I get it, acting classes can be expensive, and depending on the class–may not even be that helpful. Many of them are spent watching other people give mediocre performances, and then having a teacher tell them it was “good”.
Or, helpful notes are given, but it’s a struggle to apply them to future performances because you’ve had so little practise.
While I am not saying to stop taking classes–Please don’t ever stop! I’m simply saying that classes/workshops are NOT the only way to hone your craft. If you’re looking for supplemental training, that barely cost anything–here are two of the easiest ways to improve your acting:
- Watch Something You Love: I know you’ve likely heard this one before. We need to consume the content so we know what shows/actors are hot and current. But I also need you to put on an “Actor” hat when you’re watching. You need to be analyzing the acting–Think, what about that performance made it so captivating? How did they handle that close-up? What did they do that made it realistic, or different, or special, or terrible, or funny?
And I know this will likely ruin the program for you (and maybe others if you’re vocal about it), so feel free to re-watch shows or films AFTER you’ve had a chance to enjoy them fully. Re-watch old favourites and see if you can pick out things that you can apply to your own performances.
- Watch Regular People: Yes! People-watching can actually improve your own acting. Now, I implore you to not be CREEPY about it. Don’t stare or take photos, but simply watch human interaction from afar. Or, start paying attention to other people while you’re interacting with them.
Much of acting for TV/Film is trying to recreate reality–especially when you’re playing a smaller role. So pay attention to how the cashier takes your money, or rings groceries through. Watch how a barista makes your espresso, and how they interact with their colleagues. Watch someone laugh at a joke and see if you can pick out something that you haven’t noticed before. Interesting choices make interesting performances.
And that’s it. Two simple, cheap, and effective ways to improve your acting. Let me know in the comments if there have been any interesting habits/ticks you’ve noticed from people-watching.