So You Think You Can Act? | Crystal Williams | Skillshare

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So You Think You Can Act?

teacher avatar Crystal Williams, Acting

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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About This Class

So You Think Can Act is a master class that gives the student a solid foundation on how to act by introducing each student to basic vocabulary words. Do you know what endowment, suspension of disbelief, objectives, and script analysis mean?  If you don’t know, then this class is for you. Students will learn about acting terms every actor should know before taking an acting class and pursuing a career in acting.  In my experience as an actress, I was often expected to have an understanding about certain terms that I had never been taught through my journey of aspiring to become an actress.  Most people want to become actors but don’t really know how to stand on stage or how they should respond when given direction from a director.  If you don’t want to be considered an amateur actor, please learn these vocabulary words and how to utilize them successfully when performing on stage! 

In this course you’ll learn how to:

  • Apply various acting techniques on stage
  • Understand the difference between characterization vs. imitation
  • How to perform in a believable scene using objective, beats, tactics, and other necessary tools.
  • Free the actor’s instruments of tension: Body, Voice, and Imagination through active participation in different exercises.
  • Analyze scripts for given circumstances (environmental and social) and apply it in a monologue performance

Meet Your Teacher

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Crystal Williams



Hello, I'm Crystal.

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1. INTRODUCTION : Okay. Bye. I want to be clear on your objective and raise the state's crystals. Make sure you understand your need so you could act moments a moment and you suspension of disbelief so you don't get distracted. I told you I don't want to meet with him anymore. I need you to be angry. I told you, I don't want to be with you anymore. I need you to be angry. I told you, I don't want to be with you anymore. You know what? Hello, everybody. So do you think you can act? My name is Crystal Williams, and I will be your course instructor. Reason I decided to title the course. So you think you can act is I really want you to reflect on that question. Cannot really. In my proceed of becoming an actor, I decided to get my M f A and acting from the prestigious actor studio school in New York City. And I also obtained my bachelor's degree theater and on my journey through acting. I've had a lot of failures, but I've also had a lot of success along the way. And I decided to title this course. So you think you can, because I really want you to think about that. Are there some vocabulary terms that you still need to learn? Are there some vocabulary words that you still don't know about? In the beginning, you saw the director yelling at me, telling me, I want you to raise the states And those were often positions that I found myself in, and I really didn't know what those words meant. I didn't know what what were the stakes or what did it mean to play for moments a moment, or what's the suspension of disbelief? And I often felt myself being called an amateur actor, and that is something that you never want to be cold. So if you're interested in pursuing a career in acting great, I'm sure you are phenomenal. However, there are some basic vocabulary words that you need to know is some techniques and tools that you need to understand. So in this course I decided to put together a bunch of vocabulary rivers that build a solid foundation for you so that you'll have a understanding of what it means. Teoh utilized it for positions on stage and also just to have a general understanding of what acting is all about and what to do when the director gives you instructions. So take this course because it will lead you on your journey towards becoming a successful actor. 2. OBJECTIVE: So today we're going to talk about objectives now. What is an objective? It's a character's pursuit of a specific goal in a scene, and it's also referred to as the driving question or intention. Now one of the keys to successful acting is knowing what you, the character once so you can start by asking yourself the question. What do I want now? Keep in mind your objective may change depending on how many scenes you are in if you're performing in a play a movie, a TV sitcom, which would require you to know how to do script analysis. But we're going to talk about that in the leader class. So let's talk about some examples oven injected. Now I'm sure you watched or you know, you've read about some characters in the story who maybe wanted to win the lottery or they wanted to be on a TV show or they wanted to get revenge. Or maybe they just wanted to find freedom. Knowing what you the character once keeps you focused on the intention. Now, if you're director says, I want you to be angry or in this scene, I want you to be very happy this will immediately turn into overacting, or surface acting, because you'll try toe be angry without really focusing on the intention. So, for example, have you ever seen a child get upset in the store because they couldn't really get what they want? Maybe candy or a toy? They didn't really have to focus on being angry because all the color for emotions were already there because the child was focusing on what they really wanted. And when you focus on what you want, all the color for emotions were already be there, and your acting will be believable. So once you know what you want, then you can discover how you will go about getting what you want and what is standing in the way of what you want, which is an obstacle, and we'll talk about that in the next class. 