I want you to hone in on people watching. Yes, most of us naturally people watch from a passive perspective. But have you ever stopped to really watch? Really notice peoples movements, responses, body language and facial expressions?
People everywhere speak with body language, we do it more than with our verbal language and we often hardly realize it! What do you think about or notice when you see someone who is always stiff and almost robotic, or someone who slouches and leans forward constantly? When a people are grinning or giggling in a certain way, how do you react? Keep in mind that people as a race, are constantly assessing one another's moods, status, reputation, esteem (self confidence) and intelligence. We can even be deceived when observing people's body languages. A poor man may seem wealthier just by standing a certain way, or confident by the way they walk or even move through a crowd.
Keep studying the world around you, because the more you watch, the more you will learn. At the very least, stand in front of a mirror and practice various poses and expressions and think about how they make you feel and how you would feel seeing someone else doing it. Or conversely, when you experience an emotion, go to a mirror and see how your body is reacting. What are your shoulders, eyes and lips doing?
Take it further. One last key factor that I really recommend is watching professional actors do their thing. Not only will it help eliminate some of the competitiveness and but awakens respect for the other artists in your industry while allowing you to glean from their lessons learned. As well, live theater can an incredibly fun and educational experience. Go see a few plays at your local theater. If plays are not an option, then keep it simple and rent some "classic" movies and study what the actors/actress do. Don't copy their techniques, but analyze how they use their techniques to come across as a "better" actor, body language, voice inflection, volume, etc. Also, notice the "not-so-talented" actors, and be sure to not make the same mistakes. Try and observe as many examples of both the good the bad to try and asses your personal conception of ways to perform better.
Learning by seeing and doing. This is an old method that's been tried and found to be true. For more information on classes and taking your career further, visit us at the New York Acting School for Film in the heart of New York City; where dreams come alive!