I'm not an actor. I'm not an acting teacher. What qualifies me to even offer advice on what actors should be taught? Perhaps the fact that I've read a lot of books on acting, but also a hell-lot-of-a common sense. If you're still with me, great, if not, check out my other topics on Actor Websites, I am obviously very qualified to talk about those. If you're still reading, here are the things in my opinion that you should learn to improve your craft:
If you are performing with other actors you need to be able to react. A fun little exercise that I do (as a non-actor) is react to movies as I watch them and see if I can react the same way actors on screen do. That includes:
- consideration - weighing of opinions, should I or should I not
- reflections - thinking of something, trying to recall a moment
- interest - hearing or seeing something that should mean something to you
- expectations - being eager to hear something or see something
- awareness - being able to react to other actors and the surroundings
This is how you give back to other actors and it's a major part of what you do. Build a credible character with these elements and keep working on it with your partners and your teachers. Ask for advice and watch yourself if you can. Are you buying whatever it is you're trying to sell?
That is the part that people think of when they think of "acting". Great actors are able to convince you that they feel what the character feels and think what the character thinks. This is done through facial expressions, body movements, but most importantly...
When you deliver your lines you might be focused on the projection and articulation. This is very applicable to stage actors, but you must consider other elements:
- pauses - use pauses to consider your options, perhaps you're not certain if that's the right choice of words
- emphasis - highlight the correct moments, the key elements of your dialogue or monologue
- dynamics - adapt to the feeling, be it anger, pity or excitement and...
- contrast - if you're switching between your dynamics, let it show (check out James McAvoy's genius)