10 Ways to Become the Ultimate Actor: Performance Techniques

Acting is a performing art that requires a lot of practice and works to perfection. In order to become the ultimate actor, you must know how to approach the development of your character in a play, work on the character until it is stage/ screen worthy and sustain the focus to share the purity of that work – revealing what’s deep inside your character to an audience measured throughout what happens in the story.

Not only will this help land you roles for theater, TV, or film productions, but it can also teach you what happened when an actor forgets his lines during one performance – taking attention away from another actor who was doing well with their part. See what else these 10 ways have taught me!

1. Start Early

Ultimate actor Gets into character early.

Ultimate actor Gets into character early.

Once you have an idea of who your character really is, then you can start developing their story from different angles by writing an in-depth backstory or asking yourself questions such as: ‘What would they do in this situation?’  or ‘What are they thinking right now?’

Sometimes what happens is an actor forgets his lines and it takes the audience’s attention away from another actor who was doing well with their part. Make sure to research what your character enjoys, what they want in life, or how others perceive them by asking questions that pertain to this – then develop what you find.

Get into character early.

Start early on developing what you want your character to be and do.

There are many different ways for an actor to approach the development of their character, but starting early is one way to ensure that they’re fully prepared before jumping into rehearsals. This includes understanding what’s going on in the story – even if it’s just a basic outline of what’s about to take place.

Memorizing lines and blocking is essential but not enough to perform a character in front of an audience well. Getting into the mindset – the point-of-view – and understanding what drives your character is just as important for developing their personality and behavior on stage or when filming.

characterization-and-performance

 

Learn more from an expert with over 40 years of experience on and off-Broadway and become an Ultimate Actor. Check out – Performance Projects with Mel Shapiro.

2. Being Truthful

Don’t lose what makes you unique on stage or screen.

Be truthful and create a world on stage or screen that serves the story. The focus always and above is to tell the story as the writer has intended as powerfully and interestingly as possible within the parameters of that world.

If your character is meant to be a shy, introverted person then don’t suddenly become an outgoing party animal in the scene because it doesn’t fit the story – this would take away from what’s supposed to happen in that particular moment. You want what happens when an actor forgets his lines and what you do to be truthful.

An ultimate actor presenting acting skills on stage.

Do not lose what makes you unique on stage or screen

It’s common for actors, especially those who are new to the field, to put pressure on themselves by trying too hard or attempting what they believe their character would do instead of what actually fits that person best.

As many have said but not so to the point as Stanislavsky, “See yourself in the art and not the art in yourself.”

The definition of acting

It is very important to know what acting means as it can often be misunderstood by people who have never been involved in performing arts before or who are led astray by focusing on self over the story. Acting is the process of representing a character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.

An actor strives to create what they believe their character would do in any given moment while staying truthful to the story and themselves. There are many different techniques that one can use in order to achieve this goal, but being truthful will always be at the forefront.

Acting has a lot of different definitions, Stanislavski’s: “The art of creating believable characters and environments.” but for this article, we will be using the definition by Meisner, “Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” It is an art that must be experienced to understand.

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3. The Script

One of the most important aspects of performing a role is to have a solid understanding of what you will be doing. The character is revealed through actions.

This is where the script comes in and why it’s so important to know your lines. It not only tells you what words your character will be saying but what they’re thinking, feeling, and doing as well.

You should also familiarize yourself with the blocking – or what movement is called for in each scene. This can help you better understand what’s happening around your character and what they’re doing during their interactions.

The tip of the iceberg is to learn all of your lines, walk through any and all stage directions and blocking, and become accustomed to performing from start to finish to learn the arc of the character.

Ultimate Actors reading the script.

It is essential to understand how your character feels

Know the Play Well

This one is self-explanatory. You must know your lines. Then you must know your blocking and character’s actions thoroughly so that you can act by listening during performances – not thinking about it while performing.

When you know what’s going on in the scene and what your character is doing, it becomes much easier to stay in the moment and focus on what’s happening around you. You are then able to create a real conversation with other actors versus just saying your lines.

In order to do this, however, you first must take the time to familiarize yourself with the material. This means reading the entire play, not just your scenes.

Observe the subtext of the scene.

The word ‘subtext’ can be defined as the underlying meaning of a text.

It is essential to understand how your character feels and why they behave in certain ways towards other characters – especially during moments where there are no lines or actions to cover what could best be described by that term “the unspoken truth.” The subtext is the truth of what you are performing.

4. The Research

Find out more about the world of your character by reading books or watching documentaries. Whether performing in front of an audience or on camera, understanding your character’s world is important to understand the most basic questions:

Understand the most basic questions for becoming an Ultimate Actor

  • What do they like and dislike?
  • How do they act and react towards others?
  • What drives them forward throughout their story?

