When you’re booked and busy with different projects you have the pressure of time and memorization to keep you active. But when it’s easy to let your skills and passion get rusty. Then when it’s time for another audition, you don’t show up with the talent you know you’ve got. So don’t let your down time be what keeps you from climbing the ladder of entertainment success. Keep your skills fine tuned and fresh in your mind so you can stay strong during your off times. Here are some of my best tips for doing just that:
- Consider taking an acting class or joining (or forming) a weekly play-reading group to interact with other actors and keep your improvisation and character development skills sharp.
- Set a goal for yourself to read one to three plays a week and thus have a good working knowledge of the broad scope and style of your profession.
- Go to open calls. Even if you aren't called back, just view it as active practice. Brush up weekly on your monologues. You never know when an instant opportunity will come knocking. Who knows? You may land something you didn't expect! How does it get any better than that?
- Read often. In my opinion, that greatest asset an actor can have, aside from talent, is the ability to read and understand the tiny nuances of what you read. Read novels and imagine being the characters. Read reviews on the internet of the plays you are reading. Read poetry. There are many beautifully written poems that are simple to understand. What's great, is these same poems will also change the way you see the world.
- People watch and take notes. Read expressions and emotions. All of these suggestions aim to broaden your understanding of human beings and this world we live in. A greater understanding of human nature will make you a better actor. If you take your "downtime" and use it to read, both people and script, that subsequent growth of your humanity will compensate for the loss of growth as an actor.
- Take care of yourself. In the ideal scenario, all actors would act all the time while also growing and developing as human beings. In an actor's Utopia, everyone would read often, seek out art and nature and listen to great music and have compassion and understanding. Actors are born actors. But great actors must be nurtured and nourished. Go to museums. Go to nature. Combine it with reading and rehearsing. You'll be so glad you did.
The best person to do that nurturing and nourishing is you. As you further your skills in other ways, make sure you’re taking care of yourself and improving yourself on multiple levels. This positions you in a prime energetic state. Casting directors can distinguish between those that take themselves seriously and those that are hoping for a meal ticket. You are in this for the long haul. All careers have a slow period, so make sure yours is optimized.
For more information on acting coaches and acting classes in New York City, please get in touch with us at the New York Acting School for Film and Television and we will get you moving forward!