If you’re away on an acting job or school, work or family life are keeping you super busy it can be hard to get to acting classes every week. Here at YAFTA we know it’s easy to get out of the habit of coming to acting class which is why we try to make our classes as flexible, affordable and accessible as possible with drop in options and multiple locations.
Sometimes though you’re just not going to be able to make it but you still want to keep your acting muscles in good shape, what do you do? The YAFTA Team have some suggestions, most of which can be done for free at home, while you’re travelling or commuting or even during your daily life.
Here are our top tips to keep things ticking over in the form of fun ways to practise acting anywhere!
It is important for an actor to have a couple of strong monologues (minimum two contrasting styles/emotions) on hand at any time. These need to be in good shape in case you are called in for an audition unexpectedly. It’s no good having something in the back of your head you’ve half forgotten! While monologues are used more often in stage auditions, it’s still useful for screen actors to practise and memorise monologues. Spare time while driving or taking public transport is the ideal time to run over your monologues in your head.
Read out loud.
The only way to get better at the cold readings you’ll often have to do in acting auditions is to practise reading! This doesn’t have to be scripts; simply read anything! Read the newspaper aloud, read street signs, pick up a random book and read a page each morning. Just as our handwriting deteriorates if we are typing all the time, our fluidity at reading is lost if we don’t keep it up. Be sure to practise reading print; in auditions you’ll be given printed sides so always reading from a screen, as many of us do in daily life, won’t be as much of a help
The very easiest thing on the list! Simply observe the people around you, wherever you are. Take note of the different characters you see in your daily life, at home and further afield. How do members of your family walk and talk? What particular mannerisms do your colleagues or fellow students have? Are there identifiable characteristics from the man ahead of you in the lunch queue or the woman at the next table have that you could incorporate into your next role? Every person you see is a goldmine of potential ideas!
Try out accents on the phone.
This is one of our favourites and also doubles up as a great way to get rid of those pesky nuisance calls! If there’s an accent you want to practise (making sure you have solid and confident RP, American Standard and a UK regional accents is a great start) try using that accent when you talk on the phone. Friends and family won’t mind and call centre workers won’t know you’re putting an accent on (we’d perhaps advise against it for any important business calls!). If it goes badly with the latter just remember you’ll probably never talk to them again anyway!
Go to a workshop or masterclass.
While this tip is a little more challenging if you’re short of time or strapped for cash, it is a valuable suggestion. If you can’t fit weekly classes into your schedule or can’t afford them at present, make the most of what you do have by going to workshops which take place less regularly. This is something you can do even while travelling or working away as most cities and towns in the UK and abroad will have a local arts scene with events and acting academies. Keep an eye out for free workshops, such as those from the Federation of Entertainment Unions.
Whether it’s at the theatre, on the big screen or simply snuggling under the duvet with a TV show or movie in the comfort of your home, watch the professionals! However, don’t just switch off, actively watch. Take note of the acting and the camera angles. Think about the use of different shots and where the actors are positioned. Watch how your favourite actors portray their emotions with their eyes, faces and bodies. Watch, absorb and learn!
Observe yourself. Don’t reserve your people watching only for strangers. You can use your own actions, emotions and responses to colour your characters and improve your acting. Think about the way you react in certain situations. Next time you feel a strong emotion take moment to consider what you are doing with your body, think about what you are feeling and try and capture a memory of that feeling so you can use it in your acting!
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for practising your acting in fun ways outside of class. There are loads of other ways to practise your acting anywhere, any time, do you have any suggestions? We’d love to hear your advice too!
That said, nothing compares to professional training, so if it’s been a while since you took classes or there’s something in particular you fancy working on, perhaps for an audition or simply to expand your skills, why not check out YAFTA’s range of masterclasses, workshops with industry professionals and weekly screen acting classes.
You can attend our classes in two ways; as a full time student or as a drop-in student. Full time students pay for a place in the class in four weekly cycles at a cost of £60. Drop-in students pay £20 per class and attend as when they are available, a good option for working actors and those with other commitments.
Child/teen classes are paid termly i.e. £135 every 12 weeks. These classes do not run in the school holiday.
Full breakdown of available classes and workshops, along with current charges can be found on the bookings page.
Have fun and see you on screen!