Learning new techniques in acting is necessary for any actor to truly succeed. But How do you know which techniques to really focus on? The truth is, all the different techniques are important, but you want to start with your strengths and build from there.
One thing that every actor has in common, is their observational skills. Actors know how to watch people. But it's not enough to watch, you want to embody what you see. Our bodies communicate for more that our words do, so it's important to really observe body language. This is such a helpful tool in bettering your acting skills, in addition to taking acting classes and personal coaching.
How to use body language to become a better character actor:
Look at how people are standing. Are their shoulders rounded and slumped forward? This is usually the posture of a person feeling overwhelmed, afraid or undervalued. On the contrary, a person who's shoulders are back and has their chest lifted, is likely feeling confident, happy and ready to take on a challenge.
My favorite places to focus on with the face are the eyes and jaw. With the eyes, having them opened wide can mean shock, excitement or surprise. When the eyes squint, it can mean confusion, fear and strain. Those are just two examples. Notice people's eyes today and see what they tell you. For the jaw, it's similar. Clenched and tight, indicates anger, control, fear, frustration and suppressed rage. A loose jaw can indicate relaxation, apathy, boredom and even shock.
What the hands are doing tell a lot about the persons comfort level. Hands on the hips? Angry and demanding. Holding your own hands and massaging your fingers shows, anxiety and fear; the need to comfort yourself. Clenched fists, as we all know, might mean someone's about to get hit in the face, right? You get the idea!
In the end, keep studying; the more you watch, the more you learn.
Watching people is key both on your down time on the street, during other performances and during classes. You never know when someone's actions will inspire your skill set. Get in touch with us at the New Acting School for Film and Television and we'll get you on the right path quickly!