Some of the world’s greatest actors have a few secrets up their sleeves that help them to become the amazing performers they are. These secrets, while they may be different for each actor, all share one common goal: to create a believable and compelling character that audiences will love. Or hate, as in the case with Draco Malfoy (played by Tom Felton) in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. (I just had to go there. So now you’ll either love me or hate me.)
Make Sure That Your Own Emotions Are in Check
If you’re feeling angry, sad or happy, it’ll be difficult to convincingly portray another emotion. Great actors are able to keep their own emotions in check so that they can fully commit to the character they’re playing. I look at it like this – if you were having brain surgery, would you want your doctor to be thinking about his family drama or concentrating on you?
Understand the Character You’re Playing
What motivates them? What do they want? Why do they feel the way they do? The more you understand about your character, the easier it’ll be to portray them realistically on screen or stage.
Connect With Your Scene Partners
You should create a rapport with your scene partner and trust them so you can create real chemistry on screen. You need to be able to make each other laugh and feel comfortable in each other’s presence. This is what will make your scenes together feel natural and genuine.
Here are some examples of actors with great chemistry:
– Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia in The Addams Family
– Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings
– Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing
– Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix series
Let us know what other actors fit the bill by following us at DirectSubmit NYCastings so you can comment on this article.
Know Your Lines
It may not be easy — especially if you’re working with Aaron Sorkin who is notoriously known for his long monologues — but definitely memorize your lines. This will allow you to focus on the scene.
In order to memorize lines, you must first understand the intention behind the words. You need to determine what the character is trying to achieve through the dialogue. Once you understand the motivation, you can begin to memorize the lines.
There are a few techniques that can be used to memorize lines. One is to break down the dialogue into small sections and recite it over and over again until it’s memorized. Another technique is to create a mental image of the scene and connect the words to that image. The more vivid the image, the easier it will be to remember the dialogue.
Whatever technique is used, it’s important for you to practice reciting your lines out loud. This will help you get comfortable with saying the words and will also help you make any necessary adjustments to their delivery.
Side note: Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actors of our time. She has a gift for making her characters come alive on screen and for making us believe in them. What’s her secret?
Some say it is her preparation. Streep puts a great deal of time and effort into researching her roles and understanding her characters. She has said that she tries to find the truth in her characters and to understand their motives. This allows her to give a believable performance.
Others say that it is Streep’s natural talent. She has a rare ability to make us feel what her character is feeling. We laugh with her when she is funny and we cry with her when she is sad. She creates an emotional connection with the audience.
My favorite Meryl Streep trick is that she’s able to transform her appearance and voice to suit any role she takes on. She often uses accents and dialects to further immerse herself in a character. Check out this clip of Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.
Being Able to Take Direction is Crucial
Being able to take direction can be difficult for some actors, as they may have their own ideas about how the scene should be played out. However, it’s important for actors to trust the director and allow them to guide the performance.
There are some directors who will ask the actor their opinion on how a scene should flow, and they may even do several takes different ways to see which one fits the entire overall production better.
Here’s what I find interesting – what if there’s a different actor taking over the role, but the same director? It’s been announced that Liam Hemsworth will replace Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s Season 4 of The Witcher. Will the direction of Liam Hemsworth be different than the direction given to Henry Cavill? I guess we’ll find out! But you can see, the dynamic of the show may or may not be totally thrown off.
The director wants to give the audience what they’re used to, and what they love. So how will the direction change with a different actor? What a challenge this will be for the director AND Liam Hemsworth! What do you think? Follow DirectSubmit NYCastings and leave a comment on your thoughts on The Witcher.
The key is to not let fear control your life or dictate your decisions. Not as easy as it sounds. I’ll give you a personal example: I’m afraid to swim in the ocean because I’m afraid of getting bit by a shark. When I was a kid, I didn’t have that fear and I spent countless summers swimming in the Atlantic Ocean at the beaches in Lavallette and Asbury Park, NJ. But now, no way. This controls my life and I hate it. If I was being paid as an actor to swim in the ocean for a scene, would I do it? Probably, but I would be (insert your favorite word here) in my bathing suit the whole time.
From an actor’s standpoint, fear is a natural emotion and something that should not be feared itself. We to face our fears on a daily basis in order to do our job properly. By understanding this, we are able to control our fears and use them to our advantage. Example: You fear that your children (or anyone you care about) will die before you. By thinking of this when you have an emotional, crying scene coming up, you will deliver a powerful performance.
If you want to be a great actor then you need to have passion, be dedicated, train hard and always be prepared. You also need to have a strong work ethic, be able to take direction and always be willing to learn. If you can do all of these things, then you will be well on your way to having a successful acting career.