This is the last in my three-part series on the top 10 tips. This one focuses on being an Actor/Performers.
Here are my top 10 tips for Actors/Performers. What is a director/producer looking for? What is best behaviour?
Do you want to look good on stage like Kate Winslet? Well here’s some tips how to…
Top 10 Tips for Actors/Performers
One of the roles in theatre, TV, musicals or Film, which I have an ever-growing respect for, is that of the actor/performer.
I love what Kate Winslet says. Not only because I think she’s right, but in what she says about how an actor/performer needs to over come their fears to do this job at it’s best. I know I have become a better person for the job I do. How many people get to say that about the work they do?
So, here are some things I’ve learned along the way. Sadly, either by doing them or not doing or observing them myself.
- Show up on time – Seems straight forward, but you wouldn’t believe how many actors/performers I’ve seen not get hired again purely for this reason. If you can’t show up, (due to snow storm or something – I’ve had this one), get on the phone. Straight away call the stage manager or director or whomever and get it sorted. I’m pleased to say, our show went up only 5 minutes late, due to the snow storm. You know what England is like in snow – the world stops!
- Know your Lines – This is another bug bear for a lot of Directors. They ask you to learn your lines and the actor/performer waits until the opening night to limp their way through the 1st few nights. Never a good idea, it’s not only the director who isn’t impressed, but your fellow actors/performers. I’ve had work from fellow actors/performers. You risk losing a network of people by just not doing the basic requirement of the job.
- Be amiable – There are a lot of stereotypes of how performers are ‘real drama queens’, well it just isn’t true. A good actor/performer is incredibly disciplined and self-motivated – you have to be. You are your business and you need to be able to work well with others.
- Know who to talk to – I’ve already written a blog post on this, so click here.
- Know your own role – Your role isn’t to direct your fellow actor/performer. When you have a problem with your staging or whatever, talk to the director. Do not talk it out with the person you feel may be the problem. It’s not your job to direct. You are likely to lose respect from your fellow actor/performer. Also, you are usurping your director by assuming you can do their job better than they can.
- Believe in your fellow actor/performer – This is a mistake, I made when I 1st started out. I thought that problems I’m having are emanating from someone else – bad director, bad music director or bad actor/performer. No, my only problem is me and, it’s likely to do with my own attitude. My actor/director is giving me all I need. It’s up to me to do the best I can in my given circumstances and it’s always noticed by the ‘right’ people. This has been my experience time and time again.
- Know when to stand up for yourself – If you feel the director is asking more of you then you are able to give, then say it. You need to learn to know where your limits are. For example, if you are not OK with full frontal nudity and sex scenes, then own that – it’s OK. You do not have to do anything for the job. If you feel that you are in a situation where your safety is at risk, say it. It’s not worth losing life and limp over an acting job. There will be others. This may mean leaving a production, but this is only as a last resort.
- Know your limits – Watch out if you are playing multiple roles in a production. For example, director/producer/actor and you are getting snappy with others, then it’s likely you are doing too much. Learn to delegate and bring others on board to do some of the other roles. I’ve seen many a good production go down the tube because someone won’t let go and trust others.
- Gossip – Do not do this! I understand this can be hard, as relationships get really close when you work on productions. It never reflects well on you. It’s likely, those same people you are sharing your mutual dislike with are doing the same to you, when you aren’t around. It never helps and only builds animosity when you need to be working as a team and believing in each other.
- Go to the museum – Make sure you have a life outside of your performing work. This is vital for remaining sane in what can be pretty chaotic situations with emotions flying around. This is a great place to set up a network to talk out any problems with an outside group/individual such as your family or trusted friend. Someone you know, that when you just need to let it out, they won’t go around telling anyone else your deepest thoughts. Also, I say, ‘go to the museum’, so you have outside interests, this can be anything – painting, knitting, another creative outlet that doesn’t give you anything, but pleasure. This may sound daft, but art for art’s sake is a vital thing to anyone.
I know I joined this profession because I also wanted to play, so always play and enjoy what you are doing. This applies to any job, but seeing as plays are a part of the actors/performers world, you may as well do as the title says – play!