Take Notes

This may seem like something you’d do in school, but when performing it’s essential to take notes on little things that pop up during rehearsal or while performing.

Good actors always come back with questions and ideas about their character or what they could have done better in a certain scene to make it more realistic. By taking notes, you’ll be able to bring up what was missing or what made the scene feel off.

By jotting down any ideas that come to mind during the performance, it will help you process what’s happening while also keeping track of everything so when your director asks what you think about something in the play/ production, they get an answer.

Ultimate Actor working on the research.

The research will help you gain a better sense of direction for the story

The tip of the iceberg is to pay attention to what’s going on around you – then ask questions if something feels off or missing for that particular scene/ moment. If it happens, note what was said and what could be done better especially what goes on in your head – what you’re thinking and why.

It is also important to take note of the personal experiences that you bring forth from within yourself, as they can often be used for performing your role authentically – especially if those moments are applicable and relatable to what’s going on within the story.

Research Everything

The research will help you gain a better sense of direction for the story in that time and place. That is the most important part of performing arts – there must be a reason for everything.

  • What can you do to be more specific about what’s going on?
  • How does the character feel about what they’re doing and why would they act that way towards someone else?

If it is a situation where there are no lines, what should realistically happen within your scene or story – then perform accordingly.

Research helps with this type of thinking so that you can build a world around your character with specific actions and reactions.

By understanding what is happening in the scene, it allows you to stay present and focused on what’s important without having to worry about what comes next. This will help you develop a better sense of how an ultimate actor should perform.

Try out some great acting workshops or great acting classes today!

If you’re ready to take the next step towards a great career as an actor, try out some great acting workshops or great acting classes today!

5. The Body

Learn how to use your body for more than just speaking. In order to capture an audience, you want their eyes on you – not reading text on a page or looking at other actors on stage. Learn how to use your voice and body in order to captivate the audience’s attention, whether that means learning how to project your voice or finding a new way of physically performing your character’s movements.

Voice Over

What is more exciting than the sound of a booming confident voice, let your voice be heard.

Yes, we all know that projecting yourself can make you tired. However, it’s important to learn how to use your body as an instrument through which you speak – not just moving your lips for lines like in school plays when you were young.

Start by practicing voice-over work at home and really trying to get a sense of what the character’s voice would sound like. It doesn’t always have to be big or booming, but find what feels natural for you and the character you’re portraying.

Remember that your body is an instrument so use it accordingly!

Always Practice

Get it in your body. Practice makes perfect when performing any role or skit in front of an audience whether that means rehearsing at home with a mirror or practicing specific lines over and over again before performing.

It’s important to get everything down before performing so you can stay in character and focus on your performance – not the lines themselves.

Perform with Confidence

Remember that there is a reason why you got into performing arts: because you wanted to be on stage, captivating an audience’s attention while telling a story through your words and movements.

You should never give up performing because of stage fright – it’s all about working through the fear and performing anyway, even if that means picking yourself off the floor (literally) when you fall in front of an audience.

Practice makes perfect when performing any role

An Confident Ultimate Actor ready for shot.

Remember what makes you a great actor and performer: what’s going on inside of your head. If the audience is not watching what they’re supposed to be, then there was a mistake made within the performance – whether that means it wasn’t clear enough or if something distracted them from what mattered most.

Give yourself some credit for being able to captivate an audience’s attention through what you’re doing – even if that means getting up and starting again. You will see a lot of mistakes, but the best actors can acknowledge what went wrong to learn from it moving forward into their next performance.

Remember these tips when practicing your acting skills! They’ll help make you not only the ultimate actor but also a mindful person in your everyday life.

6. The Voice

In order to become the ultimate actor, you need to be able to use your voice and body in interesting ways to capture an audience’s attention. Learn how to memorize lines and blocking, but also delve into your character’s mindset before performing.

Voice Control

Working on your voice is essential for performing – it’s something that most people tend to neglect, but the better you are at using your voice, the more effective your acting will be. It not only helps with projecting out into a room without having to yell but also articulates words in order to have them heard and understood by the audience.

Performance Techniques

Having performance techniques at your fingertips is essential for performing – you never know what’s going to happen during a performance so it helps if you have some go-to techniques for the voice and more that work in different situations and under different conditions.

Performance Techniques

Learn more from an expert with over 40 years of experience on and off-Broadway – Performance Projects with Mel Shapiro.

Nail the basics before attempting more technical skills because they are only effective if executed properly.

