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8 Acting Techniques You’ve Never Heard Of

No matter how much you study the acting techniques of The Greats—and we all should—there always something new to explore in the world of acting.

Here’s a list of acting techniques that I don’t think you’ll find outlined in the leading acting methods such as:

  • Meisner
  • Method acting
  • Alexander
  • Stanislavski
  • Chekhov

I’ve been to some amazing acting classes with helpful instructors who have helped me learn and practice techniques from these prevailing acting methods.

But sometimes you realize that the things that really work for you aren’t laid out in any book or framework.

Warning: these techniques will not really help you connect to the story, character, or emotional temperature of a scene—I’ll leave that to The Greats.

To be clear, these are jokes.

Acting Techniques For When You Don’t Want To Do A Self-Tape

I don’t know many actors who love doing self-tapes. Here are a few hacks I’ve discovered have helped me get the self-tape done and out the door:

Set up the tripod in a really inconvenient place.

At some point, it will become more appealing to film the self-tape than it is to trip over the tripod every few minutes.

Don’t do the self-tape.

I’ve found it’s a very effective technique if you don’t want to do a self-tape.

I’m only half-joking. If you don’t even want to be this character for the half hour it takes to get it on tape…maybe you don’t want this role.

Acting Techniques For Auditions

Here are a few things actors try to make their auditions great.

Disturb everyone else in the room

One way some actors love to calm their anxiety is by disturbing other actors while waiting to get called in for their audition. Not only will you distract yourself from your nerves, but you’ll also share useless information about how many auditions you’ve been to lately so that you can both be self-conscious about it later.

Jack yourself up on caffeine

There’s nothing like the feeling of treating yourself to a latte because you’ve “got an audition to be ready for today”. And there’s also nothing like the feeling of having 150mg of caffeine hit you 30 seconds before you head in to the casting room.

Just look at everyone with judgement

If you can’t center yourself before an audition, try to make yourself feel calm by comparison by simply making everyone else feel very judged. To do this acting techniques, you simply look around at what other people are wearing. Give the other actors a discerning up-down to let them know they’re being judged.

Acting Techniques For When Your Non-Acting Friends Ask How Your Audition Went

I think actors who go through auditions regularly know that it’s simply part of the work of being an actor. Not getting cast is not a big deal—even if we feel a little down about it, we know that it’s simply part of the art of filmmaking.

However, I find that it’s your non-acting friends who are often waaaaaay over-invested in the outcomes of your auditions.

“So, how did it go?”

“How many people were they auditioning?”

“What movie is it for?”

And the classic:

“When will you know if you got the part?”

Say “I don’t know” constantly.

This technique works well if you are patient. Simply keep responding with “I don’t know”. Maybe throw some variety in there every once in a while: “I really don’t know” and “I don’t really know”.

Stick with it. You’ll get there.

Tell no one about your auditions.

I know a lot of actors who do this, actually, so it’s not really a joke. I know actors who are either very vague about when and what they are auditioning for, or they don’t say anything at all.

Become increasingly exasperated as you respond to their questions.

I think every actor has tried this technique when well-meaning friends or family follows up with very specific questions about auditions.

To do this, you simply try to respond to their questions, becoming more exasperated until you feel like you should not have even auditioned at all. For example:

Your friend: “So, how many people were auditioning?”

You: I’m not sure. There were maybe 50 names on the list that I saw.

Your friend: “And when will you know if you got the part?”

You:They never really tell you.

Your friend: “You just have to wait? How long?”

You:Maybe a few days? I honestly have no clue.

Your friend: “What did they say about it?”

You: They said ‘thanks for coming in’. I honestly have NO IDEA. Gaaaaaaahhhh.

By Sarah Tolle

Actor, writer, storyteller.

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