8 Important Acting Techniques (in Gifs!)

Article Image
Photo Source: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

Learning about the foundation of acting should be fun (and have gifs)!

Stanislavski’s System
One of the world’s most frequently taught acting techniques, Stanislavski inspired scores of future teachers including Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, and Lee Strasberg. Think emotional memory recall, spiritual realism, and self-analysis.

READ: The Definitive Guide to the Stanislavsky Acting Technique

Lee Strasberg’s Method
Lee Strasberg’s actors intensify their connections to the work by mimicking characters’ experiences within the context of their own (real) lives, and reaching deeper connections and understandings of their characters’ emotional worlds.

READ: The Definitive Guide to Method Acting

Stella Adler
Stella Adler’s approach is also built on that of Stanislavski, but imagination is emphasized over emotional recall; in her words, “You have to get beyond your own precious inner experiences.”

READ: The Definitive Guide to Stella Adler’s Acting Technique

Meisner Technique
Famous for his “repetition” exercise, Meisner teaches actors to “live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.” The work emphasizes openness, honesty, and listening above all.

READ: The Definitive Guide to the Meisner Technique

Michael Chekhov
Michael Chekhov created a famous “psycho-physical” technique which draws on physical actions and mind-body connection to create a sensual approach to the character.

Practical Aesthetics
Developed by actor William H. Macy and playwright David Mamet, this analytical approach emphasizes the simple pursuit of an action above all else. Actors’ attention goes to text-analysis, script work, and a literal understanding of a scene’s driving events.

Uta Hagen
It’s all about realism for Uta Hagen. Students are taught to “substitute” or “transfer” their own memories into the experiences of their characters, building deep connections based on their own personal truths.

Viola Spolin
Viola Spolin’s “theater games” approach inspires students to respond immediately and live in the moment. Her technique focuses on self-direction and improvisation, and she’s considered a driving force of improv as we know it in the United States.

*This post was originally published on June 9, 2015. It has since been updated.