7. The Mindset

Not everyone can be an actor or performer. It takes more than just talent to become the ultimate actor – you need to have passion and drive in order for the work to feel like second nature rather than something that is forced upon you.

You should never give up on performing because it will take a lot of time and patience to become the best performing artist you can be. Here are some tips on what you should do to approach the mindset of becoming an ultimate actor.

No Two Performances/Characters Are Alike When it comes to acting, there is no such thing as a typical performance since every role and character is different from what came before – even if they have similar backstories or plots.

Acting students discussing in Drama Class.

It takes more than just talent to become the ultimate actor – The Mindset

If performing arts is something that you love and want to be a part of your life, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it. There will always be skepticism from others who don’t understand the performing world but if this is what makes you happy – then go for it.

If performing arts is what you love, make sure that the finished product reflects this passion and hard work. It’s easy to get caught up in performing but remember why you’re on stage: to convey a story with your words and movements while captivating an audience.

Remember what makes you a great actor and performer: what’s going on inside of your head. If the audience is not interested, then there was something missing within the performance – whether that means it wasn’t clear enough or if something distracted them from what mattered most.

Emily Brown

8. Warm-Up

Take care of your voice and body so they can support you during a performance.  Get up and move around before performing so you can get the blood flowing and the muscles warm-up.

During a performance, it’s common to forget about your body – but this is where physical theatre comes in as an important form of performing arts that focuses on using your body rather than just words or actions.

It’s important to have some sort of warm-up before performing so that you can get the blood flowing and muscles warmed up. Get your body moving around whether it be through stretches or small movements – anything goes as long as it wakes you up!

Before performing, make sure to take care of yourself by doing something that will get the blood flowing and muscles warmed up. You never know what’s going to happen during a performance so it helps if you have some go-to techniques for the voice and more that work in different situations and under different conditions.

Click here for a free 15 minute coaching session

Want to know how you can become an Ultimate Actor? We can help! Click Here for a Free 15-minute Coaching Session.

9. Post Performance Care

After a performance has ended, don’t forget about taking care of yourself – this includes performing arts as well. If performing arts is your passion, you need to be able to look after yourself and make sure that everything else in your life isn’t neglected to be the best performing artist you can be.

It’s important to take some time for yourself after a performance in order to reflect on what went well and what could use improvement. This is also a good time to talk to other actors or professionals who have more experience so you can learn from them and grow as an artist.

Just like any other artform, don’t forget to take care of yourself after a performance. This means drinking plenty of water, eating healthy foods, and not pushing your body too hard after being on stage for an extended period of time. It’s also important to reflect on the performance and what went well/ what could use improvement with other actors or professionals who have more experience in the field.

10. Improvise

Don’t be afraid to improvise during rehearsals!

You never know what’s going to happen when performing – whether you’re performing on a stage or in front of an audience, anything can go wrong unexpectedly.

Drama students learning the tips to Become the Ultimate Actor.

Do not be afraid to improvise during rehearsals!

Be Prepared for Anything

Don’t be afraid to improvise during rehearsals! Improvising will help you get more comfortable with what’s going on and stay in the moment. Plus, it can make for a fun time even though you’re still practicing what needs to go down when the curtain goes up.

Remember that anything can happen when performing – whether it’s an unexpected noise or a mistake on your part.

The best way to deal with this is by being prepared so that you’re still able to focus on the performance and not what’s going wrong.

This includes rehearsing with improvisation so that if something unexpected happens, you know how to handle it without panicking.

In order to be the ultimate actor, you need strong performing artistry skills. The 10 tips listed above provide essential information for what aspiring actors can do in order to hone their technique and become well-rounded performers. In addition, by taking care of your body before performances commence or during rehearsals with vocal exercises, you can ensure that if something goes wrong while on stage or being filmed – such as forgetting one’s lines – there are preventative measures taken so you’re still able to perform confidently and composedly.

Which performance techniques in the article have helped you? Let us know!

Schedule a call to become an Ultimate Actor.

If you’re interested in acting classes or want more information on acting careers, contact our team for help with your acting goals! We’ll be happy to discuss the benefits of an acting career and how we can work together to make them happen.

Summary

In order to become the ultimate actor, you need strong performing artistry skills. The 10 tips listed above provide essential information for what aspiring actors can do in order to hone their technique and become well-rounded performers. These tips include warming up your body before a performance, taking care of yourself after a performance, and improvising during rehearsals. You can prepare yourself for any immediate situation that might occur while on stage  by following these guidelines.

 

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About Author

emergeblog
Jeremiah O`Brian
Master Teacher  | USC School of Dramatic Arts

Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.

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