This is what all the great actors have in common.
Words, words, words, says Hamlet to Polonius. This play also includes a scene where Hamlet gives one of the most detailed descriptions of great acting written anywhere. I always tell young actors who ask for advice, that you must start to love language and words. It seems relatively simple, yet so many actors worry about their hands, how they are standing, gestures, or the ever killer of great acting: emotion.
This will be my first article about practical acting notes you can use to get better at your craft. These are 3 crucial lessons to learn whether you are an aspiring actor or an experienced actor:
1) Words need breath. When you do not breathe you do not have a connection with the word. In extension, the audience cannot hear you. This includes you film and television actors. It doesn’t matter if you have a microphone, whispering and mumbling is not a form of acting unless that is what you are playing. You lose connection and power with the word. The audience needs to hear the word.
2) You need to destroy the word. You must lift it off the page and hear the sense of the word. Words come from primal language. Many words come from how the word sounds or how that word made human beings feel. As the actor, you need to hear the sense and know how it sounds. Words are weapons in the war of language.
3) Diction. As a reference to above with mumbling and whispering, it is not about shouting. Diction is the key to an audience hearing the word and never showing them the range of your power until you unleash it. That is the practical aspect of diction. The most important for an actor to know is diction is motive. It’s intention. Try looking at the consonants in swear words and do the exercise of hitting those last consonants with all of your might. Motive and intention. The audience will get exactly what you mean. Now extend that to other words in your character’s argument.
This is the beginning of your acting training. Start with these 3 tools in your craft and you will be well on your way to becoming a better actor. Remember, acting is a craft. It is one of the oldest crafts on the planet. All of the greats have passed down the tools to their trade over centuries of practice in front of an audience. It is also a craft that you hone and perfect for the rest of your life.
Yes, you may leave tips if you found this helpful! :) I would love to spend my time writing about the lessons I have learned over 20 years working with some of the greatest actors and directors in the world.
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And please feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk about acting, directing, the theatre, etc. I love meeting other artists and talking about the work! Now go out there and change the world…