For actors, their body and their senses are the instruments and you have to practice them to get better at it.
You have that intention of practice but you don’t know how to practice acting. You need the right process that takes your acting skills to the next level. This is what I am going to give you in this post.
Before you go into the process ensure you set aside a block of time just for practicing your acting. It can be either in the morning or in the evening. Even one hour a day is more than enough. But it has to be a routine activity that you should never skip.
Detailed Process To Practice Acting By Yourself
Here I am going to give you a good overview of how you should practice the art of acting by yourself or even with your fellow actors. Using this overview you will be able to create a well-detailed process of it. So let’s see what is the process:
1. Do Acting Exercises
Acting exercises are the key aspect when you are looking to improve your acting. There are a number of acting exercises. However, you should choose the ones that are close to your acting technique.
All the actors follow some or other acting techniques. Some may like the traditional Stanislavsky method of acting, some may prefer going with Meisner or some may like modern acting techniques like Ivana Chubbuck’s.
Whatever you use, learn the different acting exercises associated with the technique. You don’t have to learn all of them but you can shortlist the ones that are most important.
One important I want to point out here is that there are two types of acting exercise:
- Warmup acting exercises
- Core acting exercises
Warm-up exercises are designed to open up your body, mind, and senses whereas the core acting exercises are designed to improve your acting skills.
So always use acting exercises in two phases. First, use warm-up exercises so that you prepare yourself for core acting exercises. If you want you can use my acting exercise routine which includes seven exercises. It is based on Eric Morris acting technique.
One piece of advice I have for you is, do not exhaust yourself doing this exercise during the day because as an actor, you have to be at your best for auditions or your performances. Doing exercises early in the morning for 1-2 hours is more than enough.
2. Create New Character
Acting is all about living a fictional character’s life. Every exercise, every acting technique leads to living the character. So it is wise to practice creating characters as well.
My advice to you is to have a character-creating process in place so that you know how to create a character.
I personally start with my 100 questions to build a character worksheet because it helps me build an all-around background for the character. If you want you can buy it.
In creating a character, knowing the character inside is the first phase. For that, you have asked the right questions to get the right answer. For knowing everything about the character, read the script at least twice. And also use your imagination if something is not given in the script. Usually, you have to know their things about the character:
- Physicality (looks, walks, way of talking, body language)
- Psychology ( how he or she thinks, perception, opinion, views, etc.)
- Sociology (behavior with other characters, position in the society, etc.)
When you know these three things you have to imbibe the qualities so that you become the character.
The way you can do this is by practicing different aspects of character like its walking style, body language, etc. If you want to learn a detailed process on how to develop a character you can look at my post.
Dedicate a week or 10 days to prepare for some character. You can pick characters from movies that you love, or favorite plays or create a completely new character. You don’t have to memorize lines or monologues, just go through the process of creating a character.
3. Record Yourself
In acting, getting feedback is important as it keeps you on your toes. When you are practicing alone, there is no one to see your practice session or performance. So you won’t be able to see or tell what things you are doing wrong. There is no one to give you feedback.
The only way to see what you are doing wrong is to record yourself. You don’t have to use a fancy camera set up. You can use an average DSLR or your phone to record yourself. Buy a quality tripod, a background, and a few lights so that you can create a place where you can record yourself.
You should not only record your performances but also record your exercises. You can keep the camera in the corner and make it record your entire practice session.
4. Prepare A Performance
There is no acting exercise better than preparing and performing a monologue or a scene. When you are preparing for a performance you will cover everything from acting exercises to creating a character etc.
Also, I feel unless you don’t have the habit of performing, be it in front of an audience or camera, you cannot be a professional actor. Our acting coach used to push us to perform every 10 days. He felt, waiting for the part would kill your acting. Rather than create the part and perform it. It doesn’t matter where you perform, be it on stage or be it in your bedroom.
If you are a struggling actor, you can even arrange to invite your friends or family to see you perform. Prepare a small piece. If you are alone, prepare a monologue and if you have actor friends, you can prepare a play or scene. It has to be a full-fledged performance with props, makeup, and costumes.
After your performance, you can ask the audience for their honest feedback. There is nothing better than getting real-time feedback from your audience. This is the fastest way to improve your acting.
And in case you are not able to get an audience, you can record your performance or shoot it like a movie with help of your director friends. Then send it to your family members and friends and then ask for their feedback.
Whatever acting exercises you do or whatever may be your practice routine for your acting, the essence here is to be in touch with the acting within. Perform regularly, do not wait for the part to come to you. Create your own plays, movies, or short films just to act. It doesn’t matter who sees it. Just be ready to perform as an actor every day.