Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Becoming an actor seems easy, but is tough.
You have to improve on your acting skills if you want to be a successful actor or actress.
If you are looking for how to develop your acting skills at home, then this is for you.
In this article, I'll show you how you can improve on your acting from the comfort of your home.
Without further ado,
Let's dive in,
1. Read plays out loud
When I was a kid, I remember reading plays like Peter Pan, The Tempest, Hamlet, Romeo, and Juliet (mostly Shakespearean plays). I enjoyed reading Peter Pan a LOT so I read it countless times.
I didn't just read it, I read it out Loud. I never knew anything about the effects of reading out loud, I just read it for the joy of it.
Guess what? It helped me become good at storytelling. I didn't realize it until now.
Reading plays (and out LOUD too!) will help tremendously in your journey to becoming an actor.
It helps you understand the structure of the story. It'll also help you become better at telling stories.
Know this, as an actor, you're already a storyteller.
Plays help you become better at cold reading especially when a casting director gives you any piece to read, you'll flow naturally without any hassle.
You will understand language and dialogue. The more you read, the better an actor you become.
According to Stagemilk, Andrew Henry, an artistic director of Red Line Production, reads 8 plays a week!
8 PLAYS! That's crazy but cool.
It's all about improving your acting skills right? You too can, it's achievable.You can write a goal of the number of plays you'll read every week and work it out.
Don't forget to keep your dictionary handy in case you see a word you aren't familiar with. This in turn will help increase your vocabulary.
Here are some examples of good plays every aspiring actor should read:
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The Homecoming by Harold Pinter
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
King Lear by William Shakespeare
When you read, imagine how each scene looks like and ask yourself these simple questions,
What are the motivations of the characters in the play?
What can I learn from this play?
Can I act like any of the characters in the play?
This will help you become better at analyzing the characters involved.
Note that, some plays might be interesting while some might be boring. You aren't reading for the fun of it... You are reading to understand how the story works.
Don't limit yourself to the plays above, you can read ANYTHING you lay your hands on. Even if it is a newspaper article… Just Anything!
2. Reading Acting books
No matter the skill you want to learn, you have to read books. You cannot run away from reading. You can learn and connect with an Expert from their books. Acting is not an exception.
Yes, acting is mostly about practicing but you need to read too. Studying and reading acting books is an outstanding way to improve your skills as an actor.
To be great in acting, you need a strong sense of empathy, that's where reading books come in - it helps to increase your empathy level.
Reading acting books will help you understand what motivates the characters and how they feel.
Also, it helps to increase your vocabulary and develops your memory.
Audition by Michael Shurtleff
An actor prepares by Constantin Stanislavski
To the actor by Micheal Checkov
Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen
Power of the Actor by Ivana Chubbuck
And so much more!
3. Watching good movies and Tv shows
While watching movies, don’t get too excited about how interesting the movie might be. Rather, focus on the characters in the movie and how they perform.
Take notes of their movements and how they express themselves. See how they immerse themselves in the character. Your goal here is to understand and analyze their performances.
Here are some examples of good movies every actor should watch
The Godfather (highly recommended!)
The Dark Knight
'Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
All about Eve (1960)
The gods must be crazy 1 & 2(1980 & 1989)
Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)
4. Study the “Famous” in acting
Do you have great actor(s) or actress(s) you aspire to be like?
You can study them and understand how they got to where they are.
Watch their interviews, movies, and anything you can about their acting career. Watch how they express themselves.
Wear your study hat and get to work. Don’t just attempt to copy what they do.
All you need to do is focus primarily on what they think is important you do as an actor and then implement it.
Let’s start from somewhere.
A great resource for watching talented actors interview is, Inside the actor's studio by ovation; this show features great actors who discussed how they got into acting and their lives as actors and actresses.
Interviews of great actors and actresses like Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Fox, Angelina
Jolie, Martin Lawrence, Nicolas Cage, and lots more!
5. Work on your voice
This is one of the treasures you have as an actor.
Your voice communicates how you feel. You must work on your voice. While watching great actors, you’ll notice how they clearly expressed themselves using their voices.
Your voice needs to articulate and resonate with any character given to act. This, in turn, can help you land more acting jobs.
You can start by doing these voice warming exercises.
6. Make a Recording of Yourself
Take up your phone and record yourself talking or acting.
This will unveil so many things for you. You’ll see how you express different emotions. You can make audio recordings to analyze your voice and video recordings to watch your movements and expressions.
This will help you learn and act better in front of a camera.
Finally, you need to…
7. Get Fit
You will need a LOT of energy to act. When you are fit, it helps you to be physically and mentally stable.
What exercise or physical activity do you love?
Is it jumping, running short or long miles, dancing, taking a walk.
Discover what you love doing and stick to it. It’s better to show up daily for 10 minutes than doing the same thing intensively for an hour once a month.
Consistency is key.
Anything you know you can do to help your body stay active. Please do.
To develop your acting skills at home, you need to:
Read acting books
Work on your voice
Watch good movies and Tv shows
Study great actors and actresses
Make a recording of yourself
Stella Adler said,
The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.
Above everything else, work on your mind.
Believe that you can do it. Believe in yourself.
You have the absolute power to become who you want to be.
Remember that all great actors and actresses were once amateurs- they were once like you.
Discipline yourself and work your way up.
You will succeed!