Actor Challenges

The final part of Paul Brighton, of Audition Portal, Actor’s Challenges.

  • If it’s raining go out and play out a scene. No Umbrellas! Imagine camera crews all around you. Get wet.
  • Can you write a song for a musical? Try your hand at composing a song & melody for your made up show tune.
  • Would you be prepared to play a blind person? It takes time & skill. Practice with eyes closed & open.
    (Not sure I could do this without a specific part to play)
  • Scope out how others perceive their own bodies on the beach. Makes for interesting observations.
    (Been observing like that for years; does that mean I’ve been working all the time ;) )
  • Today, let’s focus on mouths. Watch people’s smirks, smiles, grins, pouts, or laughs. Should be fun!
  • Know who you are as an actor. Are you a Streep or a Jolie type? Play to your strengths & get more work.
  • Can you do accents? On the phone today, pick an accent and stay in character the entire time.
  • What facial expressions do you make when you’re on the phone? Watch yourself for an entire conversation.
    (Would you really be natural if you’re watching yourself? I doubt it, I’d rather watch other people on the phone ;) )
  • Act your age? Not today. Pick an age group 10 yrs +/- & do what they would do. Stay in character all day.
  • Scenes get broken up in Film yet U need to maintain the same mannerisms throughout. Practice staying in character.
    (Or a non-method version: practice getting in and out of character quickly. Know your character. What’s your way in?)
  • Can you act dead? All actors eventually play a death scene. Practice being dead or dying with your whole body.
  • Barbecue Weekend! Observe gluttony & how people chew. Especially how they approach food before the kill!
  • Practice sitting in a comfy sofa. How do you sit, slump, & where do you put your legs? Observe yourself.
  • Can you swim, do an action film, or play a boxer? Physical strength is important. Exercise daily.
  • Can you sing? Singing lessons will help with delivery & ensure a stronger presence on stage. Take lessons!
  • Are you a Collaborative actor? It’s your job to bring fun,energy & life to a rehearsal. Be open, try anything!
  • “Listening”-Rehearse a scene with a partner back-to-back. Hear the words, visualize them, feel the vibe.
  • Parallels to music/animals can reinforce a character’s traits. If U were a musical instrument what would U be?
  • Explore. Go to an unused section of the stage & give your character a reason to be there. If none, make one up.
  • How we think of our “selves” is based on past experiences. Learn, travel, experience life, be dynamic!
  • For whatever role you play share a piece of yourself and your acting will be fearless!
  • Don’t be ashamed of your voice. Sing often & sing loud. Great Book: “The Actor Speaks” Patsy Rodenburg
  • Create exercises that tackle the tech. side of acting. Recreate a minute of your life. Write it, act it!
  • Sharpen your ad lib. Set up place, time and backstory. Practice improv, but have a situation pre-set.
  • Today let’s practice honesty. Tell everyone how you really feel. Is it hard to tell the truth?
  • Be human, be real, be open. Live it, study it, act it. But don’t lose sight of the awesome person YOU are!
  • Identify 1 good trait & 1 bad trait you possess. Act each one out but magnify them, then downplay them.
  • Give yourself “roots,” add depth to your character by creating a deeper past, one that is not in the script.
  • Familiarity can soothe stage-fright. Handle the props. Sit in the seats. Own the stage. Breathe!
  • Does your character have dimension? Put aside expectations & do some emotional exploration. Play the extremes.
  • Today, call a friend & make up a great story! How long can you keep it up? Let us know how it turned out!
  • Good Karma: Extend a helping hand to a fellow actor. Help them network. Give them your agents name, etc.
  • How often do you watch yourself? Tape yourself. Study your movements & how you speak. Get to know you!
  • This one is gutsy! Go out in disguise. How do others react? Let us know what happens!
  • Today you are Australian (in honor of Hugh Jackman!) Stay in full accent no matter where you are. Can you do it?

These are, by no means, the complete list of his challenges. If you’re interested in seeing them all, head over to Twitter and start following him.

Part 2 of Paul Brighton, of Audition Portal marvellous Actor’s Challenges, that I’m attempting. Get physical. Crawl around from room to room & pretend you’re escaping a bad situation. Act with intent. To be a good actor means to be simple & articulate. You must trust your instincts and the real thing will happen. Auditioning? […]

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My quest to hunt down useful online resources is continuing apace. Namely, in the form of Paul Brighton from Audition Portal! He regularly suggests challenges to flex and tone the old performing muscles. They’ve certainly pushed me into more variety in my studies. Hopefully this is organically helping me to create a better curriculum (?!) […]

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