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Tips by Helene Goldnadel for Acting

You can improve your acting, dramatically on your own, or with a friend, by doing some simple, easy-to-do-things, and they won't cost you a thing. First and most importantly:

Consonants - Learn to speak clearly. Practise your consonants. That is the single most important and dramatic way to improve your acting ability. Enunciating clearly does not just reflect the language of newscasters and aristocrats. It allows a person to transcend their local unintelligible dialects. Dropping consonants is a casualty of daily interaction, lazy shorthand with friends, family and colleagues. Consonants give shape to the emotional resonance of vowel sounds. Vowel sounds coming from the actor suggests the feeling inside and consonants let the audience know what that feeling is. Consonants are like the frame of the house. They give it shape. Learn to exaggerate those consonants.

Imagination - Get your imagination in fighting shape. Look at a play and use your imagination to get inside the character's head, inside their heart, inside their soul. Your imagination is a powerful tool we all share. We might be different physically, in looks and talent but we can all harness that power of imagination. If a writer is portraying life on the streets, then use your imagination to find that character within you. If the character is the president of the United States then use your imagination to pick up the ticks and tricks of the trade. Imagination is the single most important tool you have to get inside the head of another character. It is the single most important tool you have to inhabit the world of the play. Having all the talent and the tools in the world will not mean anything if you lack imagination.

Projection - You need to be heard. While not so important in film and television, it is important in the theater, and theater is an easily accessible way to get into acting, to acquire the skills needed to succeed in other mediums. Theater is the best way to make connections that can help further your career, so learn to be heard. Don't be shy. It is your right to be heard. Go in a big room, open your mouth and aim your voice at the back wall. Focus on that back wall and your voice will travel there, even in a large room. Use your diaphragm, the muscle under your ribs to push the air and the voice out. Most people speak with shallow breaths. They talk so not to be heard. Talk to be heard.

Nouns and Verbs - Nouns are the subject of the sentence. The noun is the thing, the person, or the place that you are talking about in a sentence. The audience needs to know who that person is, where that place is, or what that thing is that you are talking about. Learn to track down the primary nouns and secondary nouns in a sentence.

Upward Inflections - This is another important tool for the actor. Many inexperienced actors throw their energy into the beginning of a line, but as they run out of air, the ends of their lines are dropped vocally, which is completely at odds with natural speech. In natural speech, the speaker organizes his thoughts to say that he or she is going to do this, or to go there. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? These are questions that the last word or two in a line answers. If you pump all your energy, adrenalin and breath into the beginning of your line, then you have nothing left for the end of the line, nothing left with which to answer those questions.

Monologues - A monologue for the purposes of an audition can be a soliloquy, a private speech between actor and audience, or it can be part of a conversation with another character. It should be about two minutes long and be uninterrupted by other characters. Find some monologues that you can use for audition pieces. Look in real plays for these monologues. There are many free monologues on the internet, but many of them are not going to help you land parts. It will probably be useful to have two classical pieces, one comedic and the other dramatic. Shakespeare is usually a good choice because you can find recordings or movies that have those monologues in them. Then you should search for a modern dramatic and comedic monologue. Search for these monologues in highly regarded plays, plays that have been on Broadway for instance or those that have been turned into movies. The reason for that is that you will have better luck researching them and finding recordings for them.

Study other people - Be a student of people. Be a student of people from all walks of life, the rich, the poor, the young and the old. Study their physicality. Watch people walk and listen to them talk. Listen to the rhythms of their speech. Watch people when they sit, when they stand, when they are passionately trying to communicate something or when they seem disinterested, when people are happy, or sad or angry or sleepy. What body language do they use? Imagine what goes on in people's heads. Find two similar looking people and look for clues to their personalities by their posture, by how they move, look for physical clues that might suggest why one ended up one way and one another. How much does nature and nurture have an influence on human beings? Watch what people are doing when they are listening to each other. What do they do with their hands? What do they do with their hands when they speak? Be a student of body language. Shakespeare said that the actor must hold a mirror up to nature. To act, you must reflect what real human beings do. As an actor you are interpreting the human condition, the poetry and music of human emotions, thoughts, actions and communication.

Read - Read plays, read books about acting, read about famous actors, read acting biographies, read anything. A well-rounded knowledge is essential for an actor. Not only is it important to know about acting, but it is important to know history, religion, psychology, geography, science, so read, read, read. Reading gives you your own credible insight into lines written by playwrights and screenwriters. People who write, read a lot, and to gain insight into these characters, you must read a lot. One casualty of theatre schools is the ability to understand the world. There is not enough contextual knowledge provided in these schools devoted only to acting. Know the world and you will know how to act.

Get in shape - Treat your body as a temple. Eat right and exercise. Plays and films can be demanding physically. The more you can ask your body to do, the better physically you can fit into a part. If you have a certain physical trait that your character needs, you need to be able to achieve that. Physical activities, like dance, or karate, or running, or yoga, or sports of various kinds can help you prepare physically for demanding roles. There could be dancing, sword-fighting, and other acts of physical exertion needed, while all the while being able to deliver lines supported by breath. Your mind and your body, voice and movement, are the tools of the actors trade. Take care of them.

The Internet - There is a lot of free information on the Internet. There are many acting tips that are available for free. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. There are a lot of really helpful suggestions for actors out there. Most of the free information is really geared for beginning actors and many of them don't identify technique or different methods in more than a superficial method. But more advanced information can be found in things such as Google Books. The more research you do, the more information you can unlock on the Internet.

Helene Goldnadel is a life coach and a performing art teacher, who helps you to achieve success in the performing arts.

She proudly has allowed for children to become so good at their craft that the kids who sing, dance and act, or two out of the three, often perform as series regular actors on major shows on television. The children enjoy the ability to sing previously rehearsed material, and they also gain improvisation skills in actually both singing and acting. The children trained at Helen Nadel premiere institution, fare extremely powerfully in the film, and TV commercial industry.

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