Listen to any actor interviewed about their road to success, and you’ll see no two actors have the same story. When it comes to show business, there is more than one way to do most things. But like any skill, success is only partly based on talent. Learning, practice and hard work are just as important to achieving any goal. And these days, learning comes in a variety of forms, not just a classroom.
Here are 10 creative ways to discover more about acting:
1. Use Masterclass
It can be difficult to think about fitting in attending a class when you already have a hectic schedule, or maybe there aren’t any acting classes available where you live. Masterclass has you covered. It offers online classes in a variety of subjects taught by celebrities at the top of their field. Classes are reasonably priced and self-paced, with lifetime access. It’s an excellent way to learn more from the comfort of your own home.
2. Read Actor Biographies or Autobiographies
This is another way to garner wisdom from those who have come before you. Learn from others’ experiences and the method behind their top-notching acting skills. Biographies and memoirs could also contain a way of breaking into the business that you haven’t thought about or tried. Consider reading widely, choosing books about retired actors, comedy actors, theatre actors or even movie actors. Each one will bring a different perspective and offer you a well-rounded approach.
3. Be More Observant of People in Action
It’s easy these days to put in our headphones or play on our phones and ignore everyone around us. But studying life and human interaction is one of the simplest ways to learn how to recreate it. Next time you are on the subway or eating your lunch, observe the people around you. Just try not to stare and look like a creep.
4. Listen to Podcasts
There is pretty much a podcast for everything, and theatre is no exception. Get insider tips from “Inside Acting,” or learn all about Broadway on “Broadway Radio” or from interviews with those in the industry on “Theater People.” Listen at the gym, during chores or on your way to work, school or rehearsal, and you’ll turn everyday tasks into a learning opportunity.
5. Teach Others
One way to ensure you understand something is to teach others about it. You might even pick up a few tips by watching how someone else handles a scene. Why not volunteer to teach acting to kids and pass on what you’ve learned Not only will you be helping spread arts education, but you might also learn something from your students.
6. Study People Who Are Like Your Character
We often hear that when movie actors take on a particular role, they will prepare for it by shadowing someone who is like their character. Retiring actor Daniel Day-Lewis is famous for his study and immersion techniques, such as taking lessons from a butcher for his role as William Cutting in “Gangs of New York.” Don’t be embarrassed to ask others for help. Most people are thrilled to talk about their experiences and share their skills.
7. Attend Events That Have a Theatrical Element
Acting onstage and in movies isn’t the only way to explore craft. Those who live outside of the major cities can sometimes despair because there is no theatre where they live, but theatre comes in many forms. Explore your area and see where else you can find acting, such as ghost walks, haunted houses, themed eateries, historical reenactments or theme parks. Seeing others take on a character can give you ideas for your work.
8. Indulge in Other Creative Endeavors
Art is about emotion and expression. The more you exercise your creative muscles, the more you will learn about yourself and your craft. You might even pick up skills that will help you later in a specific role. In the end, creativity breeds more creativity, so stretch yourself and let your imagination play.
Part of acting involves tapping into your prior experiences and using what you know to help you understand your character better. The more you get to know other people and learn about their experiences, the better you will be at tapping into a vast expanse of human emotions.
10. Interview People in Your Field
Back before the internet gave us the ability to find out anything we wanted to know at the touch of a button, it was essential to speak to those who had become successful in your chosen industry to glean their wisdom. Even in this fast-paced world, that advice still stands. That doesn’t mean your only option is to try to cold-call people and ask for advice. That can be daunting if you don’t know anyone in the industry or feel a bit shy. There are other options, such as signing up for a work study course or internship, attending a conference or talk or volunteering at a theatre.
Keep expanding and growing as an actor, and success will someday be yours. Remember, you’re never too old to keep learning.