During these times, it’s even more challenging for actors to stay sharp and engaged in the artistic process. Of course, there are lots of ways to practice acting from home: everything from taking Zoom classes to watching the latest “Master Class” lecture to getting together with fellow actors for a virtual staged reading over the weekend. But what can you do to develop your technique that doesn’t involve other people? Below are three practical things you can do to practice acting by yourself—all from the comfort of home.
1. Strengthen your creative muscles.
It goes without saying that nurturing your physical body is essential for the actor. Whether it’s movement, dance, yoga, or martial arts, there are endless remote options for keeping your body limber. But what about your creative muscles? Set aside time every day to connect to your creativity. Watch a great film or hold your own private festival of films of your favorite actor or director. Listen to jazz, your favorite rock album, or break out your paints and your canvases. Setting your creativity and inspiration free on a daily basis will keep those muscles strong and ready. Many of you may already be familiar with Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” but her incredible creativity workbook is something that I always love to return to and reopen the artistic channels.
2. Practice your scales.
For the actor, “practicing your scales” can mean engaging with different elements of your craft: don’t just wait for the next audition. Pull some audition sides and exercise your script analysis skills, visualize the story, personalize the character and record it in your home taping studio or on your phone. Pull out that monologue you haven’t worked on in ages or look for a new one and break it down, personalize it, rehearse it, and film it. Open up your dusty acting books and revisit them. Do an acting exercise in your living room. Books such as Stanislavsky’s “An Actor Prepares” always provide new perspective every time I go back to them.
3. Work on a role.
An important acting teacher of mine told us that as actors, we should always be working on a role. Nothing can compare to the joy of reading an entire play or screenplay, imagining living in the world of the circumstances, and building the character step by step. There’s a powerful exercise called a “character private moment” that you can do alone at home, exploring the private world of the character. In “An Actor Prepares,” Stanislavsky really captures the passion of the young actor and the excitement of learning more about the craft. He also spends time-solving acting problems after class, alone in his apartment, his head filled with questions.
I believe that as we move through these uncertain times, we have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the wonder and excitement of what we love to do. And what better place is there to practice acting than in the sacred space of our home?
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