If you want to learn how to be an actor, the first step is figuring out how to be the character that you want to play. It is not enough to act like the character, but rather you need to fully embody the character so that you become believable.
For this reason, part of the acting training that you must undergo to master your art revolves around the idea of character development. This is only truly possibly through the power of observation. Without this power, you will not be able to successfully develop your character. Luckily for you, you can learn the observation skills that you need.
“…little details that may seem like they mean nothing, but actually mean everything.”
One of the first things to remember with this is that the devil really is in the details. You really need to pick out these important little details that may seem like they mean nothing, but actually mean everything.
Through observing people, you can observe mannerisms that you are able to replicate when taking on a role. It is not enough to just say lines nervously if you are playing a role that requires you to be nervous. You need to have those specific mannerisms like nervously tugging at your clothing or twitching your hand.
By observing traits in the type of character you are trying to play, you can get a better understanding of these little details that really help you to embody this role.
You should also observe your own favorite actors. A key part of this is to start awakening your senses to be more perceptive. Just like in the above scenario, you can do the mannerisms that a nervous person do, but that still is not enough. You need to be able to understand the emotions and intentions behind these behaviors. This can also be done through observations.
“…visualize a character through the eyes of a casting director.”
There are exercises that you can do in order to hone your observation skills. One popular exercise is to visualize a character through the eyes of a casting director.
Read a play that you may enjoy and play out scenes as if you were auditioning for that role. How does this character need to be played? In a perfect world, what would this character be doing? You need to start asking yourself a variety of questions like this to help you fully understand this character. Why is that person in the situation that they are in? What has truly motivated them? These are things that can help you fully understand the character.
“Actors are responsible for making the audience believe in the character.”
In order to be a fantastic actor, you need to have the power of observation. Actors are responsible for making the audience believe in the character; otherwise they will not follow the story that is unfolding in front of them.
As an actor, you must be able to observe your character so that you can completely embody the role and make people believe that you actually are this character that you are playing. If you practice exercises to learn these observational skills, you will definitely see an improvement in your skills as an actor.