- Knowledge: to be aware of the industry and everything it has to offer.
- Voice: the key to unlocking the world of characters.
- Text: how you bring the text to life.
- Movement: how comfortable you are with your physicality and flexibility.
- Acting: the most critical skill in your acting career.
Acting has become a trendy career over the years. More and more people of all ages want a career in acting, and the field is growing highly competitive. So, how do you get yourself to stand out amidst other actors?
What most people don’t know is that acting is a skill. Although you may have the talent, without the appropriate skills, you won’t to advance in your career. Talent is not enough for an acting career as you will come across dozens of talented actors. Acting like any other skill requires dedication and effort. Once you have mastered the skill, you can be helped by your talent or gifting to become an excellent actor as you have dreamt.
Acting is a very personal process. It has to do with expressing your own personality, and discovering the character you’re playing through your own experience – so we’re all different.Ian McKellen
May upcoming actors have approached me with the question of which are some good acting skills and how to develop them. In this article, I have addressed all those concerns and discussed excellent skills every actor should have to succeed in acting. I have also ensured that the skills discussed here are affordable and require little or no money to develop. At the end of this article, you will be on your way to stardom thanks to the acting skills we will have discussed. Shall we get started?
I always say that knowledge is the most crucial acting skill every actor should have. It does not matter whether you are a newbie or an expert in the career. Knowledge will get you where even natural talent will not. Books and any writings with knowledge should be your best friend as an actor.
Knowledge of the craft is something you should yearn for. It’s impeccable to be aware of the industry and everything it has to offer. The more you read and expand your knowledge, the closer you bring yourself to achieving your dreams. Read extensively! Read everything on your path! Just ensure that you increase your knowledge each day, expand your mind, and challenge yourself to achieve bigger things.
How to develop the skill: Knowledge
- Read plays
It’s said that the rarest treasure can be hidden in a book if you want no one to ever find it. Reading is invaluable. Apart from reading about the industry, make a habit of reading plays. Plays will improve your acting skills and teach you how to act emotions appropriately. The more plays you read, the better you become as an actor. Plays also expose you to different forms of writings, devices, and even characters. Can you bring every character to life? Reading different plays may seem like a task, but it exposes you to different styles, genres, and languages, which is everything you need to become a versatile actor. You can find plays anywhere from your local library to the internet.
- Watch film and theatre
It will do you good to pay a visit to your local there and watch a play. When was the last time you sat and enjoyed a film? As an actor, you should make it your business to catch every film that is played in the theatre. Take joy in watching short plays and films. Through plays, films, and TV, you can improve your acting skills. Ooh, and don’t forget the good old Shakespeare classics.
Your voice is more than just breath support or however, basic it sounds. Ts actually your best asset as an actor. Voice is your resonance, articulation, and form of expression. Mastering voice as a skill can open doors you never imagined. Have you ever fallen in love with someone’s voice even before putting a face to it? Your voice is an instrument, but sadly, many budding artists neglect this skill.
Why is your voice important?
How incredible is the voice of SpongeBob or any other animation you love? Do you ever wonder how these actors do it? It doesn’t matter whether you want to be a voice-over actor or not. Voice is a critical skill for all actors. Will you be able to pull off a character with a strong accent or one that speaks twice faster than you naturally do?
Your voice is the key to unlocking the world of characters. As I always say, you never know when your breakthrough will come, so it’s essential to keep all options open. Although your natural voice may be a gem, you need to diversify and find out what more you can do with your voice to stand out from the crowds.
How to develop the skill: Voice
- Articulation exercises
Articulation is essential in acting. You will find that even though English or whichever language is your first, there is always something you are struggling with. Be keen not to neglect this skill. Ensure that you are adding a few extra minutes to your articulation exercises. The best tip I ever came across is making sure you are working with some text, not just words. Choose something you are passionate about but struggling with. You can give Shakespeare or Brecht a try as you perfect your articulation.
- Voice warm-ups
There are many voice warm-ups to choose from, but I recommend finding one that suits you. It’s better to choose one with your voice coach or after a voice class to identify what best meets your needs. With voice, it’s safe to say that consistency triumphs effort. It may sound reasonable to have a session every month for long hours, but that is not the best approach. It’s better to have short sessions of maybe 5-15 minutes every day. Consistency is key.
- Voice classes
I made sure this came last on the list since it costs quite a lot. If you think you really need to perfect your voice skills, there is no better way to do it than some voice classes. Voice classes can be offered in drama schools or as a part of acting classes. Some are very costly, depending on the institution, but the good thing is professionals teach them. There are things about the voice that cannot be learned on the internet or through books. The best way is to have a pro with experience to assess you.
Text as a skill refers to how you bring the text to life. Voice and text go hand in hand for an actor. However, the text focuses more on your ability to interpret your lines and bring characters to life from mere text. This skill is critical if your focus is on classics such as Shakespeare. The skill helps you to find the range and add detail and color to your acting through text interpretation. The text is one skill you should work on if you want to really wow the casting crew.
How to develop the skill: Text
- Read out loud
I know the teacher who taught you English and grammar always said not to read out loud, it showed poor reading skills as you were told. In acting and especially in text development, it’s a different story. As we mentioned, reading is a must for actors. Read out loud every time you read those plays, short stories, poetry, or novels. Doing so improves confidence, unlike mere text. You will also be able to start imagining yourself as the character and bring the text to life. Reading out in front of the mirror helps in actualizing the text and creating the kind of emotional reactions I the text.
It’s possible to improve your acting skills solo through monologues. You can train on any skill of your choice alone and still ace it. Try learning at least two different monologues from your fav play or classic each week. Prepare yourself, learn the monologues, and even get your friends to listen to you. Motivating yourself to get started is the toughest part of the job. However, every time you have a monologue, remember you draw closer to perfecting your acting skills. The gig you have been waiting for is a few monologues away!
- Take a cold reading class
You may also know these classes as sight-reading classes. They are highly beneficial for your text reading skills. These classes also prep you for auditions and acting gigs that require you to come up with something with little or no preparation time. If you have been wondering about what acting classes to take, cold reading classes are a must-take for most actors. These classes may require you to reach dip inside your pocket, but they will be worth it eventually. Try investing in a worth-while cold reading class, and watch how your text interpretation skills will sky-rocket!
Movement is another indispensable skill in acting. You don’t want your own body to be the reason you will miss out on a life-changing role or character. Movement as skill simply refers to how comfortable you are with your physicality and flexibility. Movements is a necessary skill for an actor as it allows one to feel more relaxed. Have you ever heard it said that freeing the body also frees the mind and spirit? Mastering movements as a skill makes you a more expressive actor, and what else are we looking for in an actor? Movements remove all limitations in the body and open the doors for opportunities you never imagined.
How to develop the skill: Movement
- Movements exercises
The only way to develop movement skills is through movement exercises. There is no two way about it! I am not talking about a work out at the gym. At least not every day. There are other fun ways of exercising and improving your movement skills such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, Zumba dancing, Alexander, and much more. The goal is to keep healthy and fit to be able to free your body. It’s important to keep the exercises consistent. Remember that it doesn’t have to be an intense workout. The key is finding something you enjoy and doing it consistently.
- Get a movement coach
It’s always a great idea to have someone to coach your movements. Again, it depends on how serious you are with your movement skills. For instance, if your end goal is a career with Broadway and West End as an entertainer or performer, then you need a movements coach. Your movements should be flawless. A coach can put you on the right path to achieving your dreams.
Finally, the last skill which houses all is acting. It’s the most critical skill in your acting career. Even if you feel like you have no natural talent, with the right acting skills, talent is dispensable. The best way to perfect your acting skills is by acting! There are several ways you can achieve every day. For instance, all the skills we have mentioned above bring you a step closer to mastering your acting skills as a whole.
How to develop the skill: Acting
- Acting classes
There are different varieties of acting classes like cold reading, movement, and voice classes, as we have mentioned above. There are more basic classes that every actor needs to have taken before joining the world of acting. You know that to become an actor, you need to have completed three years at an accredited drama school or at least attended acting classes. If you are busy or on a tight budget, acting classes are more suitable. You can choose acting classes relevant to your career path and do some to boost your resume. I have covered acting classes in an in-depth article. You should take a look!
- Working with friends
If you know friends in the same career path, why not get together and beat the high cost of classes. The best thing about bringing great minds together is they think alike! It may end up in something bigger than just training. Encourage each other as actors and give critical feedback to perfect everyone’s craft. Your friends may have better insight into your skill than a stranger since they know you better. Working with your friends to improve your skills is a fun-packed experience you should try.
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