There are certain actors who directors LOVE working with… and then there are “THOSE” actors. The ones who might be incredibly talented, but nobody wants to work with them, because they’re divas or lazy or just don’t seem to care. Don’t be one of “THOSE” actors. Here are 7 habits of highly effective young actors — the one directors LOVE working with, and will hire back again and again.
1. They take auditions seriously. They don’t take the easy route by simply choosing the first monologue they find on a Google search or singing “O Canada,” and they allow themselves enough time to prepare and practice so they are less nervous the day of the audition.
2. They trust their director. Even if they don’t get the part they want, they trust that the director has put them in the role that is best for them, and that the director will give them lots to do. (And if the director doesn’t, they’re assertive and ask for more!)
3. They set aside time to practice every day. Even just five minutes a day helps! There’s always something to practice — your lines, your harmonies, your choreography, your volume, your enunciation…
4. They learn their lines as soon as they receive their part. They also learn their lines accurately (paraphrasing is a no-no!), and note who says the line before theirs — their cue lines.
EDIT 11/10/15: I received some feedback regarding this suggestion: “In my experience actors who learn their lines as soon as they get them, learn them with the wrong thinking behind them so you have to try and undo it all before you can try and load the right thinking.” This is a great point. I do disagree with “right” and “wrong” thinking, as I think that acting/character work should develop throughout the rehearsal process — is there truly a “right” and “wrong” way to act or portray a character? However, I would like to amend my point to state that actors should learn their lines as soon as they are blocked and directed. The reason I like actors to get off book ASAP is because that way they aren’t fumbling with a script in hand and can work more thoroughly on their character and physicality. Thanks for the feedback!
5. They’re effective time-managers. Young actors need to balance rehearsals, school and homework, other commitments (swimming, Brownies, music lessons, whatever), time with friends and family, and oh, time for eating and sleeping and all that other life stuff. Their day planner is colour-coded and Post-it tabbed. They know that if they’ve got a rehearsal the night before a big test, they need to figure out when they’re going to study so they don’t miss rehearsal and let down their castmates.
6. They use their rehearsal time effectively. If they aren’t working directly with the director, they’re studying their lines or rehearsing their dance steps. They are NOT being yappy or interrupting the artistic staff or bothering other cast members!
7. They give 100%, every day. They give their full effort at every rehearsal. They don’t just “save it for the performance.” Remember, you spend way more time rehearsing than you do performing, so why only give a half-effort for the majority of the time? Practice the way you want to perform! It’s much easier to give a huge effort and tone it back, then give a lesser effort and have to force it to be bigger.
What are your highly effective habits? Share them in the comments!
Photo Credit: Malcolm Miller
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