3. OBSTACLE: So today we're gonna talk about obstacles. Now what is an obstacle? An obstacle is something that stands in the way of your character from getting what he or she wants. Now every character has something standing in his or her way, which prevents them from getting to their goal rather easily. The obstacle could be You really want to go to a party, but it's your sister's turned to have the car. Or maybe the character has to get to like the top of this mountain. But he or she has to defeat some enemies down below for along the way. Your job as the actor is to figure out what you're obstacle is and what is standing in the way. And this is what makes acting so beautiful. You know, watching a character do any and everything to achieve his or her goal. And once you are clear about your objective and the obstacle, the question is, what will you do to get what you want? And this is known as a tactic, which is what we'll talk about in the next video 4. TACTIC: So what is a tactic? A tactic is how your character goes about getting what he or she wants. Now, When choosing a tactic, make sure you choose an action verb. An example of an action verb are words that can be physically perform. Some examples are I want to ignore or I really wanna please or I want to entertain. I would suggest picking up and actors to SARS so you can have an access to a plethora of action words to use. So when you're looking for an action verb, ask yourself this question. Can this be physically done? Meaning? If you were playing a game of charades, could you act this word out with your body? Now it may seem cheesy or like you're overacting, but I would suggest practicing your action verbs before performing script analysis in your scene. This will help your acting choices become less robotic and less mechanical and more realistic and believable. 5. 4TH WALL & BREAKING CHARACTER: So what is the fourth wall? Our fourth wall is an imaginary wall now. What is breaking character breaking your character is stepping outside of the imaginary world of the performance. Now, if you didn't know public speaking is the number one fear in America. It's already difficult to speak in front of people, let alone step into the role of someone else. Acting can be very tedious in nerve wrecking at times. Sometimes there's just a lot happening on and off stage or on set, and you must do everything in your power to maintain the world of your character. So when you are one stage or you're in front of the camera, you must pretend that there is an imaginary wall that's blocking you and the audience members on stage. Or even if you're instead, the people standing behind the care on the camera so that you don't break character. For example, someone's phone may go off a year job is to stay in character. It's happened to me before. Now, if you break the fourth wall or you break character, you might be considered an amateur actor and you never want that. So as an actor, you must focus. You must concentrate. Your imaginary wall could be that you are familiar and comfortable with to ease your nerves like maybe your bedroom or maybe a familiar room in your home. So for practice, I want you to go to a public space and imagine you are in your comfortable place like your bedroom, your living room or a place that you find to be very intimate where you can relax, and I want you to sit for five minutes and see how long you can tune everyone out around you. Or let's say, if you're out at dinner and you're talking to someone, pretend that there is a wall that's blocking you in that person from everyone around you. And I want you to tune the mount for as long as you can in the more you practice, the better you'll become. 6. BEAT & MOTIVATION: So what is a beat? Ah beat is a change in subject action, mood and motivation within the scene. What is the motivation? Motivation is the why the reason a character pursues a particular objective. So keep in mind that the word beat is not often written within ah, play or a script. So you the actor must discover where the be changes or occurs in the script. Your character could be motivated by the following things. Number one need for food, water and shelter number to safety and security. Most people look towards building a life in which they feel safe from emotional m bodily harm. Three. Love and belonging People begin to seek out strong relationships that will help them maintain mental. And he will emotional well being and confidence in a strong sense of self number four accomplishments and self esteem. People were to accomplish things and number five self actualization people work to bringing their biggest dreams to pass. So be is a change in subject action, mood or motivation within the scene and motivation is the why the reason a character pursues a particular objective. So now you know the difference between a beat and a motivation 7. PANTOMIME VS. MIME: pantomime is the oldest art forum that developed from the Italian street theater of the commedia Dell Arte A in the 16th century, with comedic moments in stock characters. Now what is pantomime pantomime is telling a story with your body without the use of language. Why is pantomime important? Enacting one stage or on say, there may not be an actual sink, but let's say your character may have to wash their hands. You have