There is a piece from Huffington Post that is floating around facebook today on bad actors and how to spot them. It's rather subjective, but not as subjective as what constitutes "good acting". It is easier to know what not to do, lest you give yourself away as an unworthy thespian, right?
My friend and fellow actress, and I spent some quality time on her facebook feed compiling a list of what makes a "Good Actor". Step back, Stanislavski. Move over, Meisner. Shove off, Strasberg! Acting isn't hard. You just have to follow these very simple rules.
- Talk loud, and if you don't know what is going on, talk louder.
- Look pretty. No matter what the role. All actors are pretty, right? The meth heads from Breaking Bad? Models.
- If it's serious, pretend to cry. Just wail and wave your hands in the air.
- Playing a British character? Wiggle your head around and pretend to hold a teacup. They'll get it.
- Can't cry on command? That's okay, just pretend like you are pooping. But don't really poop, because then you will break rule #2, by going number 2.
- Make sure you're always downstage. No one wants to miss seeing your face.
- You would have been better in that leading role. Remind everyone.
- Don't volunteer to move heavy things. You could mess up your costume. Again. See #2.
- Try and faint a few times while you're onstage. It'll look really dramatic.
- When no one notices your faint, laugh hysterically like you told a funny joke. People will think you're so clever!
- Playing a villian? Dramatic eye makeup. And always use shifty eyes while you speak.
- Playing a heroine? Bright, angelic eye makeup. Use gigantic 'surprised' eyes when you speak.
- If you're doing modern theatre, put your hands on your hips and talk in a quiet monotone. Sometimes, don't even vocalize - just move your mouth. People will think it's realistic.
- Also, get naked. It's edgy.
- Shakespeare? Always use a British accent. Always. Don't forget the teacup!
- Southern role? You got this. Your southern accent is impeccable. Like Forrest Gump meets the entire cast of Designing Women. And talk slow, y'all.
- Doing a musical, but you can't sing? No worries, neither can anyone else. Thanks, Autotune! Just extend your vowels and yell while you stand with your legs wide apart.
- Talk about 'your character'....a lot. 'Your character' wouldn't sit in the SR chair. 'Your character' really wants a pbj for lunch. 'Your character' is the pivotal point of this show.
- Good actors look like they listen to other actors onstage. They don't really, but if you look at the person speaking and calculate how much money you have left for acting eye makeup, then you'll look like you're focusing on the other actor.
- When you're calculating how much money you have left for eye makeup (aka: "listening"), remember lunch is less important than false eyelashes. Besides, someone always leaves leftovers in the green room. We're a community, right? Sharing is caring.
- The green room is a good place to also reaffirm how good you are by belittling your other actors. Start by stealing their food.
- Last, but not really, every actor needs a good neutral mask to start with, and then build his character from. Get to work on yours.