Friday, June 28, 2013

First Grad of Acting School! (and resume advice)

We have officially had the first graduate of the Acting School!

I will have to start working on an Acting 2 class now :)

Acting Resume Advice
In addition to a good learning experience, completing the Acting School is something you can put on your acting resume. When you're starting out, it's good to have as much on your Acting resume as possible. Include all your school plays (casting directors like theatre experience) and all the acting schools and workshops you do. You also want to include a list of talents on your resume such as singing. But also include skills such as photography and horseback riding to the list if you have them. Sometimes casting directors need actors who how to ride a horse. Never say you have a skill you don't though. If you've never been on a horse but say you have riding experience, you'll be in for a pretty big shock your first day on set and could create a lot of problems which would prevent you from getting more jobs in the future.

Thank you to everyone who is participating in the Free Acting School. Here is what your certificate will look like when you complete the class.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Acting Tips: Finding the Right Emotion

Question: I am playing an old sick man in a play, my director says am not bringing out emotions. How do i achieve this?

Answer: It can be a challenge to play a part very different from yourself. If you're neither old nor been very sick, it's tough to connect to the character.

First, look at each line and think about what your character might be thinking. And what emotion they are feeling? Then try to actually feel that emotion inside you nd say the line. By feeling the emotion, your line should change.

Do you have any older relatives you could visit with? Or a local senior citizen home you could go to? Spending time with an older person and watching them can help. See how they move differently, sound different and act different. And if you know them well, have them read the lines for you to see how they would say them.

Art from

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to perform a monologue (acting tips)

Someone asked for tips on performing monologues:

The main mistake I see actors make when performing monologues is that they pick only one emotion and use it throughout the whole monologue.

One example is with the monologue called Demons:

When I had actors try this, several selected one sad or angry emotion and used it throughout which made it a boring performance. The best performances were the ones who selected different types of emotions for different parts of the script. Even though the whole monologue is sad, there are elements of anger, fear, hurting, desperation, madness and even love. The actors that found different emotions to use in different parts were the most interesting and enjoyable to listen to.

See monologues:

Art from

Monday, June 24, 2013

Learn about Acting through Improv Theatre Games

A great way to learn about acting is through improv (theatre games):

What is acting? What types of acting do people do? Movies, television, theatre. What is theatre like? How is it different from television and movies?

Do you want to be actors today? Actors have to practice and they play games to practice being good actors.

K-6 Honey Walk: All students stand and walk in place. The instructor calls out different things they must pretend to walk through. Snow, deeper snow, ice, water, mud, jello, honey...

Actors have to be good at pretending.

K-6 Pass the Ball: All students in a circle. Ask the students to pass a mimed ball to others quickly. Then when it gets back to the instructor, the instructor changes the ball in some way: it becomes heavier, until it weighs a ton, or extremely light, extremely big (and light or heavy) or extremely small (and light or heavy). The ball can take on other characteristics (or adjectives) such as hot, cold, etc. Students need to show the ball's characteristics in the way it gets passed. Instructor let students suggest other ways the ball changes to extend the activity. The instructor can also give the ball sounds that need to be passed as well and the students must imitate the sounds.

Have to be aware of other actors. Good actors can work with other actors and learn to react to what they are doing.

K-6 Group Stop: Everyone quietly mills about the room. When the instructor yells stop, then everyone must stop. After doing this a couple of times, the instructor will freeze in position unexpectedly and not say stop. As soon as one notices that the instructor has frozen in position they freeze as well. So the effect of one person freezing causes everyone to freeze. Once everyone is still the group starts milling around again. The goal is to see how quickly the group can freeze in position. Once the students get the hang of it, then the instructor will have everyone close their eyes. The instructor will tap a student on the shoulder and that student becomes the secret leader. Everyone opens their eyes and then starts moving around the room. The secret leader freezes and everyone must freeze. The other student then guess who the secret leader was. If they can’t tell, then everyone starts again and tries to figure it out. Then the instructor selects a new secret student and continues. Try to see which student can be the secret student the longest.

Discuss how actors need to practice different emotions. Ask the students if they’ve even been stuck somewhere. Discuss the emotions they felt when they were stuck. The students may say things like scared, happy, sad. Once the instructor gets a variety of answers/emotions, then the next game begins.

K-6 Shrinking Box: Actors pantomine that they are in a very large box. At first they might think it is fun and get excited. The students show that emotion. Then they might get mad and show that emotion. Then they might get sad and cry. Then the box gets smaller. They find the sides of the box and then show the same three emotions again. The box shrinks a couple more times until they are on the floor. Then they must figure out a way to escape. The students call out ideas and then the instructor picks an idea and they escape with that idea.

Actors must learn to copy different characters. Do ever copy something you see in a tv show or movie? Like Homer Simpson “Doh!”

Copy cats: The instructor leads the students. The students must copy everything the instructor does.

Mirror Exercise: Pair up students. One student is the mirror and must copy everything the other student does.

3 Noses: A fun and silly game. Let everyone walk leisurely around the room. When you shout '3 Noses' the players must form little groups, each group consisting of 3 touching noses. Use your imagination - say 4 feet, 3 hands, 2 ears, 9 fingers, 5 hips, 4 elbows, 3 heads, 7 left big toes, 4 little fingers. Repeat till everyone is giggling.

Actors must be able to do different types of acting. What is a fairy tale?

Fairy Tale in a Minute: The students pick a fairy tale (or get one from the instructor) and then act out the story in one minute. For older students: Then they must act out the same story in 30 seconds. THEN they must act it out in 10 seconds.

Melodrama: We have an old fashioned melodrama for you, but with a twist. The twists will be based on suggestions from other students. We have three characters: a damsel in distress, a hero, and a villain. Students: you will Boo at Villain, Cheer for Hero, Ahhh for Damsel. Students will suggest... Damsel: something strange to raise on a farm, Villain: a weird form of torture, Hero: an odd weapon someone might use to stop a villain.

A way for actors to practice speaking clearly is Tongue Twisters.

Hidden Hot Spot: Instructor divides room up in four areas. Students move around and then the instructor says stop and they must freeze. Then they reveal what four areas are (sing, dance, exercise, sleep). These can be written on cards. Then students move around the room and the four areas change (either mix up four areas or add new ones).

Happy Place: Sit and think about your happy place. Where is a place you really like to go? Open your eyes and tell us some of your happy places. Now close your eyes again and imagine doing something fun in your happy place. With your eyes closed show us what you’re doing without making any sound. Instructor can pick students who are doing good pantomime and bring them up front. Have students guess what they’re doing. Ends up in charades.

Another game: Here Comes Jack and Jill - Students get up in groups of four. Two of the team members describe what the other two (Jack and Jill) are like and then the two others enter and act the way they were described. After everyone gets a turn and if everyone is having fun, then the teams can go again and switch roles.

New idea: Follow the leader to get into line – silly walk – yell out “that’s not a very silly walk when you have an idea for a fun one.