to pretend that there is actually water that is coming out of the faucet as you wash your hands. Or if the water is hot, you have to naturally respond to react to whatever is hot. Or let's just say you have to carry something heavy on stage, make sure you maintain the consistency of the weight and its size. Now what is mine? Mine is an actor who communicates the movements of the body and face but does not speak. Ah, mime has to create the objects, create the wall or sincerely create the bowl. Now stage acting for the most part requires pantomime so foreign exercise. I want you to create a solo pantomime, and I want you to perform it for Ah, family member or just behind the camera. Maybe you have a toothache in or your car might break down and you're waking up. Or maybe you're going out for your daily routine. The pantomime should be one minute long with a beginning, a middle and an end. And let's just say you wake up out of bed, you stubbed your toe. Then you walk into the bathroom. Then you open the drawer. You brush your teeth and you wash your face, and then you get your clothes off for the day. So here are a few things I want you to keep in mind when you are doing painter mine number one Environmental Awareness Is it hot cold, Rainy or sunny? Number two. Spatial awareness. Make sure you maintain spatial awareness. Where is the door or the items that are around the room? Three size and wheat? Make sure you maintain the size and weight of the object. What are you holding? How heavy is it and what is the size Number four. Make sure you have bodily awareness and expression. Keep your bodily awareness expressed with your face and express with your body. Are you tired? Are you happy expression is key key key. So now you know pantomime is telling a story without the use of language, and the mind is an actor who communicates through movement and through body and facial expressions. 8. EMOTING VS. INDICATING: what is emoting versus indicating? Emoting is expressing emotions, while indicating is showing what the character is feeling or doing leading to a false and shallow performance. Now, while you're acting, there is nothing wrong with showing a colorful array of emotions. However, your emotions need to be expressed naturally, if you're on stage and you're finding that you're not connected to the character into the scene, that you will easily start emoting and pushing out emotions, trying to be angry or really, really said, or trying to fake her eye. And this is called indicating So here's a little too. If you're having an emotional black in your seen meaning, you can't connect to the character within the scene. One technique you can use is substitution or personalization, so what you want to do is look into the eyes of your scene partner and then, since sorely create the eyes of someone you actually do love or do hey or really are afraid of one way you'll know that you're emoting, or indicating is when the response doesn't feel natural, inauthentic, certain things will cause for a natural response, like if you bang your toe on the ground, you you actually respond in pain, and that's a natural reacting, a natural reaction. So this is just a small technique you conduce do to keep yourself from indicating any movie . 9. GESTURES & BODY LANGUAGE: So what are gestures? Gestures are movement made made with hands and arms, used to emphasize points made in dialogue and after may try to emphasize the point in an argument by throwing their hands in the air or pointing or clapping their hands. Now what his body language body language is nonverbal communication in which physical behaviors are used to convey information. It's not to be confused with posture, which is the way an actor stands, sits and generally holds him or herself. Now, posture helps to physically create a character. Your posture could be that of a posture of disappointment or posture of fear, you know, posture of shaking your leg or biting of the fingernails, which represents some form of nervousness, whereas gestures are movements made with your hands in your arms. While body language is nonverbal communication in which physical behaviors are used to convey information 10. SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF VS. ILLUSION OF THE 1ST TIME: what is suspension of disbelief. It is the ability of a Butte viewer to accept what he or she sees and hears as rule. Now, what is the illusion of the first time? It is the actor's ability to perform in a show over and over again while making it appear that the dialogue and suspicions are happening for the very first time. So although the audience is watching and you, the actor are performing, you must use the suspension of disbelief, meaning that even though you're on stage or you might be in a dream room, your job is to make the audience believe that you are actually where you are or where the scene takes place, whether it's a mountain or in a cave or outside, in the snow or windy storm or wherever. So whether you are performing one time or 100 times each, performance must be performed with excellence as if it were being performed right there in the moment the most of the time. Um ah, play may run for a good 2 to 3 months, or sometimes even longer, depending upon if you're on Broadway or if you're with the traveling company. However, each performance must be performed with the ex ain't exact energy, passion and excellence that it was performed the first opening night, Meisner said. Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances. Therefore, we must remain truthful in our acting at all times. 