I get asked all the time what is the easiest and quickest way to become an actor. But to be honest there isn’t just one path to take. However, there are things that you can do to push yourself further along whatever path you go down. Here are my top tips:
Practice, practice, practice:
The best actors out there have been doing this over and over again, and never really stop doing it. Practicing is the only way you can get better, stronger and become more confident with your skills. If you are in school I would suggest doing as many school plays as you can. You can also join a local theatre group, drama club or take up acting classes. Not only will you improve quickly, you will meet new performers/directors and learn more about your craft and the industry.
If you can’t find a place to practice, create one:
This is a very useful tip that applies to all actors at whatever stage in the journey they’re at. It’s likely that you are passionate about something and want to share that passion but don’t know what to do or how to start. For example, I have a friend called Yasmin who wanted to talk about sexual violence against women and what effect that has on society. This is a topic that is important to her and so she decided to write/produce a short film called ‘Consent’. She ended up bringing together a small team (myself included) to help make her vision come true. ‘Consent’ was later entered in a few film competitions and got runner up in the Malala Youth Voice Competition 2015, which wouldn’t have happened if Yasmin hadn’t pursued her idea. (You can have a look at the film by clicking here: “Consent”). The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes you have to create the opportunity you want to receive instead of waiting for it to knock on your door. When you do so more opportunities will definitely arise.
Watch and observe good actors:
Watching films and going to the theatre is a great way to learn how to perform. You get to see the best of the best doing what they love at such a high standard with meaning and purpose. For me, watching someone like Marion Cotillard or Gérard Depardieu is really inspiring and motivating because they are always consistent, they challenge themselves and they can transform themselves to play practically any character. In my free time, I also like to watch some of their interviews on Youtube to really understand how they rehearse, prepare and research for a new role. This gives me tips and ideas about what I can do to improve my performances and really embody the characters I play.
Learn about you:
This tip is such an important one but it’s usually forgotten or neglected. How can you play another character well if you don’t know who you are and what you can with your body, mind, etc.? Getting to know yourself is important because you gain a sense of direction (in term of your goals) and you understand your strengths and weaknesses. If you know what you are good at then you have to opportunity to specialise in that area. For example, if you are good at improvising then you may be good at comedy acting. Or if you have lots of energy and like moving around then you might like to try physical theatre. But you won’t know this until you find out what you like and dislike. If you are aware of your weakness you have something you can work on and strengthen until that very thing becomes your strong point. Find the courage to put yourself out there and try new things. If you don’t like it then that is okay and you can just give something else a go!
Don’t become an actor if you only want to be famous:
Nowadays it seems like most people want to be famous because they want to attain a specific lifestyle e.g. have fans, red carpets, designer clothing, people taking photos of you 24/7, etc. The reality is most actors, maybe around 95%, don’t actually live like that and those you do see on TV are the minority. Being an actor means working hard, attending audition (often never hearing back from people), going to classes/workshops/seminars, doing to drama school for some years and not working as an actor to pay your bills. Now it is definitely possible to become a successful actor with a lasting career. But you have to remember that it only happens to those who are willing to put in the hard work and who are determined to reach their end goal. If that doesn’t sound like you it is best to start looking at other options. But it this sounds exactly like you then go forth and excel!
So those were my top tips and I hope you find them useful. If you have any questions you can ask it in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to answer them. In the future I’ll be sharing more tips as I continue to learn more about the industry and performing!