Acting is one of the most vulnerable careers you can pursue. You have to wear your heart on your sleeve in a room full of people who are all focusing on every little thing you do. When I did it, it made me a constantly self conscious about whether or not I did a good job. I’m sure I was better than I thought; the casting director hired me for a reason and it’s because they saw a little thing called talent. Here are a couple tips I’ve learned from my experience in the acting world!
Talk to your Director!
In film, communication is key. If you’re not talking to the director, then you’d be in a lot trouble. Once when I was acting in this student film, I had to balance my body on my shoulders with my feet in the air, while I pretended to read a book balanced on my feet. It was a difficult position to hold to say the least. I was also wearing a red cape and a multi coloured paper clip necklace. It was odd to me, but it was what my director wanted, so I did it.
The director used this action to explain to the audience what the character was like in a nonverbal way, which in a short film saves a lot of precious time. It ended up being a very comedic scene and I had a lot of fun with the character. What helped me through this was knowing my director’s vision for the film and scene. I sat down with the director and talked to her about the character before and during filming.
Talk to Your Friends!
Last year, I went to an acting program in Kona, Hawaii for three months which gave me a lot of experience in student short films. When I got home, I hesitated showing these films to my family and friends. I thought that everyone else in the films did so much better than I did.
However, I could only hide my films for so long and I had to show my friends and family what I’d done for the past three months. As we watched, my every flaw was pouring out of my TV screen and I shrunk lower and lower into my seat. Once they were finished watching them I knew they were going to say something kind because that’s the right thing to do, but when they talked to me about my films they looked at me and genuinely told me I did a good job. It wasn’t like when you tell a small child that their painting is beautiful and you can’t actually tell what it is, my friends and family actually really did like my films.
My friends and family saw my performance in a different light than I did. While I was seeing all the flaws of my performance they were seeing all the good. Be sure to surround yourself with people who are going to tell you what they think, because it’ll give you a reassurance you can’t give yourself.
Talk to Yourself.
Everyone’s a critic and I criticize myself the most! I know that when I watch myself onscreen I wonder if that’s what I really look like, sound like, and I feel like giving up on acting completely. How could I ever compete with the actors of Hollywood?
The thing is…those actors didn’t start out great. After hours and hours of hard work and job after job, they’ve worked on their craft and got to where they are today. It would be easy to give up if I got a bad review for a film, but it would be even better if I proved them wrong by getting better.
My acting is nowhere near perfect and there are days where I watch films and they make it look so easy, but that’s when I have to think more highly of myself and strive toward a goal.
When you start watching your material over and over again to find the flaws in your performance, it will never help you. Hard work and practice is what’s going to get you to the top of the acting mountain. Turn off that TV, tell yourself you can do this, and go for it! That’s what all of us actors and actresses have to do. Have fun acting and get the experience so you can become the actor or actress you want to be.
I acted, it sucked, but I’m getting better. I have to keep pursuing it and strive for my best. My acting isn’t just standing in front of a camera for the first time and doing it perfectly. On set we go for take after take after take until we get the best performance I can give. There’s always going to be days where I look at my performance and see all the flaws, but everyone in the acting business has an off day.
Remember to communicate with your director, family and friends, and most of all yourself. You’ll never reach your creative potential if you stop.