Acting is a performing art that requires a lot of practice and work to perfect. In order to become the ultimate actor, you must know how to approach the development of your character, work on that development until it is stage/screen worthy, and sustain the focus to share the purity of that work - revealing the character to the audience throughout the story.


Not only will this help land you roles for theater, TV, or film productions, but it can also teach you how to be mindful about life as well. Check out these 10 ways on how actors can hone their performance skills!



1. Start Early

Once you have an idea of who your character really is, then you can start developing their story from different angles by writing an in-depth backstory or asking yourself questions such as: 'What would they do in this situation?'


Get into character early

Memorizing lines and blocking is essential but not enough to perform a character in front of an audience well. Getting into the mindset - the point-of-view - and understanding what drives your character is just as important for developing their personality and behavior on stage or when filming.



2. The Definition of Acting

Be truthful and create a world on stage or screen that serves the story. The focus, always and above all, is to tell the story as the writer has intended as powerfully and interestingly as possible within the parameters of that world. As many have said but not so to the point as Stanislavsky, "See yourself in the art and not the art in yourself."


It is very important to know what acting means as it can often be misunderstood by people who have never been involved in performing arts before or who are led astray by focusing on self over the story.


Acting has a lot of different definitions according to Stanislavaski's: "The art of creating believable characters and environments." But for this article, we will be using the definition by Meisner, "Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances." It is an art that must be experienced to understand.




3. The Script

One of the most important aspects of performing a role is to have a solid understanding of what you will be doing. The character is revealed through actions.

The tip of the iceberg is to learn all of your lines, walk through any and all stage directions and blocking, and become accustomed to performing from start to finish to learn the arc of the character.


Know the Play Well

This one is self-explanatory. You must know your lines. Then you must know your blocking and character's actions thoroughly so that you can act by listening during performances - not thinking about it while performing.

Know your lines fully - not just memorize word for word but also know why they say that line at that moment, who they're talking to, and their intentions.


Observe the subtext of the scene.

The word 'subtext' can be defined as the underlying meaning of a text. In performing arts, it is essential to understand how your character feels and why they behave in certain ways towards other characters - especially during moments where there are no lines or actions to cover what could best be described by that term "the unspoken truth." The subtext is the truth of what you are performing.



4. The Research

Find out more about the world of your character by reading books or watching documentaries. Whether performing in front of an audience or on camera, understanding your character's world is important to understand the most basic questions:


  • What do they like and dislike?
  • How do they act and react towards others?
  • What drives them forward throughout their story?

Take Notes

This may seem like something you'd do in school, but when performing it's essential to take notes on little things that pop up during rehearsal or while performing. Good actors always come back with questions and ideas about their character or what they could have done better in a certain scene to make it more realistic.

It is also important to take note of the personal experiences that you bring forth from within yourself, as they can often be used for performing your role authentically - especially if those moments are applicable and relatable to what's going on with the story at hand.


Research Everything

Researching for yourself will help you gain a better sense of direction for the story in that time and place. That is the most important part of performing arts - there must be a reason for everything.



5. The Body

Learn how to use your body for more than just speaking. In order to capture an audience, you want their eyes on you - not reading text on a page or looking at other actors on stage. Learn how to use your voice and body in order to captivate the audience's attention, whether that means learning how to project your voice or find a new way of physically performing your character's movements.


Always Practice

Get it in your body. Practice makes perfect when performing any role or skit in front of an audience whether that means rehearsing at home with a mirror or practicing specific lines over and over again before performing.

It's important to get everything down before performing so you can stay in character and focus on your performance - not the lines themselves.


Perform with Confidence

Remember that there is a reason why you got into performing arts: because you wanted to be on stage, captivating an audience's attention while telling a story through your words and movements.

You should never give up performing because of stage fright - it's all about working through the fear and performing anyway, even if that means picking yourself off the floor (literally) when you fall in front of an audience.



7. The Mindset

Not everyone can be an actor or performer. It takes more than just performing well to become the ultimate actor - you need to have passion and drive in order for performing arts to feel like second nature rather than something that is forced upon you.


The Mindset of a Performer

You should never give up on performing because it will take a lot of time and patience to become the best performing artist you can be.

With that being said, and want to be a part of your life, then there's no reason why you shouldn't go for it. There will always be skepticism from others who don't understand the performing world but if this is what makes you happy - then go for it.

