In La La Land Ryan Gosling says that “the world doesn’t need another lawyer”. His implicit implication he implied was that the world needs more actors. Famous actor says that his successful career is aspirational. For less successful actors there’s one thing they can all agree on: the world doesn’t need another actor.
So, if you’re a struggling actor, here’s some top tips that’ll help you snag the latest role in that Dominos commercial where you got paired with your ex-girlfriend in the recall and then you didn’t get the part but she did. It’s not like you wanted £5k anyway.
1. Reacting, is acting
It’s remarkable the amount of people who don’t follow this rule. When another actor in a scene says their line you shouldn’t just stay absolutely rigid still and silent. This acting style has come about from actors who grew up watching cartoons, where the characters are not animated when silent. This was a cost saving method of reducing the amount of on-screen animation, particularly as viewers’ eyes would be drawn to the speaking character. In live action there are no cost saving benefits of you freezing when not saying lines; so get loose, fling those arms around and make sure an audience can’t take their eyes off you.
2. Remember your lines
This is a big one. A lot of people know that a script is a document that contains all the things you’re allowed to say during filming, so it’s important that you know it inside out. Not many people know that when “on set” an actor is only allowed to use lines of dialogue that are in their script. This explains why the biggest stars in the world always have lines inserted into a script, such as “Where’s the toilet?” and “Can I get a coffee please?”. Now you won’t be able to watch a film without noticing this dialogue creeping in to most big budget movies.
3. Film cameras steal your soul
If you don’t want to become a soulless bag of meat then only work on digital shoots.
4. A film crew is a family
Everyone is impressed by a “go get ’em” attitude so give the director suggestions for camera movements, have a word in the ear of the cinematographer about the position of the lights, tell the make up artist to tone down the blusher. When you meet any hostility know that it’s their ego not allowing themselves to improve: give them a hug and tell them to consider therapy.
5. There’s no such thing as a small part
Spend the weeks leading up to a shoot working on your character’s backstory. Know where they came from, how they deal with stress, how they walk, what they look for in a buffet. Because once you’re on set, and action is called, you need to know you can deal with any eventuality. Does hearing someone yell “cut!” make your character angry? Sad? Aroused? Play out the eventualities, how would your character react to hearing the phrase: “Hey! Cut! What’s this guy doing? Get this moron off my set”? I can’t imagine anyone reacting non-violently, so go with that, improvise and reap the rewards.
There we go, the five tips that’ll help you become a working actor. If you want to watch an exciting new comedy-drama about resting actors (and guest starring Robert Lindsay, Bobby Davro, Diana Weston, Lily Frazer, Elizabeth Tan & David Bedella amongst others) then that’s right here: