- Immerse yourself in the role
- Be prepared; know your lines and ways of delivering them
- Take a moment to breathe in your scene; give time for your characters responses
- Focus: pay attention to what is going on in the scene
Great acting is being able to create a character. Great character is being able to be yourself.John Leguizamo
Most actors go into acting, expecting it to come naturally. I mean, what could go wrong and you have been practicing how to act natural all your life? Shock upon you! Acting is like breathing. When you focus on breathing, it becomes hatched, challenging and even complicated. However, when you didn’t need to think about it, it just came naturally. The thing about acting is you can overcome and get in such with your character without a worry. Let’s take a look at how to develop a character acting.
Before we dive into it, think about these analogies. When you first learn how to walk, you don’t just stand upright one day. First, there is sitting up and falling on your back. Then you overcome that and learn how to sit up correctly. Then you learn how to crawl, which isn’t very easy. Then finally, there is the walking. From crawling to clutching on furniture for support, you can finally let go of the furniture, but you can’t walk more than four steps without falling. But eventually, you learn how to coordinate your body muscles to walk correctly. When you walk years later, your body remembers the movements naturally.
You can also think of writing. Before you learn how to use a pen, you need to learn how to use a pencil. It is not as simple as it sounds. First, you need to know how to hold a pencil. You naturally pick the finger that coordinates the most then figure out how to position the rest of the fingers. You then learn how to use muscles in the fingers, forearm, palm and wrist to shape the letters, remember these are muscles you didn’t even know existed. You then learn how to unhunch your shoulders and place the elbow at a perfect angle to facilitate the writing. Fast-forward to using a pen you don’t need to make all those steps as the brain and the hand coordinate to allow you to write. Your flow of thoughts coordinates perfectly with the flow of the ink as you put down your poetry, music or plays.
Acting is not very different. Learning how to incorporate naturalism into your acting is a long process, just like walking or learning how to write. You need to have faith to carry on the process even before you begin it. The faith is actually half the battle. Naturalism should not be overwhelming, but its sure one battle to reckon with.
Think of Geoffrey Rush who studied clowning at the Lecoq’s school. He went to school for years to study clowning, but that does not mean his performance was limited to clowning. He had other performances, but clowning was added to his toolkit of skills. His final performances always had a hint of clowning because it occurred naturally to him!
Start by using a monologue from a naturalism play. We recommend using Strindberg for beginners. It’s an excellent naturalism play to start you off. You can also consider Chekhov if you are feeling confident or courageous. Chekhov is a bit more challenging, but you will appreciate the skills you will come out of it with. Remember that the goal of this is not to memorize so you can read right from your script in hand. You don’t need to understand your lines and put the script away.
Take everything slow. Learning naturalism is not like any other acting exercise. Its takes even more time than you thought. Rome was not built in a single day so bear that in mind. Stay in the present with your training a take every day at a time. In the Strindberg exercise, you are trying to speak to someone who loves you very much. The person will not interrupt you because they want to understand you; and not just you but the words that come from your mouth. The person is trying to understand what the words mean and why those particular words. Your goal is to convey the message in the best and most natural way for the person to get all the answers.
Why did you pick those words? Why not others what emotion was going through you as you spoke? Were the words out of rage, anger, love or sadness? You need to take your time conveying these words and the purpose behind every word. You need to find exactly what motivates you to reach the monologue goal or the scene partner if you have one. When you do, then you will realize that the words and actions come so easy because you have reached naturalism. Its sounds complicated on text, but when you reach naturalism, you will have achieved the success of your work. Your words will be landing so comfortable no matter how hard they seem.
We recommend having a scene partner for this kind of exercise. It goes a long way to have someone to rain-check with and someone to give you feedback with every step you take. Also, take all the time you need. Don’t be in a hurry. The point is to learn this great skill. Discovering naturalism is like any other acting exercise. It requires a lot of practice, repetition, analysis and correction. Correction should come from an expert or your scene partner. You will also be able to receive positive critic to help you better your work and master naturalism.
Have you ever noticed the difference between making a call to a friend and one to customer care of a receptionist? Naturalism in acting feels like making a phone call to your friend. You don’t need to arrange your thoughts or words. They just flow out of your mouth in perfect sync. Once you have identified your natural acting skills or what natural acting feels to you, don’t try to change it for an ideal image in your mind. That will kind you back to square one! Embrace it and act on it with more practice and notice how your career will bloom. Natural acting helps you to bring the character to life in the best way possible.
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DAILY ACTING EXERCISES – SEVEN ACTING EXERCISES TO DO ALONE
HOW TO BE A GOOD ACTOR OR ACTRESS
ACTING CLASSES – TYPES OF ACTING CLASSES (AND WHAT YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THEM)
ACTING EXERCISES – 15 WAYS TO IMPROVE ACTING SKILLS
HOW TO ACT EMOTIONS – ACT OUT AN EMOTIONAL SCENE
ACTING LESSONS – HOW CAN I LEARN ACTING?
MICHAEL CHEKHOV TECHNIQUE – AN INTRODUCTION
ACTING FOR THE CAMERA EXERCISES – TIPS FOR ACTING ON CAMERA
HOW TO EMBODY A CHARACTER
HOW TO ACT BETTER – FIVE WAYS TO BECOME A BETTER ACTOR
MEISNER ACTING TECHNIQUE