If performing arts is what you love, make sure that the finished product reflects this passion and hard work. It's easy to get caught up in performing but remember why you're on stage: to convey a story with your words and movements while captivating an audience.



8. Warm-Up

Take care of your voice and body so they can support you during a performance. Get up and move around before performing so you can get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up.

During a performance, it's common to forget about your body - but this is where physical theatre comes in as an important form of performing arts that focuses on using your body rather than just words or actions.

It's important to have some sort of warm-up before performing so that you can get the blood flowing and muscles warmed up. Get your body moving around whether it be through stretches or small movements - anything goes as long as it wakes you up!



9. Improvise

Don't be afraid to improvise during rehearsals!


Be Prepared for Anything

You never know what's going to happen when performing - whether you're performing on a stage or in front of an audience, anything can go wrong unexpectedly.

The best way to prepare is by being prepared at all times so that even if something unexpected happens during your performance, you are still able to focus on performing rather than panicking.



Improvisation Skills

You need to learn how to improvise when performing in order to stay confident and composed, but also know when it's time for an actor to stop with the improvisations because they are taking away from the performance or ruining a scene - not adding anything new or exciting. Improvise when performing, but know your limits.



10. Post Performance Care

After a performance has ended, don't forget about taking care of yourself. If performing arts is your passion then you need to be able to look after yourself and make sure that everything else in your life isn't neglected in order to be the best performing artist you can be.

The performing arts industry is a competitive one, and if you want to be the ultimate actor, you need strong performance skills. The 10 tips listed above provide essential information for aspiring actors on how they can hone their performing artistry.

Aspiring performers should study their lines so that they know what’s being said in any given scene of a play or film production. Observing the subtext of scenes will also help them discover more about themselves as well as developing characters with depth and sensitivity to life events outside of acting itself.

In order to do this, it may be helpful for performing artists to take care of their voice by learning vocal techniques from an expert or taking care of your body by doing warm-ups before performances commence and enriching your acting career.



Related Topics:

7 ways to achieve your dreams, eat well, & stay in shape

5 Surprising Reasons Acting Classes are Beneficial for Teenage Students

You Play How You Practice

The Best Drama Classes: What You Need To Know!



Acting is a performing art that requires a lot of practice and work to perfect. In order to become the ultimate actor, you must know how to approach the development of your character, work on that development until it is stage/screen worthy, and sustain the focus to share the purity of that work - revealing the character to the audience throughout the story.


Not only will this help land you roles for theater, TV, or film productions, but it can also teach you how to be mindful about life as well. Check out these 10 ways on how actors can hone their performance skills!




1. Start Early

Once you have an idea of who your character really is, then you can start developing their story from different angles by writing an in-depth backstory or asking yourself questions such as: 'What would they do in this situation?'


Get into character early

Memorizing lines and blocking is essential but not enough to perform a character in front of an audience well. Getting into the mindset - the point-of-view - and understanding what drives your character is just as important for developing their personality and behavior on stage or when filming.




2. The Definition of Acting

Be truthful and create a world on stage or screen that serves the story. The focus, always and above all, is to tell the story as the writer has intended as powerfully and interestingly as possible within the parameters of that world. As many have said but not so to the point as Stanislavsky, "See yourself in the art and not the art in yourself."


It is very important to know what acting means as it can often be misunderstood by people who have never been involved in performing arts before or who are led astray by focusing on self over the story.


Acting has a lot of different definitions according to Stanislavaski's: "The art of creating believable characters and environments." But for this article, we will be using the definition by Meisner, "Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances." It is an art that must be experienced to understand.





3. The Script

One of the most important aspects of performing a role is to have a solid understanding of what you will be doing. The character is revealed through actions.

The tip of the iceberg is to learn all of your lines, walk through any and all stage directions and blocking, and become accustomed to performing from start to finish to learn the arc of the character.


Know the Play Well

This one is self-explanatory. You must know your lines. Then you must know your blocking and character's actions thoroughly so that you can act by listening during performances - not thinking about it while performing.

Know your lines fully - not just memorize word for word but also know why they say that line at that moment, who they're talking to, and their intentions.


Observe the subtext of the scene.

The word 'subtext' can be defined as the underlying meaning of a text. In performing arts, it is essential to understand how your character feels and why they behave in certain ways towards other characters - especially during moments where there are no lines or actions to cover what could best be described by that term "the unspoken truth." The subtext is the truth of what you are performing.