11. MOMENT BEFORE: So what is the moment before? The moment before is the time and events prior to the beginning of a play or a scene. Now, although you are playing a character, the character like rule people in life, they have a history. The character has a birthday. They had events leading up to the present moment that appear in their seen. So you have to ask yourself, What did my character do right before they entered the scene? Does the script tell whether the character just got off a work, or are they really, really tired, or did they just come from a party? The moment before is key, and it is essential to what your character is going to do in the scene, because it will give you clues as to how you should enter on the stage or into the scene and how you're going to interact with your scene partners and how your character should behave during their scene. So always make a note off what your character was doing the moment before your character into the scene 12. CHARACTER VS. CHARACTERIZATION : What is a character? It's the person creature, entity in a novel or a play with specific and distinguishing attributes. Now what is characterization? It is the actor using his or her craft to explore the specific qualities of a character. Now the actor develops and portrays a personality through their thoughts, their actions, their dialogue, their costume in their makeup. Characterization involves more than just pretending to be a character in the scene or a play, and involves making others believe that you are someone else. An actor's job is to not only use all of those things, but to use their mind, their face, their body voice to think, talk and act and react like someone else. So in the movie us all the characters had to create two separate characters. The pizza and Younger focused on using her voice to develop the character red or in my all time favorite movie for his gun, played by Tom Hanks. He created a unique voice as well Aziz unique mannerisms to create the most memorable, lovable character that the world would never forget. And last but not least, we cannot forget Heat Ledger, who was inspired by Tom Waits to create the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight. So you see, you have to focus on using different things to develop your character. My question to you is what inspires you when you're creating a character. I want you to observe animals, other people's behaviors and see what you can incorporate. When you're creating a character or you can use facets of yourself. You never know. It might lead you to an ask her winning performance. 13. SUBSTITUTION VS. ENDOWMENT: So what is the difference between substitution versus endowment? Substitution is when the actor places objects or character with objects or people in their lives in order to better identify and complete scene objectives. For example, if I were in a love scene, I would visualize my husband's face in front of the face of the other actor. What is endowment endowment is to give physical or emotional attributes to your character to create more reality and meaning to further the needs of the story. Now objects can also be endowed with physical emerged, emotional or historical attributes like shaving without a bleed or removing wet clothing when it's not really wet or drinking water as if it were liquor. So now you know the difference between substitution and endowment. 14. TENSION : So what is tension? Tension is the state of anxiety induced in the audience by the threat of danger to the character in the play or a movie. Now what are the stakes? Steaks are the emotional significance of the outcome to your character. Now stakes are really, really important. Think of time running out and with the character needs being a matter of life or a matter of death. It has to be urgent. I remember playing a character where I had to advocate for my son to stay in school because he was suspended for removing something off of the autor. And my acting teacher said, What are the stakes for you, even though it is not mentioned in the text? So I really had to think about it. So we decided to make it personal for me. The actor. I only had a little bit of time to convince the head nun to allow my son to come back to school, and we decided that maybe if my child leaves the school, the state would take away money that I needed for my family and for my family to pay the bills, and that would affect me emotionally in a really great way and create tension while keeping the stakes really, really high. So remember that whatever you want, in order to keep the stakes high, it has to be very urgent. It has to be a matter of life where has to be a matter of death. 15. SUBTEXT: So what a subtext. Subtext is the characters, complex thoughts, their feelings, their emotions created and layered under the actual words and actions of the character. Now subtext is information that is implied by character but not stated by a character in dialogue, including actions and thoughts. Your character could be folding clothes, pretending to be happy, but their actions say something else. You know, the husband couldn't say, Honey, how are you today? And then the wife says, I'm fine. But if she's slamming the closed down and you know, doing other thing, we know doing other things In reality, we know that she's experiencing and saying two different things. So this is an example of subtext. 16. DELIVERY: What is delivery delivery is the manner in which you present a speech or a line in a play. When Martin Luther King delivered his I Have a Dream speech, he delivered it with confidence and in a very preaching manner, while Lin, Manuel, Miranda and Hamilton delivered some of his lines about Alexander Hamilton through rap and sometimes song. So delivery is important. When you are performing in the play doing a monologue or just acting, period, it will keep the audience engaged, So remember to keep your delivery unique. 