses you, imagine that person is defecating on the throne and they will not impress you at all …”
3. Pay attention to your posture.
Your appearance is of crucial importance. Indeed, the actors are heroes, extraordinary people, not everyday passers-by. We all know everyday life. The actors must make people dream, imagine, they must inspire. When you have to play a character, you’re going to have to adapt smoothly and transform yourself. If you are a hero, bomb the bust and brandish your sword. If you are a victim, fall to the ground heavily, moaning in pain. Adapt to your role in all circumstances.
4. Let your energy flow.
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is talking and moving too fast. Take the time to breathe and sit in character to fill the stage or screen. Try to slow down your diction rate and your movements, because for the audience, they will always be very fast. Rehearse in front of a mirror and film yourself …
- If you are uncomfortable, you will most likely be talking and moving too quickly. Control yourself!
- If you’re doing a scene where you must be pissed off, you can raise your voice, but in a love scene, um, well … let go!
- When you have a passage where you must be angry, you are going to speak louder and faster. When you are in love, you will speak softly and warmly.
- Sometimes you will need to speak in a consistent manner, but other times you will need to raise your voice and be heard.
Modulations vary depending on the scene. Every now and then you have to speak pleasantly, then shout, whisper … Don’t worry, the scenes are cut out and then edited by a technician. The important thing is to always concentrate 100%. Do not say “I love you” as you say “I hate you”, it will not make sense and will make you look like a little enlightened amateur.
- Observe the other actors. Do not watch movies or plays like the public. You are a pro! You have to have another, much deeper vision. Observe carefully their every move and analyze the way in which they express themselves and play their role. Then try to reproduce their lines and a scene by filming yourself. Then repeat until you are satisfied. Sometimes subtitles can help you.
6. Follow the guidelines.
To be a good actor, you must abide by the guidelines provided by the script. Even if you don’t agree with a passage, you need to be able to play your part like a pro. You are a PRO! Remember that it is the director and the author (and often the producer) who are responsible for the making of the film or the play. They will show you the way with specific and helpful directions.
7. Strive to be consistent.
When recording scenes, you need to pay close attention to your movements and positions in space. You will sometimes have marks as to where to stand, but it is best to always set the stage and repeat until the sequence is ready to be in the box.
- Positions are especially important when it comes to shooting a movie. In the theater, the actors have a lot more freedom to improvise.
8. Don’t think about the cameras.
An actor has a lot of people around him. The cameramen, the technicians, the production manager, the director, friends and friends of friends … So you have to focus 200% on your role and become the character without taking into account the (sometimes sarcastic) remarks of the people around you to work. Relax, take a deep breath, focus. Everything will be alright!
- Eye contact with team members or the public is not recommended. It is always better to look above or below. For movies, you don’t have to worry about this, as you will be focused on your character for a short time. You need to stay very focused, however, no matter what.
- Relax. Sometimes some actors are afraid to make eye contact with the technicians and other members of the film crew. It’s normal. The work of an actor is totally different from that of the rest of humans. He must indeed make the public believe that events are real while films are fictions.
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Part 3. Sharpen your character
1. Enrich your general knowledge.
A good actor is a sponge. In all circumstances, try to speak as little as possible, to listen and to observe. To play various characters, you have to enrich yourself by watching how people act and behave. Do not hesitate to ask them questions about their life and their profession. Read as much as possible. Not only will you increase your general knowledge, but you will also work on your brain and your memory.
- Do extensive research. To be in tune with the role, research the era in which the story takes place as well as the personality of the character you are to play. Certain things will remain engraved in your subconscious.
2. Watch the right actors carefully.
When you first watch a movie or a play, do it like anyone else. Then watch the movie again a few times, but going into detail. Focus on the play of each actor and analyze their behavior. What do they do when they are not talking? How do they move, what positions do they adopt, how do they speak, what movements do they perform when they speak?
- Then ask yourself what you would be doing at the same time. Would you use the same intonation?
- Classical theater can be a good school. On YouTube you can find plays performed by different actors. Looking at them closely will allow you to examine their attitudes and notice the differences that make them unique. Study their differences and their techniques.
3. Attend classes.
As with all professions, the help of a teacher is essential. In an acting school, not only will you learn basic and essential techniques, but you will meet other actors who will influence your play consciously or not. Sometimes you can compare your playing to theirs and think about how you would interpret a passage. that another actor performs. You will also make friends in the profession who can help you and with whom you can exchange views.
- The budding actors that you will meet in a school will be able to share their contacts with you. Sometimes they will direct you to a role and other times you will throw the elevator back at them.
4. Take improvisation lessons.
The profession of actor leaves an important part to improvisation. You will sometimes be transported by the play of your partner and knowing how to improvise, you will be able to transform the scene while being natural and relaxed. To be a good actor, you don’t have to follow the paper to the letter. You need to be able to act and react in a natural and instant manner to make the moment real. There are many acting schools in most cities which usually offer improvisation lessons.
- You can improvise anywhere with friends. Make it like a game. Start with a word or a theme and give free rein to your imagination while remaining coherent of course.
5. Do sight reading.
To put the odds on your side for the auditions, practice cold reading or sight reading . During an audition, you often only have 2 or 3 minutes to skim over the text of the character you are going to have to represent. If you’ve never done this, it will be hard for you to do well. So anticipate and read unfamiliar texts at home as if you were in front of the cameras or the public. You can skim over a passage quickly for less than a minute and then jump into the interpretation without thinking about it first.
- Sight reading is also an excellent preparation exercise that has benefits for your mind as well as your body.
I hope you have got an excellent idea about how to become an actor by reading this article.