- Feeling the surroundings
- Focus on how you feel
- The Vulnerability Exercise
- The Breathing exercise
- Practice Waiting
- Practice your thought process
Method acting has had a major influence both in writing through the eyes of other people, and seeing through the eyes of other people, and seeing through the eyes of other people, trying to address different ideas in a way that would go beyond preaching to the choir.Jello Biafra
Actors need to exercise their skills to improve and make themselves better at their jobs. Like any other skill or art such as singing, sports activity, acting must be taken seriously and enhanced every day and every minute. There is a saying that practice makes perfect which applies in acting. Putting your skills into action every now and then will surely make you a better actor and put you on the path to greatness. Coincidentally, most actors just focus on going for auditions without putting much effort into practicing those skills on their own at home or in their own free time yet this practice is what makes a difference between a great actor and an average one. Listening to all great actors will lead you to make the appreciation of making acting exercises as a daily norm for you to move your career to the next level.
Practicing acting might prove to be quite difficult because it requires you to have a partner to work with. Also, you may need a person to guide you as they take the role of an acting director to help you control what you will be practicing about. You cannot just exercise without a clear plan on what skill you want to enhance but rather you must have a clear guide on what to do each time you exercise. You must understand what areas you are weak at for you to be able to put more emphasis on them. In addition, you will also need to have a guide that you will use to follow that will move you up by different levels.
Exercising every day will improve your acting career and also help you to learn more about yourself. You will have an opportunity to know the things you like and those things that you are good at. This realization can help you in specializing in the type of acting you would want to focus on. The reality is that you are more likely to succeed in acting in areas where you are good at compared to those that you are not good at and you can only discover this through regular exercises.
For best exercises, ensure that you have the right tools and materials to act as a guide. You cannot afford to exercise without a guide. In all other arts, there is a formula used to get around becoming a better person in that act. For instance, in a sporting activity, you must follow the relevant levels of beginner, intermediate, and expert before you can think of competing at a professional level. This is not an exception when it comes to acting. Fortunately, there are several websites that you can view information that can help you in becoming a great actor through the provision of relevant exercises.
In this article, we shall explore the ways in which you can exercise each day.
Feeling the surroundings
The simplest acting exercise that you can do on your own is feeling your surroundings. It simply entails taking a feel at what is surrounding you at your location. This refers to sounds that you hear, the objects that you can see or touch. For you to learn to be a great actor, you must be inspired by your surroundings first before you move to other items or things.
To be good in acting, you must be a good listener because good listeners become good communicators. Also, listening means that you are learning a lot from what you are being told about and this is how you will become a force to reckon with in the acting scene. The listening being recommended here is where you listen to using your senses and using your whole body. This is the first listening ability that you must develop. Once it is developed fully, you can then start listening through your eyes by seeing the surrounding objects which will become co-actors in the business. At last, you can now learn how to listen through your ears before taking the time to listen through the skin.
Take time to develop and observe your senses since they are some of the most amazing things that you can listen to the environment around you. This is the best way to develop your sense memory which is a technique that is developed by making use of your senses.
When doing these exercises, there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind to enable you to be effective in every step of the way and also to succeed and see results in the long run. Ensure that your feet are bare feet and stepping on the ground without any shoes or socks so that your body feels the floor. This will help you feel whether the temperature on the floor is cold or warm and whether the floor is smooth, slippery, or rough. You should be in an empty space that has no music or any other sounds in the vicinity.
Once you are in this space, follow the following exercise in this order;
Walk on the floor with small steps as you feel the texture, temperature of the floor, and make a determination as to whether it is cold, warm and also determine its texture which is whether it’s smooth or rough.
Allow the floor to communicate with your body by feeling your body. Ensure that your walking style is slow enough for good communication between the floor and the body. Inasmuch as the floor cannot see or talk, you must feel that it is communicating with you. Keep in mind that acting is about imagination and in this case, you must imagine that the floor has feelings and can communicate with you.
Focus keenly on your breathing and do not force it in any way. You should feel how your breathing is taking place and focus on the time that it takes for you to inhale and exhale breathing air.
When you are still in this state, try and add the sounds in your surroundings and focus on them. There could be sounds from electric gadgets such as air conditioners, fan, and wind, or any other sound that is in the vicinity. The idea is not to get distracted or placing focus on it.
After following these steps, including the feel, you are getting from the space into your focus and move the feeling to the whole body from the feet or hands whichever you had started with. If you started with the hands, move up to the face, stomach, knees until you are able to feel the whole environment with your whole body.
