Actors need to be great communicators. As they also need to be great connectors and observers.
If you are not these three things then I’m sorry to say you are bound to fail.
But it’s not all bad news here.
You can learn these traits. Well….. better said you NEED to learn these traits as actors need to communicate very complex ideas, very quickly.
In fact, as an actor you need to communicate the entire essence of a human being, and do it so simply that just by entering the shot or stage you are embodying the role.
Every gesture, every word, every vocal inflection communicates. Your existence as an actor communicates. If you are successful in your communication people will stop and listen to you, watch you, and be eager to engage with your character .
Remember our whole ethos here at The Audition Technique. Without communication you have no relationships in life. This is never truer with actors. Actors are only truly believable by their relationships and their engagement with the other characters.
How do you improve your communication skills? Start by understanding that a communication starts with you, and the way you relate to the other characters within your play/ film..
Connecting and collaborating is the name of the game here both in acting and in life.
1. Listen Listen Listen
To listen you must be:
- give attention
- apply or direct yourself
- pay attention
- remain ready to serve your character
Mentally screen out distractions, like background activity and noise. Listening is a skill. Without listening you cannot hear the lines you are supposed to be reacting to. You are just repeating the lines you have learned so there will be no genuine connection nor relationship.
Finally, don’t be distracted by your own thoughts, feelings, or biases.
Listen! Listen! Listen!
2. Learn to understand non-verbal cues
Body language is everything.
The way you stand when talking to someone may not seem like a big deal, but body language tells its own story, whether we’re conscious of it or not.
We instinctively know that someone may be frustrated or disengaged if they stand with their arms folded, or feeling anxious if they play with their hair.
How does this affect your character and what you are wanting to convey?
Learning to be aware of your own body language can help you communicate a consistent message. Picking up on the non-verbal cues of others can also help you read between the lines.
3. Imagination and Story Telling
Actors are story tellers. The business is about telling stories. Your communication skills are used to tell stories and to bring people into these stories.
Using your imagination is imperative to bring people into your characters world. Do your research by finding images that help inform your character and where they live and what life they inhabit. Bring in these images when you tell your characters story.
Most actors are nervous. Nervous in auditions. Nervous on stage. Nervous when working with respected actors and nervous when we hear “Action!”
Conquering nerves is a tough one and one which I have written about in one of our many Newsletters. In our Audition Masterclass series we have a specific course just to help you overcome nerves specifically in the audition space.
Nervousness gets in your way. It is blocking the flow of energy inside the body. People with great communication skills manage to stay relaxed when they communicate even when they are deeply touched by what they are saying.
Every great acting teacher have emphasized on the importance of being relaxed.
This Youtube video of Matt Damon best explains his approach when working with famous actors. Make the decision to not be nervous! https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=40&v=qXc5pODRrAk
5. Being Truthful and Congruent
Being truthful and genuine is not as easy as it sounds, yet it is, once you understand the fundamentals.
Being truthful comes when you marry in perfect harmony the verbal and non verbal (body language) together. You must convey the same message both verbally and non verbally.
Every actor wants to be truthful when acting, hence your research into your character and his/ her relationships are everything.
But it doesn’t start and stop in acting. If you can’t be truthful in every day life then you will never conquer it in your acting. You must learn to be yourself and use those individual personality traits to colour and inhabit your character. You learn all of this in our Creating Compelling Characters Course.
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