Top 4 Actor’s Workout Elements by Deborah Lemen
Musicians, artists, and dancers are consistently working on their craft. Dancers; step by step, Musicians; note by note, Artists; stroke by stroke. In the same vein, as an actor, it is extremely important to be continually working out on your own and in class, hence here are coach Deborah Lemen’s Top 4 Actor’s Workout Elements.
As an acting teacher, I speak with casting directors and producers regularly and what they tell me is that they are always on the lookout for fresh and unique talent; An actor who is committed to the work, who isn’t afraid of stepping up to a challenging role and offering a new perspective. They are looking for actors who can easily step into a new environment and adjust to the world around them. Every director comes from a different vantage point as will every actor you will ever work with. An actor isn’t an island unto his or herself, but part of a much larger picture.
Casting directors, producers and directors need to know that you can easily transition into any new situation. They want to see if you can take the material off the page, chew it up and take us, as an audience, on the journey they have set out to create. Make the material your own. Let them know who you are underneath those scripted words because that’s what makes you uniquely you. Ultimately, they want YOU to be their next discovery.
This is why it’s very important for every actor to be in class working and improving their skills. The best compliment for an actor is to know that casting directors, producers, directors, their agent and manager believe in them and are fighting for them. Doing your part by showing your commitment to your craft is how it starts.
What Are the Top 4 Actor’s Workout Elements?
- Scene Study Classes
- Sensory Work
- Improv, Theater/Spatial Games
- Audition and On Camera Workshops
Scene Study Classes
What is your overall objective? What are you fighting for? Over the course of ongoing acting classes, my students learn their lines rather than memorize them. They know what they are saying and they listen before they speak. In life we often do not know what we are going to say next. This isn’t something we are unfamiliar with. So if the words are not there as an actor, I tell them “that is a gift.” Often it is times like these that force the actor to be present. Forcing the actor to be in the reality of the moment. Forcing them to breath. To just. . .be.
Therefore, my teaching is about Human Behavior. It’s not about the words, but rather what is underneath the words. As you prepare you have to keep bonding the words to your personal life experiences. You can tell stories about yourself that you’d never tell anybody. You can tell them in detail and nobody will ever know. Because nobody knows what you’re thinking, nobody knows the seeds of your performance but you. Sure, you’re telling us a story with the words you’re given, but those words are merely one tool which you, as an actor, will use to communicate the story.
Additionally, I believe in the journey of life. In life, we are fighting for what we want and on our way, we hear sounds, we smell, we taste, we see, we touch, and we feel, both internally and kinesthetically. We must not forget that as human beings we do all of this.
So often actors are not aware that they are hot or cold and how that may affect them in any given moment. Or a smell that may be present which might remind them of something pertinent to the moment. They are only focused on the lines and how perfect they need to be. With an understanding of sensory work you can learn to take in your whole environment and integrate it into your choices as an actor.
Improv, Theater and Spatial Games
Improv, theater and spatial games are important tools which help get you out of your head as an actor.
- To fully listen and react to the other person.
- To fully explore the Give and Take.
- To learn to respond spatially to the other person.
So often actors are “acting”; trying to make the lines perfect, and attempting to convey what they think their character is “suppose to” feel or act, or how the line “should” be said. Instead, as an actor you must allow your environment and the people and actions around you inform your choices. I like to say, “Only actors are perfect. The human beings you are portraying are not.” Embrace that!
Audition/On Camera Workshops
In each audition, the Casting Director, the director, the writer, the producers are rooting for you. They want the role to be you. As the actor. it is important to do your work, to break down the script. What is your overall objective, obstacles, breaking down in beats, actions, inner monologues, moments before, inner objects etc.? Trust that you have done your work and let it go.
In your audition, let them know who you really are, what you are fighting for. Let them in on your secrets, your inner soul. This is your chance to make new friends, give them your heart. You should leave every audition with confidence, knowing you gave your authentic self and left no stone unturned.
At Deborah Lemen Acting Studio, I place special emphasis on training the actor to respond quickly and fully to all stimuli, enabling my students to make fearless, confident and ultimately winning choices. This process applies to actors of all ages and leads to a more natural, more engaging, and more stand-out performance. Younger actors are taught with the same emphasis on craft and authentic human behavior as are adult students.
I take special care with each individual students because each actor has specific needs and personal strengths. As a result, I don’t rely on any one method at the exclusion of others. I take all I have learned from a variety of renowned teachers and I find an approach that is best for each student – whether teen and child actors who may be learning these approaches for the first time, or adults who may already be comfortable with a particular method. I aim to make each actor I work with as authentic and true within themselves as humanly possible. This means creating an acting technique for each actor that is as unique as they are as an individual.
I personally studied with George Morrison and Jack Waltzer in New York (Meisner, Strasberg, Stanoslavsky, Adler) In Los Angeles I studied with Peter Flood (Strasberg, Meisner) and for 15 years in a Master Class with Ivana Chubbuck. I was the founder of the Youth and Teen Division of the Ivana Chubbuck Studio, and I was the first to adapt the Chubbuck technique for kids and teens.
At the Lemen Studio, we offer the top 4 Actor’s Workout Elements: scene study, theater games, improv, sensory work, audition workshops, and so much more for all ages and experience levels. Every four months Lemen Studio offers a showcase for friends, family, and industry professionals for our enrolled students to celebrate their journey and to help propel their careers in acting forward! To learn more about what we offer and to enroll visit us at deborahlemenactingstudio.com. We very much look forward to helping you grow!