You should carry out this exercise for a minimum of 5 minutes and should not exceed 8 minutes. Ensure that you are getting the actual feel of the environment with your whole body. Also, if you lose focus on these steps at any stage listed above, ensure that you go back to the beginning and start all over again. It is possible that you will not get these steps on the first day and if this happens, do not lose hope and give up because practice makes perfect. Ensure that you practice these processes until you get it right.
If you are able to master these processes, you will have mastered the first strong trait of being a good actor who is being receptive. You will learn how to live for the moment and you will receive subtle information from co-actors when you are on-screen acting.
Focus on how you feel
Acting experts believe that actors are like musical instruments in the sense that they have to be tuned up for them to function properly. Your inner self produces emotions, illustrations, facial expressions, and the energy to act. It therefore must be taken care of and put in sync with the outside world for it to function as it should. In principle, you must focus on how to ensure that your inner self is well maintained and that the emotions you produce at any given point are in line with your acting career. Our emotions have a big effect on our performance on stage or on a scene and that is why they are important. For instance, if you are having a bad day you are likely to pull these emotions that you are going through on the screen and it is likely that you will not perform at your best and thus ruin your chances of succeeding in the acting world. If for instance, you are due to attend an audition, it is important that you are aware of your feelings before you go on stage because they may affect your performance.
Once you learn how to put a focus on how you feel, you should move towards controlling your feelings and suppressing them in a way that they do not affect you while you are on the acting scene. The reality is that you will always have bad days, sad moments, disappointments, happy moments so long as you are alive. These situations are unavoidable because it is the nature of life that they exist. However, good actors can suppress them when they are at work to the extent that you cannot tell that they are going through some life challenges in the background. It is because they have been able to have control over their emotions over time and they have learned how to get by even when they are feeling low.
Carrying out this exercise helps your body in accepting the feelings in your body at that moment and brings you back to the current moment. This is one of the most important methods of acting exercise to do alone that I have added to my repertoire. I do it when I am at home or driving or during rehearsals or even before the performance.
Start by asking yourself how you feel and answer the question loudly or in a low voice. The answer you give should be within 2 seconds after asking it so that you answer it without thinking of what response to give such that it is the most immediate thing to come from your mouth. This means that it is likely to be the authentic feeling and expression of your current state. Do you feel calm, fresh, blank, happy, sad, optimistic, etc. You should keep expressing yourself on what you feel and even if there is absolutely no feeling you should continue doing so because that is the reality.
The Vulnerability Exercise
The Vulnerability exercise is one of the most important exercises that you can undertake to enhance your acting skills. The first time you perform this test, you are likely to get so many emotions out of yourself. You could feel angry and sad and it can affect your entire day. However, this does not mean that it will affect you for all the days when you carry out the exercise. It is likely to happen the first few times when you do it because of your amateurish nature in acting and you are still not prepared on how to deal with the emotions that come from this exercise. However, when you learn how to act, you can be sure to learn about the emotions that the exercise will evoke and you will be prepared to deal with it once the job is completely done.
To do this exercise, you will be alone and you have to imagine a person from your life who you will tell about your feelings about him or her and since you are alone it will be a monologue conversation which you will share your personal life in it. Doing this exercise will elevate your emotions that you want to show and they are likely to be very vulnerable emotions which could make you end up feeling heartbroken, having a lot of range, unhappiness.
For best results, ensure that you use a recording camera that will take it as a self-audition so that you capture all the moments in there. The main thing that this exercise teaches is being vulnerable on the acting scene if at all you will be called upon to produce such emotions on a real stage. The market is awash with cameras that have remote controls with proper stands that are available to shoot the exercises and recording rehearsals. Recording them will enable your acting mentor or support system to view them and give you feedback about your skills. In acting, getting feedback is very important because it gives you an opportunity to look back and correct the mistakes you might have made and make improvements to your style of acting.
After you have finished doing this, pick someone in your real life and who makes you get that specific emotion. If it is happiness, choose someone who makes you feel happy and if it is anger, choose someone who makes you feel angry. Once you select the emotion and the person, take your imagination to a level where you imagine the person sitting or standing beside you. You should also imagine their details such as the clothes they are in, the hair, eyes, smell, and other personal details that a person may have. After you have created that person’s presence in your mind, start saying to him or her what you think about her. Complain, yell, curse if necessary, and do not hold back. Let out everything you think about the person and do not even think that time is moving. You should try and speak for not less than 4 minutes as you describe what you feel about them.
