ACTING TIPS – SIMPLE ACTING STUFF

“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” – Mark Twain

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Beware of Overacting or Mechanical Acting
A warning right at the beginning. What separates good actors from bad ones is their sincerity of emotion and belief on the stage. Audience can spot a phony right away! Good acting is not overacting or mechanically saying lines. It is not reading out lines! Do not say or do anything on stage or on screen, without understanding what you are saying. Do not say anything, unless you understand the emotion that evokes the dialog. Words flow, when emotions evoke them out of memory and it’s not the other way round. Feel the emotion, connect with it, embrace it and words will then flow naturally.

Never allow yourself externally to portray anything that you have not inwardly experienced and which is not even interesting to you. A character built on stereotype cannot grow.

Acting is all about Belief and Creative Imagination
Acting is living an alternate life, as I said before. It is ‘make believe’. The audience is only going to believe that you are the person you are playing to be, if you yourself believe that you are that person! To arrive from being who you are in reality, to who you are on stage, is a process which you have to go through. The thing that is going to get you there is creative imagination and belief!

The actor must use his imagination to be able to answer all questions (when, where, why, how). Make the make-believer existence more definite.

An Actor Must be An Athlete Philosopher
An actor must cultivate his mind and body as an instrument in portraying roles. His mind needs to be able to grasp things, as astutely as a philosopher and his body must be able to portray a range of emotions. Acting is about harnessing the mind-body connection. You need to mindfully enter the character you play and you will be there bodily. The athlete is all about action, motivated by emotion and the philosopher is all about thought. An actor must walk the middle path between the actor and the philosopher. He shouldn’t be so carried away by emotions, that reason eludes him, nor should he be so overwhelmed by thought, that emotions stop flowing naturally. Achieving this inner balance is paramount, when acting.

Read and Understand the Script
Read the script thoroughly. Then read it and once you are done, read it yet again. Keep reading till you get from the skin to the soul of the story. Understand the script first and think about what the playwright has tried to say through the script. This a view from the outside. Then again read the story from the perspective of the role you are playing. Discuss with the director about what exactly you feel about the story and clarify your doubts. This is very important, as you need to understand the people, the surroundings, the time of the story and its message.

”In the creative process there is the father, the author of the play; the mother, the actor pregnant with the part; and the child, the role to be born.” 

Know Everything about the Role and the Person
Next step is to know as much as you can about the role you are portraying, in explicit details. You must ask questions about the role. Who is that person? Where does he come from? The answer to these questions will be partly found in the outlines of the play and partly out of your own creative imagination! Research the script as much as you can, to know your role! Some actors even write a diary of a day, in the life of that character! You must know him/her like the back of your hand. Even if the details of the character come from your imagination, and only partly from the script, they must be very specific.

Then, slowly, you will get an idea about how this person might be thinking. You will know why he reacts the way he does in the particular situations of a play. You will get an idea about the rationale behind the character’s behavior. Understand his philosophy about life and his super objective. This is your homework.

What makes the person, that is you, is a superposition of millions of memories, biases and impressions. To become the person you’re going to portray, you have to create and connect with the psyche that makes him or her. Consider his presence in the play as just a snapshot of his life and let him grow beyond that snapshot, into the past and the future. Flesh out a person out of that role, who has his likes and dislikes, his apprehensions, his rules and his defining experiences. Live his life till you understand what makes that character and who he is!

”The life of a character should be an unbroken line of events and emotions, but a play only gives us a few moments on that line – we must create the rest to portray a convincing life.” 

Connect to the Role through Emotional Memory
Now, you exactly know who you are going to portray! Next part is being him/her! It is the easiest and the most difficult part. Learn the dialogue’s of the play thoroughly and understand the mood of the character when he/she says them.

Draw parallels between the character’s life and your own experiences from your emotional memory! Emotional memory is the parallel memory that you have stored inside you, through which you can relate to that character! Invoke your emotional memory when you say the dialogue’s as that person. Slowly, you will not just sympathize with the character, you will empathize! You will start thinking the way he/she thinks, feels. Once you get that character, all your body language, your toning will fall in place accordingly! In all this process, the director will aid you. Then you can polish other minor details like your positioning on stage, your entry and exit cues and all the other mechanical things that must be remembered.

Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there. – Meryl Streep

It is all about Concentration and Practice
Once you start getting the role, you need to practice and rehearse it regularly. To get into the role on stage and make other people believe that you are him, you must concentrate and cultivate your imagination onstage. You must be able to see what the character sees! With each rehearsal, try to see more deeply and let the character take control.

Lose Yourself in the Role but Stay Aware
On a character level you must be involved, but your awareness as an actor should also be there, all the time, while performing. There are certain subtleties about presenting a character and performing on stage. There is a limit to how much realism you can bring on stage. There are some things which you need to modify, so that it is presentable on stage. While playing the role, in the flow of character, one has to be aware as an actor of all those subtleties.

Empathize
One of the most important qualities that great actors have possessed is the ability to empathize. To perceive the complexities, contradictions, agony and bliss of the person behind the character, you need to empathize with him. Empathy is the key to understanding a person and the door through which you enter into the psyche of your character, to portray him and interpret him your way.

”Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant? – Henry David Thoreau

Enjoy the Process
Last but not the least, to do it right, you must enjoy the process! A very important part is bonding with your co-actors and developing good chemistry on stage.
Hope these acting tips for beginners have at least intrigued you to explore the field of acting. No other art helps you overcome your own self like acting. It is the most ‘alive’ form of art, which explores the deep labyrinths of the mystery, that is human mind.

Remember, learning to be a good actor is synonymous with learning to be a good human being!

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About anasebrahem
I ASPIRE TO INSPIRE

One Response to ACTING TIPS – SIMPLE ACTING STUFF

  1. Lovely Anne says:

    Wow… thanks for this article now I have an idea on how to act well and how to become a good actress ,as a newbie it is so difficult on me, then as I read this article it lighten up my mind on what should do and not..I have also read an article on what must know acting tips for newbies https://www.exploretalent.com/articles/15-must-know-acting-tips-newbies/ …really good!

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