Far too many actors wait until they have an audition or book a job before the put the time, effort and energy into working on their craft. That's a fatal flaw because those actors that do spend time every day, every week, working on their craft are the ones who generally enjoy long-term success. So, make a promise to yourself that you will work on your craft technique at least once every day. And if you just fell off your chair thinking that once per day is too much, think about it like this...Does a professional athlete only prepare, practice and train on game days? No, of course not. Professional athletes work on their skills daily. Any professional in any profession is constantly working on their skills. You should be no different. In fact you should challenge yourself to be the standard that everyone aspires to emulate.
But what if you don't have any auditions lined up or you're not in a production? What could you do? Well, the obvious is that you should always be studying, taking classes, being around other like-minded actors. You could grab any script off your bookshelf (and oh yes, every actor should have a bookshelf of plays - I have over 2,000 in my collection) and start working on memorizing a short monologue. I shared this image before, but I'm so proud of it that I will share it again. Here's a picture of my home library of scripts.
Here's an idea, call up an actor friend and arrange to read a scene together. Or if you really want to have fun, take it out into the public. I love riding the subway and I sit down and hold a wedding ring between my thumb and index finger and I imagine I've lost a loved one. I create her sensorily and I re-experience how she passed. I create the smells, the sights, the sounds, and the entire experience of her. I allow my senses to be effected and I allow my body, my emotions and my imagination to respond. Sometime I cry. Sometimes I radiate a darkness that people can feel. And I wait for people to engage me in conversation. I can see them looking at me with concern in their eyes. Sometimes it takes a while, but usually one brave stranger will come up to me and ask,
"ARE YOU OK?"
And I share the imagined story with them, allowing myself to be effected and altered by the stranger's compassion, emotionality and behavior. I work off of them as if I were in an improv exercise in class. It's exhilarating and o much fun. Other times, I walk around the city and I randomly (and at a very safe distance - always at a very safe distance) observe someone with a unique walk and I try to mirror their every move. I allow their walk, their essence, to effect me and I see how my emotions, thoughts, and behavior changes simply by adopting someone else's walk. (Just in case you're wondering, this technique is explored inside the Toolbox within the Craft Techniques of Prototypes and Substitutions) And then I go into a coffee shop or a cafe and order a coffee and something to eat, all the while maintaining the essence of that person I briefly observed and mirrored before. I let my voice, my mannerisms, my personality all be altered by my perception, my interpretation of that stranger's essence. I don't actually know what they sound like or how they behave, but I trust my body because
YOUR BODY KNOWS WHAT TO DO LONG BEFORE YOUR HEAD EVER FIGURES IT OUT.
Here are just a few other ideas to help get you motivated to work on your craft today (and every day)
You can work on your voice with so many different vocal exercises - there are many inside the Toolbox.
You can work on memorizing various genres of monologues so you have many to choose from at auditions.
You can write a play (It's May 2020 right now. My latest play, 'Thanks, Brother' will be performed in January 2021 - assuming theaters are open after we get past this COVID-19 pandemic)
You can watch a movie and discuss it with an actor friend.
You can work on Sense Memory, which in my opinion is arguably one of the most important act craft tools an actor needs to master because so much of what we do as actors relies on our ability to connect to our senses.
You can do some Yoga while listening to an acting technique audio book.
You can read an acting craft book. I’ve placed many of the essential craft technique books on the SHOP page.
And certainly, If you’re a member, you can poke around the Actor's Approach Craft Technique Toolbox and find new tools that you have never explored before.
The point here is simple. Take ownership of your craft training journey and commit to it. No one is going to do it for you. Stay disciplined. Stay focused. Stay committed to your career and your goals. Make a promise to yourself right now that you will do at least one thing every day for your craft. Say it out loud now. Say, "I PROMISE!" I hope this post has inspired you in some small way to get up and get to work. I look forward to reading your comments. Bye for now, See you inside the Toolbox. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.actorsapproach.com Linktree: https://linktr.ee/actorsapproachcrafttoolbox