A big part of becoming an actor is exploring various acting styles, and figuring out where your strengths are. Read on to learn about some of the different types, courtesy of Brooklyn, NY teacher Liz T...
If you’re an actor starting out in your training, get ready to plunge into a variety of acting styles! As an actor you should familiarize yourself with all of the different acting styles at first, and then choose one to focus on. It is best to be well-rounded and to know the methods and skills used for each style of acting, and then see which style comes natural to you!
Acting for Film
This includes anything that is being filmed, such as movies, TV, webisodes, commercials, reality shows, hosting, and so on. Acting for film requires different techniques than you would use when performing on stage (which I will talk about in my next topic). Everything seen and heard on TV is different, when it comes down to the actual filming process of it. Most often you will not be in front of a live audience, but will perhaps be doing a scene with a partner. The scene may be shot by the director a thousand times before moving on, so patience and stamina are a must. You have to make the scene look fresh each time you film it, because you never know which take they are going to use! Acting for film requires you to go more into depth, while paying attention to your facial expressions in front of the camera and the volume of your speaking voice.
Acting for the Stage
Where in acting for film you do not have to project your voice as much, in theater you have to work on projecting your voice loud enough so that the entire theater can hear you without having to use a microphone! In theater, you may be doing the same show eight times a week, and again have to keep it fresh for the audience each time, as it is a brand new performance. On stage, you also have to be conscious of your movement, your surroundings, and how you interact with the other cast members, scenery, props, and so on. You have to be able to think on your feet if something doesn’t go exactly right on stage, and always stay in character. Unfortunately during a live show there is no “going back” – you can’t re-shoot like you can in film, so you you must move forward!
Classical acting consists of mostly dramatic works, including plays, works by Shakespeare, monologues, and some comedy dating back to 1500 B.C. Classical acting is still appreciated today, and requires lots of training to perfect. To go more in depth with classical acting, I recommend diving into Shakespeare and other serious playwrights such as Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon. Work on those dramatic monologues, and perfect your delivery, accents, and scene work with props. Classical acting is not for the “wannabe” actor – it is taken very seriously and is highly respected. Most dramas took place over in Europe, so you’ll also want to become familiar with different times and points in history.
This is one of the more contemporary acting styles, which requires a lot of imagination and creativity! Based on having fun and letting loose, improv troupes are quite popular today, especially among the 20- to 30-year-old range. Improv training consists of learning silly acting games or acting out skits and scenarios, and is usually performed in front of a live audience on stage. If you’re interested in learning more about this acting style, try watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Saturday Night Live for inspiration! You can also take improv classes or find an acting teacher to help you improve your skills. With improv, you must be confident enough to perform on your own, but you also need to have the skills to perform in a group and work with your teammates!
Each actor is called to a different acting style, whether it be for film, TV, or in a classical or improvisational role. I encourage you to study each, and see which of the acting styles you enjoy the most! Best of luck!
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!
Photo by Nic’s events