While you may not feel anything when you start talking, this may not last for a long time because you are likely to start feeling the emotion that you have talked about a couple of minutes before about the person you were talking to in your imagination. If the emotions overwhelm, you can take a break from the exercise for a while to catch your breath but you should not stop until you are completely livid of the emotions.
This exercise helps you to prepare yourself for such roles in the movies where you will get to a level where you control your mind from not showing any emotion as per the expectation of the movie. If you do not carry out this exercise as indicated above, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you might break down in a movie and this will not be a very good thing for you to do because you are supposed to exhibit a composed stature regardless of the emotions you are talking about.
Take a Breathing exercise
In acting voice is especially important because it communicates a lot of information that the actor wishes to bring out. It communicates joy, happiness, sorrow, sadness depending on the tone variation it takes. A shouting voice may communicate elation and it may also communicate anxiety and a call for help.
Voice is affected and controlled by how a person breathes. There is great scientific evidence that shows that taking control of the breathing process corrects speaking inabilities in those with such challenges. Since it is already clear that an actor needs to have a good voice, it is therefore imperative that breathing exercises are part of the game and their importance cannot be overemphasized.
To take a breathing exercise:
- Lie on the floor on your back and place one of your hands on your stomach.
- Close your mouth so that you only inhale through your nose.
- Inhale deeply to the point when you feel as if your stomach is rising. You should inhale as much as possible to the point where you can’t inhale anymore.
- After holding your breath for a while, start exhaling slowly until you have released all the air from your body.
You should repeat this process until you are able to do this many times a day. Ensure that each time your breath, you have taken in more air than the previous time.
If you look around your life, you will realize that you must virtually wait for almost everything. When you look at your daily routine, you will notice that there are many things that you do that require you to wait. It is the same in the acting scene where you will be also having to wait in almost all instances. To be a good actor, you must captivate your audience by learning how to wait because you are the one on focus when the moving is being acted.
Waiting can provide you with an opportunity to recreate the scene because of the time it takes and you can take several angles on how to play it. Therefore, doing this exercise entails the involvement of all aspects that control acting and that is why it is important.
To exercise waiting, you can follow these steps:
- Select a place that has ample space and room which will allow you to move freely in it. You can add a chair or anything that gives you ample sitting space. Space should as natural as possible and free from too many objects so that there is good aeration.
- Once the room is in place, pick the offstage which essentially is an event that is about to happen or has already happened. An example of an offstage is if you are going for an audition which becomes the future offstage in this case. Therefore, design the offstage with detail just as you envisage it will look like when you finally get there. Take a situation where you are talking to yourself otherwise known as a monologue and try to memorize the part so that you have mastered all the lines. While you are at it, decide on the audition call and determine whether you have enough time, or you are running late.
- When you do this, imagine that you are on a certain platform waiting for a train or a taxi to take you to the audition.
- When you have this imagination, start doing something that you would do in a real-life situation that anyone else would do whenever they find themselves in a similar situation. Keep in mind that movies must mimic events in the real world as close as possible.
Ensure that you stay on course and do not think about how your acting skills are because you might become conscious. Instead, play yourself since there is no character and be as truthful about the situation as possible. Be sure to record yourself when doing this exercise and when you are done, look back and see the areas where you need to change and improve the exercise.
Practice your thought process
When watching a movie or a play, you may have noticed instances where an actor is not doing anything, but he is still able to hook the audience. To the viewers, he may appear as if he is inactive but the reality is that he is internally active, but you may not realize it. Being active internally means that he is still processing his thought process as he should as a character.
The truth of the matter is that as an actor you will not always be able to hide everything from the audience and they will see what exactly you are thinking about. While you may not think that it is being noticed, your body language is likely to show as it will keep broadcasting your thoughts and emotions to the viewers.
For instance, if you are nervous the viewers will be able to see it even without you realizing that they can read through your situation. For this reason, it is important to keep your thought process within the spectrum of the movie character you are playing so that the audience is kept captivated by the way you play out a certain character.
For best results, you should follow the following points:
- Be seated comfortably on a chair and pick a subject in your real life but if you are already a character in a movie, pick the subject of the role you are playing.
- In your mind, run through the idea that your objective will not be achieved. For instance, you want to get a job and if you do not find one, you are likely to be broke and become a beggar.
- Follow this by questioning the consequences of failing to achieve your objective. In this case, it will be like failing to pay rent, failing to buy food. Move to the next stage and ask yourself what will happen if you cannot pay your house rent and arrive at the situation that you are likely to be thrown out of your home.
method acting exercises
You will keep thinking about questions as you try not to take any action and whatever you will be thinking is likely to be showing in your body language or in your eyes and you may even feel real emotions.
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