An Actor's Homework

SCHOOL'S IN SESSION

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

School is back and session, and for most students, that means lots of homework as well. With so much work to do, there's no way you should add something else to your plate, right? Um, WRONG! While schoolwork should come before extracurriculars, being an actor requires a little extra work at home as well. Let's say you're in an AOS acting class already. Great start, you're on the right track. But your work shouldn't end when class does, just like in school. You heard me. Homework for actors.

Actors have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their art. First things first, address which 'subject' you're having trouble with, just as you would in school. Are you having trouble memorizing your lines? Having a hard time projecting your voice? Wherever your weaknesses lie, those areas should be the focus of your extra assignments. 

Next, consider hiring a tutor for that subject, like you would for those tricky math problems. By this, of course, I mean acting lessons. Even the best actor can benefit from one on one instruction. Let your teacher know what areas you struggle in and have him or her focus on that. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

Now that you've got your tutor in place, get ready to put in the work! Spend time in between classes and lessons to do the following things:

  • Scene/character study- take time to understand your scenes and the characters in them. Who are they? What drives them? I'm not assigning a biographical report, but definitely go deeper than the surface. 
  • Practice and memorize your lines- this one is a given, but try applying some different techniques, maybe some that you would use for vocabulary words our your foreign language class like flashcards and word games. Projecting will be easier when you have confidence in your lines.
  • Refine your facial expressions- just like you would practice your eye contact for a presentation in the mirror as the final touch, practice your acting lines in the mirror so you can watch your facial expressions and gestures. These are what will bring your performance to life. 
  • Look for opportunities- a good student is always looking for extra opportunities, extra credit, if you will. Your extra credit as an actor could be workshops or even unpaid gigs that you know will look good on your resume and give you good experience.

You've gotta do your homework to get good grades in school, and the same thing goes for acting. Put in a little work at home, and you'll not only excel in your acting classes, but your acting career as well. 

Written by Katherine White / August 25, 2017