Taking Risks: 5 Ways to Grow as an Actor and Person

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It’s 2016! What better time to get out of your comfort zone and take some risks? As you continue on your journey as an actor, you will see that the biggest moments of growth will occur when you are really willing to take some big creative and personal risks.

Risk-taking is fun. Venturing out into the unknown—isn’t that what acting is all about? As you read the below suggestions, see if any of them make you feel nervous. Those are the ones to go for. As an artist, you always want to be operating at the edge of your comfort zone! You always want to be feeling a few of those nervous butterflies.

Note: Safety is obviously paramount. Be smart.

Now, here are six ways that you can grow as an actor and person this year.

1. Take an improv class. For many actors, improv is a scary venture. There is zero control and zero planning involved in an improv scene. Classically trained actors especially are very protective of their processes and love rehearsing and preparing for auditions and jobs. But what happens when the writer changes your script on set at the last minute? What happens when the casting director has you read for a different character on the spot? You get to improvise.

Improv is an essential tool for every actor. Also, once you get over the fear of it, improv is liberating and fun! I can’t tell you how many of my students I’ve seen at 3-2-1- Acting Studios transform after taking a good improv class. Inhibitions go down, and booking rates go up!

Also, improv teaches you an important life lesson: to release control. To be in the moment. To play. So if you aren’t there already, get yourself into a good improv class.

2. Get honest in your personal life. How you do one thing is how you do everything. If you aren’t totally happy with your personal life, chances are, your professional life isn’t as great as it could be! Is there someone in your life who you truly care about, who you’ve been holding back from? This could be your significant other, your mother, your brother, or your best friend. Tell them how much you care. Don’t assume that the people in your life know how you feel about them.

Likewise, is there a relationship in your life that is not serving you? Confront the problem, or choose to walk away from the relationship. Yes, this can be tough, but if you are weighed down in your personal life, you will have blocks in your professional life.

Once you clean up your personal life, you will immediately have more space in your life to soar like the brilliant actor that you are!

3. Dance! Dancing is one of the most liberating and expressive ways to challenge yourself and to experience joy! Sign up for a dance class. Find something that is totally foreign to you that you’ve never tried. Or just start attending a “social” dance evening, such as a salsa or swing dancing night. You will make new friends and learn a new skill!

Pro tip: If you are ever feeling less-than-inspired on a given day, crank up the music and dance around your house for five minutes. You’ll feel better, guaranteed.

4. Sing in public. Often, actors—even those with the most beautiful of voices—harbor huge fears about singing in public. Find an open mic night or a fun karaoke night, and use all of your fantastic acting training to sing your heart out. Let your performance be imperfect. Let it be on a Tuesday night with two people in the audience, or on a Saturday night in front of 200 strangers. Whatever environment scares you…choose it, and express yourself!

5. Embark on an athletic or physical challenge. Is there a sport you’ve always wanted to try? A mountain you’ve always wanted to climb? Find a physical activity or sport that is out of your comfort zone, and commit to tackling it for a set period of time.

Playing sports can be a great way to make new friends and to connect with people outside of the industry (which is also a necessity!). There is also a great sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a physical challenge, such as a big hike, an advanced ski slope, or a weight training goal. As you build your confidence and overcome physical challenges, you will overcome personal and professional fears.

Challenge yourself! The most important thing is that you choose an activity or venture that stretches and challenges you. Perhaps none of the above apply. Or perhaps they all do! You know yourself best.

And of course, be safe. You know your limits, but you also know when you could push yourself just a teensy bit further.

What risk will you take this year? Enjoy the growth and positivity that you are bound to experience!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Mae Ross
Mae Ross is the Owner/ Director of L.A.’s highly acclaimed actor training center, 3-2-1 Acting Studios. Her leadership has garnered 3-2-1 consistent recognition as Hollywood's premier on-camera acting school for kids, teens, and adults. She has launched hundreds of successful acting careers with her expert on-camera coaching and professional guidance.
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