17. MONOLOGUE: what is a monologue? Ah, monologue is a scene or a portion of a script in which an actor gives a lengthy, unbroken speech without interruption by another character. Now, monologues are very important for acting because most of the time they're used for auditions or you're speaking so long the audience gets to see your acting chops. Now here are some things that I think you should remember when you are choosing and monologue for your audition or when you're just simply performing number one connection. Connect to the character and to the monologue number to care. You have to be on your character side, and you can never judge them. You in real life may not do the things that your character does, but in order to be them, you have to become them and understand their journey more than anyone else because you're playing the character. And number three, I believe, is one of the most important is craft show range and make sure you are unique. Use inflection of your voice, use accents if it's necessary and bodily movements. We want to see you tell a story. We want you to take us on a journey with you. So whether you choose a comedic monologue or a Germanic monologue, show the director you're acting chops because there are hundreds of people auditioning for the same role is you, and when you walk into the room, the directors are hoping it's you. 18. SCRIPT ANALYSIS: what a script analysis. So when we study our scripts, I want you to think of who, what, when, where and why. Script analysis is the close study of a play or a screenplay or story, including dialogue and stage directions, to find the answer that is necessary to create a full and rich character and to craft a performance that serves the script. Now there are different methods to study in a script such as the Meisner technique, the Method. Tekken E Juilliard, Crawford Analysis Goat Slash rapper Cohen and Buddha Haagen For script analysis. I have provided in Who'd Oaxacan worksheet. So I want you to use this worksheet whenever you are performing in the play to discover inches about your character. Once you create the world of the character, it's going to be so much easier to perform in tow. What become more believable as an actor would a hug and ask these questions? Who am I? What time is it? Where am I? What surrounds me? What is my relationship with the other characters in the story? What do I want? Why do you want what you want? What's in your way? What do I expect will happen next. So now that we've talked about that, I want you to think about what are the given circumstances? The term given circumstances is applied to the total set of environmental and situational conditions, which influenced the actions that a character in a drama undertakes. So although a character may make such choices unconsciously, the actor playing the character is aware of such conditions on a conscious level to help him or her deepen his or her understanding of the motivation behind the characters. Actions so given circumstances will include conditions of the characters world. So when performing in the play, be sure to Asher. So all of these questions. 19. AFFECTIVE MEMORY: So what is an effective memory or remembered emotion? It is memory that involves the actor personally, so that deeply rooted emotional experiences begin to respond as you perform. So when you're using an effective memory, it will help your instrument to awaken and become more alive when you're performing on stage. So how do you use an effective memory? What I want you to do is find a quiet place, lie down and walk through your effective memory. From the moment it began until the moment it end, it ends. Your effective memory could be something you lost a value or something that happened to you , but it needs to affect you in a way that brings about the true life of the character in the emotional needs of the character and the world of your story. And as you perform the script or before you perform the script, think about your effective um, memory. Now when you are using an effective memory, make sure it's one that won't cause you to go into a depression or anything like that, but one that will calls for emotional vote, vulnerability, tears or whatever is needed for the scene. 20. EMOTIONAL RECALL & SENSE MEMORY: So what is emotional recall or emotional memory? It is the emotions from an actor's memory, whether long or short term, off personal experiences that are used to connect the actor to the character and meet the emotional needs of the situation in the play or film. Now the goal is for your emotions to be stimulated. So if you are having trouble connecting to a scene, I want you to recall a time when someone made you really angry, sad or you were just happy. Use that same energy and emotion in your scene, of course, with clear objectives, tactics and intentions. This is emotional recall now. What a sense memory, since memory is the basis for Lee Strasbourg's method of acting since memory, you is used to refer to the recall of physical sensations such a sight, touch, taste, smell and sound. You know? What do you see? What are you feeling? What are you tasting? What are you smelling at that particular time? That is known as since memory. So for both of these exercises, I want you to find a quiet Please lie down. And you I'm going to have you walk through your emotional recall or since memory from beginning to end, Write down what comes up for you. Most importantly, will it help you connect to your scene and will help you connect to the character? 