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How Can I Use Method Acting In Real Life?
Elements of acting can be useful in real life. Specifically, acting helps you become a version of yourself that is most likely to succeed in the situation you find yourself in. For example, you might be more introverted, but for your career you need to be good at parties. By using acting skills, you can create a character that flourishes in a social environment. Anytime you need to do well socially, you just re enter that character.
Method acting is a specific form of acting that can be extremely powerful. Method actors become their characters. They act, dress, think, and behave like their characters for months before a movie is even shot.
Trial lawyers take acting classes for this exact reason. Trial can be nerve racking and tense. Everyone is analyzing each word you say and how you say it. To overcome this, trial attorneys turn to acting. By learning to act, trial attorneys develop the ability to show certain parts of themselves that will maximize their chances of winning. They can display parts of themselves that are confident, decisive, authoritative, and friendly. They become the most effective version of themselves.
If you are in sales, you can use acting techniques to help you give more convincing presentations. If you are in the medical field, you can use acting the help you display empathy better. If you are in politics, acting can help you bring out different parts of yourself that resonate with your audience.
Often people think this is a form of lying. Lying often constitutes a serious tactical failure and we don’t recommend it much. Acting isn’t lying.
The best actors reach deep within themselves to draw on their experiences to create a character. They are simply focusing attention on a small part of who they are. The remaining part of this article will give you specific tactic advice on how to be a better actor. We will draw on method acting to accomplish these goals.
Method Acting Tricks & Techniques & Exercises
- Remove tension. Practice meditating on the tension in your body. Where is it? The back? The arms or legs? Where do you feel tension in different environments or situations? Practice focusing on that tense area and picture stretching and releasing it. You can also focus on simply accepting that feeling.
- Focus on status in relation to the others in the room. Much of acting comes naturally if you just focus on what your status is relevant to other people in the room. Are you in charge? Who reports to whom? Decide what the most advantageous status is for you in relation to the people you will be around.
- Study an animal or movie character. Go where this person spends time. Observe how they move certain body parts. Watch how the animal or person looks at things and how it reacts. How does the animal differ from the way you act under certain circumstances? Practice acting like that animal or person. Kobe Bryant, the famous basketball player, said he studied sharks to improve his game. One actor went and spent days in a hospital ward to better understand their character.
- Practice effective memory. This technique helps you create a more realistic and believable character. Think of each of the senses. Think of the emotions your character displays the most. Write down times in your life where you felt that way. Describe the event in detail. Where were you? What happened earlier that day? What was the weather like? What did you smell and see and hear? How did you stand? What went through your mind? What scared or excited you? What emotions conflicted with that primary emotion you were feeling? Focus on those emotions and picture how your character would react to them.
- Be that character for a period of time. Immersing yourself in the character for a period of time can be extremely helpful in putting the finishing touches on. Recreate as much of the character’s surroundings as you can. For example, an actor playing a holocaust survivor learned to play piano on a small room and didn’t eat for a few days so he understood what desperation hunger felt like. Ask yourself what common scenarios would your character find themselves in and how would they react or act emotionally.
- Record yourself with a camera or use a mirror. Practice speaking or acting like your character. Watch yourself back and critique where your movements, tone, word choice, or facial expressions don’t match the character you are trying to create.
- Channel emotions. Select an emotion you want to work on. Think of a person who makes you feel that emotion the most, sitting in front of you. Imagine how things look, smell, and feel in that situation. Now tell the person how you feel about them and why. Keep going until you have nothing else to say.
What Characters Are Useful To Have?
We suggest a minimum of three characters. First and foremost, you need a character who is tough, skeptical, selfish, aggressive, and unflinching. This character will be useful when people insult you or when you are in a negotiating situation. Try studying sharks, violent movie characters, or that person in your life who always doubts.
Second, create a character that is outgoing, gregarious, charismatic, and fun. Clearly this character is most useful for social and networking events. Try looking for movies with characters who are giving public speeches or characters who are at parties.
Finally, create a character that is empathetic, helpful, and a good listener. This portion of yourself is useful when you need to connect with people on a deeper level. Characters who are therapists and friendship movies work well here.
If you are interested in how to develop the social side of yourself, check out this article to learn the secrets of starting conversations in any situation.
If you want to learn more about how to get people to listen to you when you speak, check out this video and article on the subject.