4. The Research

Find out more about the world of your character by reading books or watching documentaries. Whether performing in front of an audience or on camera, understanding your character's world is important to understand the most basic questions:


  • What do they like and dislike?
  • How do they act and react towards others?
  • What drives them forward throughout their story?

Take Notes

This may seem like something you'd do in school, but when performing it's essential to take notes on little things that pop up during rehearsal or while performing. Good actors always come back with questions and ideas about their character or what they could have done better in a certain scene to make it more realistic.

It is also important to take note of the personal experiences that you bring forth from within yourself, as they can often be used for performing your role authentically - especially if those moments are applicable and relatable to what's going on with the story at hand.


Research Everything

Researching for yourself will help you gain a better sense of direction for the story in that time and place. That is the most important part of performing arts - there must be a reason for everything.




5. The Body

Learn how to use your body for more than just speaking. In order to capture an audience, you want their eyes on you - not reading text on a page or looking at other actors on stage. Learn how to use your voice and body in order to captivate the audience's attention, whether that means learning how to project your voice or find a new way of physically performing your character's movements.


Always Practice

Get it in your body. Practice makes perfect when performing any role or skit in front of an audience whether that means rehearsing at home with a mirror or practicing specific lines over and over again before performing.

It's important to get everything down before performing so you can stay in character and focus on your performance - not the lines themselves.


Perform with Confidence

Remember that there is a reason why you got into performing arts: because you wanted to be on stage, captivating an audience's attention while telling a story through your words and movements.

You should never give up performing because of stage fright - it's all about working through the fear and performing anyway, even if that means picking yourself off the floor (literally) when you fall in front of an audience.




7. The Mindset

Not everyone can be an actor or performer. It takes more than just performing well to become the ultimate actor - you need to have passion and drive in order for performing arts to feel like second nature rather than something that is forced upon you.


The Mindset of a Performer

You should never give up on performing because it will take a lot of time and patience to become the best performing artist you can be.

With that being said, and want to be a part of your life, then there's no reason why you shouldn't go for it. There will always be skepticism from others who don't understand the performing world but if this is what makes you happy - then go for it.

If performing arts is what you love, make sure that the finished product reflects this passion and hard work. It's easy to get caught up in performing but remember why you're on stage: to convey a story with your words and movements while captivating an audience.




8. Warm-Up

Take care of your voice and body so they can support you during a performance. Get up and move around before performing so you can get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up.

During a performance, it's common to forget about your body - but this is where physical theatre comes in as an important form of performing arts that focuses on using your body rather than just words or actions.

It's important to have some sort of warm-up before performing so that you can get the blood flowing and muscles warmed up. Get your body moving around whether it be through stretches or small movements - anything goes as long as it wakes you up!




9. Improvise

Don't be afraid to improvise during rehearsals!


Be Prepared for Anything

You never know what's going to happen when performing - whether you're performing on a stage or in front of an audience, anything can go wrong unexpectedly.

The best way to prepare is by being prepared at all times so that even if something unexpected happens during your performance, you are still able to focus on performing rather than panicking.




Improvisation Skills

You need to learn how to improvise when performing in order to stay confident and composed, but also know when it's time for an actor to stop with the improvisations because they are taking away from the performance or ruining a scene - not adding anything new or exciting. Improvise when performing, but know your limits.




10. Post Performance Care

After a performance has ended, don't forget about taking care of yourself. If performing arts is your passion then you need to be able to look after yourself and make sure that everything else in your life isn't neglected in order to be the best performing artist you can be.

The performing arts industry is a competitive one, and if you want to be the ultimate actor, you need strong performance skills. The 10 tips listed above provide essential information for aspiring actors on how they can hone their performing artistry.

Aspiring performers should study their lines so that they know what’s being said in any given scene of a play or film production. Observing the subtext of scenes will also help them discover more about themselves as well as developing characters with depth and sensitivity to life events outside of acting itself.

In order to do this, it may be helpful for performing artists to take care of their voice by learning vocal techniques from an expert or taking care of your body by doing warm-ups before performances commence and enriching your acting career.




Related Topics:

7 ways to achieve your dreams, eat well, & stay in shape

5 Surprising Reasons Acting Classes are Beneficial for Teenage Students

You Play How You Practice

The Best Drama Classes: What You Need To Know!

About The Author

Jeremiah O’Brian

Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.

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