21. DIALECT, DICTION, & INFLECTION: So what is Dialect? Dialect is a distinctly regional or linguistic speech pattern. A Northern American might say hello. But certain Southerners, if they still say this, might say howdy What his diction addiction is the vocal style, rhythm and words of the characters, the accent, the enunciation and the inflection. Someone from the hood may use different word choices than someone who is a professional. Someone from the hood may say, was up meaning, How are you versus someone who is a professional? They may say something like, Hi, how are you today? So it's important to know the difference between dialect and diction, because your character may have an accent and you need to know what their speech patterns are, including their vocal styles as well. Inflections also play a key role in how your character speaks. Inflections is a change in pitch or turn a voice. For example, where are you going versus where are you going? That is an example of an inflection you might ask. How can I get better with my speech patterns or my accents? One Number one. You can hire an accent coach. You can take a neutral American speech class and learn the international phonetic alphabet . This will teach you how to transcribe accents. And you can just begin for practicing from there on your own or with the speech coats. So now you know the difference between dialect, diction and inflections. 22. DIALOGUE/PACE/BUILD: So what is dialogue? Dialogue are descriptive words exchanged by performers. Dialogue is what is written down, and it's the conversation characters have with each other or a conversation you have with someone else. Now, when you're acting, pay attention to what is happening in the conversation, in terms of pacing and in terms of building. So what is pace in? What is temple? Pace and tempo is the rate at which a scene is played. So does the scene move slow and then intensifies? Or is it like a ping pong match, where it goes back and forth between the two actors in a really intense argument? So knowing how and when to build you're seeing helps with pacing? Now what does it mean to build build is to increase the vocal intensity. So now you know the difference between dialogue and pacing and building 23. DROP & PROJECTION: What does it mean to drop lines? Lines on which an actor does not project his or her voice sufficiently to be hurt are said to be dropped. Your character may say, Hey, Peter, I wish you would stop. Now you see how at the end you could barely hear what I was saying. This is an example of what it means to drop your lines. So remember, when you are speaking, make sure you always project your voice so that you do not drop your lines. So what does it mean to project your voice? Projection is the control of the Valium clarity and distinctness of your voice too great to gain greater ought ability. So make sure you don't drop your lines and always project your voice. 24. CUE & PICK UP CUES: what is a que a que are the last words of a speech or the end of inaction, indicating the time for another actor to speak or another actor to act now an actor must memorize his cues as carefully as he memorizes his lines. Now what? Our pick up cues pick up cues is a direction for the actor to begin speaking immediately on cue without there being any lapse of time, which is usually indicated by a hyphen at the end of a sentence. So now you know the difference between a Q and A pickup you. 25. THE 9 STAGE AREAS: today we're going to talk about the nine stage areas. Now. What are the nine stage areas and order that a director made designee and actors position on stage properly? The stage is divided into nine stage areas. That is up stage right up stage center up stage left center stage, right center stage center stage left and then you have downstage right downstage center and downstage left. Now pretend you are an audience member watching the actor as he points to his left that his stage left, which is the audience is right. And there's he points, right? That is the actors right, which is the audience left. So now you know, the nine stage areas in stage left from stage, right? 26. STAGE CROSSES: So in our previous class, we talked about the nine different stage areas. Now, today we're gonna talk about stage crosses. What is the stage Cross? A stage cross is basically nothing but a movement from one area of the stage to another area of the stage. It's often represented by an ex. When you script score, which we'll talk about in another class. So you're director would say, Hey, I need you to cross downstage left toe upstage, right? And sometimes you might not have a familiarity with that terminology. So in this class, we're gonna play a little game to see if you can remember how to move or cross from center stage. Right? Downstage left. Someone opposed to you These challenges. You ready? Cross up stage right up. Stage left. No Dragon, cross up stage right up. Stage left. Good. You got it. Now cross up stage left to downstairs, right. See a piece of cake. You're getting it together already. So, while you're home, I want you to practice these nine different stage areas and try to formulate some quizzes for yourself where you say, Hey, let me cross downstage left toe upstage. Right. And this will help you remember your stage areas as an actor. When your director just says, Hey, I need you to cross from downstage left up stage, right? It will make things easier for you and less tedious when you're performing on stage.