One of the trickiest things for me about being an actor is the space between classes and gigs. Unlike singing, dancing, painting, or writing- tactics to develop your acting are not as obvious on your own. And days locked to a desk at your 9-5 can be even harder, no matter how much you enjoy the job itself. So this is less of a post, and more a call for advice:
How do you continue to work on your craft when you’re in between classes and shows?
or even further…
How to do you continue to grow when you are not even in a (logistical or financial) place to audition for a new project?
At the moment, I am lucky to be in a class with a new scene or monologue to work on each week. Simply having that teacher to hold me accountable and provide feedback each Sunday is invaluable. And yet when I am in between classes, either due to my schedule or cash flow, there are only so many times I can run a new monologue to my frightened cats.
As someone who needs to create to keep from going insane, I find other ways to produce art forms outside of theatre – this blog for example. I sing, I run, I do yoga, and I read like a madwoman. And though I know this adds to my acting on a personal level, working on the craft itself often eludes me without a structure or schedule.
These tasks are a reminder that I am an actor, even on days when I spend three hours making photocopies in an office. I have gone long enough questioning if I will ever give it up, only to come around each time to the fact that I am am actor whether I am actively pursuing it that month or not. But when I go without a project for too long, I become more and more creatively stuck. And then, these dry patches away from theatre hurt my acting. When I return, my acting is calculated, blocked, and disconnected- decreasing my chances to get cast in a new project. And alas, the cycle continues.
So I would love to hear from you about tips, similar questions, or your general experience. What do you do, day-by-day to work on yourself as an actor, even when the structure is gone?
8 responses to “Actor Poll: What do you do when you’re not acting?”
I read plays, and think about how awesome my wife is.
Baking has become very therapeutic for me. Creating something, even though it’s not theatre. It’s a good outlet. I also try and SEE shows when I’m not involved in a project to keep me inspired.
Baking has become very therapeutic for me, creating something even though it’s not theatre. It’s been a great outlet. I also try and SEE as much theatre as possible when I’m not involved in a project to inspire me.
Those are both very true for me too, thanks Ashley, and I LOVE your blog! Cooking (baking and I don’t quite get along) has been a great outlet for me as well, and Ben and I were recently talking about holding ourselves to seeing a certain amount of shows a month.
Yes, I hear you. Once you’re out and go back, for me, it’s kind of the feeling of returning to exercise after a long pause, the acting muscles feel all tight and sore. I took an acting workshop once where this lady had developed acting “exercises” that you could do every day on your own, like reps. It was like, “anger moment!” stuff like that. It wasn’t my fave.
Um… so I’ma playwright.
Hahahah I totally hear you though. I’ve had certain teachers say similar things about exploring your emotions as an exercise. It really hasn’t been helpful for me either. It’s definitely tricky to practice all this on your own.
And you’re a great playwright!!
[…] I talked about in a post a few months back, acting is one of those tricky art forms to practice in your living room. […]