In a saturated industry, where let’s face it, there will always be more actors than jobs, being average just won’t cut it and being bitter or resentful about the unfairness of the industry will only stall you. So what is an aspiring actor to do? I’ll talk you through how to be a phenomenal actor so that you begin to feel like you have a hell of a to offer, so the people who are important to you will begin to sit up and take notice.
Some of my tips may come as a surprise to you as they might not be what you were expecting, but all are equally important. Let’s jump straight in.
HOW TO BE A PHENOMENAL ACTOR
#1 LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH – You might be thinking ‘what has my health got to do with acting?’. My answer is everything. Your instrument, like other artists, is not outside of you, it is you, your body – that same thing you live life with. If you abuse your body or mind it affects your work and your ability to create to your full potential. A pianist has to look after their piano and make sure it’s always correctly tuned and in good working order, you’re no different, you must also look after your mind and body, especially your mind. A piano can be replaced but you can’t be.
Shoots and stage productions can be long, which can take their toll when you’re running off adrenaline. Feed your body the nutrients it needs, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, meditate to clear your mind, these will make a huge difference to your energy, vitality and work.
#2 TRAIN EVERYDAY – Some actors are lazy, they make excuses such as ‘I haven’t got time’, ‘I’ve got no-one to work with’ or ‘there’s no point if I’m not in anything’ – really? There are many things you can do by yourself – perfect your relaxation technique, practise sense memory, sight read everyday, practise your script analysis skills, recreate two minutes from your own life truthfully. An actor who doesn’t regularly practise outside of class becomes rusty. Here’s a quote from Burgess Meredith, which I love “Actors, like athletes, need to keep working. They lose their edge if they don’t stay in training”
#3 DEVELOP LOTS OF LIFE EXPERIENCE – Life experience is like a well, the more your well fills, the more you have to draw upon to empathise and understand the character’s circumstances. That is not to deny the technique and craft of acting, which allows any actor with a degree of talent to unlock their imagination, but we can not also deny the importance of life experience. So no matter what age you are, live your life fully, say yes to things that scare you, try new things, be present in each moment. You never know what’s going to come in handy for inspiration with your craft.
#4 GET TO KNOW YOURSELF – Discover your values, your dreams, your fears, your likes and dislikes, your beliefs, your ticking points, your passions, what motivates you, what turns you off, your insecurities and self-doubts, your confidence hotspots, your personality, your habits and your body. Knowing yourself on a deep level allows you to lend yourself to the circumstances of the character.
#5 READ – screenplays, stage plays, dramas, comedy. Reading will allow you to become familiar with different writers work, but it also helps improve your imagination and memory. It will help you develop your taste and create opinions and you will also begin to understand past and current trends in the industry.
#6 LEARN BUSINESS SKILLS – it’s no good doing these things if you don’t how to promote yourself. Lack of visibility is one of the BIGGEST challenges many actors face. The actors who fulfill their personal definition of success find ways to become visible. A good dose of creativity mixed with marketing skills can go a long way in overcoming this obstacle. Learn how to manage your finances, market yourself, plan, create a simple website, network efficiently etc.
As you can see, there are many moving parts to becoming a phenomenal actor. If you’re looking for quick fixes or shortcuts you will seriously limit your growth. Investing in yourself with these tips takes time, but the difference they make is HUGE. After all you’re in ir for the long haul aren’t you?
Has this helped?
Let’s chat in the comments area below. If you want to share these tips with your acting friends who you know would benefit, just hit the social media icons below.
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning.
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Louise O’Leary is a professional actress, method acting coach and Artistic Director of StandBy Method Acting Studio. Her mission is to help as many actors as she can launch their careers and become the best actor they can be.
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