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Art illustration by Zariyah Allen

VOX 5: How To Improve Your Acting Skills By Yourself, Budgeted and Quarantined (B.B.Q.)

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Are you trying to improve your acting or start acting but many obstacles like the pandemic, budget and lack of resources stand in your way? Well, I am here in efforts to alleviate some of your troubles. 

My name is Hananya Allen and I am a 19-year-old film and theatre actress. Today I would like to share with you five ways to work on your acting BBQ style. These tips are targeted for beginners, however they can be helpful for anyone.

Actor Watching

Actor watching is where you choose one actor/actress to specifically observe and learn from. After selecting the actor that you want to “watch,” you simply start by viewing their earliest available performances (film, TV, stage, etc.) all the way to their most recent one. All while making note of their strengths and weaknesses, and learning how they may have enhanced their strengths and/or learned from their weaknesses. Watching other actors with constructive awareness helps you to become better at understanding strong and weak choices in acting, which will in turn improve how you observe your own acting or make choices in a scene.

Reading Out Loud

Reading out loud daily or as often as possible helps your articulation and flexibility/range in acting. I have found reading out loud to pay off the most when I perform cold reads, which happen often in auditions. It is when an actor is given a script they have never seen before and asked to perform. To make reading out loud as beneficial as possible you should read with volume and read something new each time. This can include social media articles, textbooks, comics, Shakespeare…anything!

Recording Yourself

Recording yourself performing a monologue is a great way to feel like you are acting “for real.” It is also a great way to constructively observe yourself afterwards and acknowledge some of your strong suits and weak ones. Another great thing to do with your recording is to show it to others. It can be daunting. However, getting others’ opinions and putting yourself out there is one of the best ways to grow. Don’t be too hard on yourself – even legends have to learn!

Meditation or Constructive Rest

Whether you listen to guided meditation or just focus on your own breathing, learning how to calm yourself will help you much more than you may think. For instance, if you are preparing to act in front of others, and your heart starts racing because of stage fright, you will remember that you know how to calm yourself. Your breathing may slow and you will be able to take on many challenges that come your way over time.

Start Acting with Others

Although “BBQ style” includes “by yourself,” I still want to recommend acting with others while beginning. This is absolutely possible to do virtually and free! For example, you can use the duet feature on TikTok to respond to other actors’ videos in which they provide you with lines and time to speak back to them. And the best thing is that you do not even have to record the video, you can just listen and reply. Acting with others will improve your skills of using cues and instincts to listen and respond.

Arguably the most important tip I have to offer is to not compare yourself with others. Comparing yourself can make you see only the negative and can really be discouraging. Remember to encourage yourself. I believe in you. Break a leg! 

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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