Even though here in England it’s difficult for us to recognize when the summer time has finally came down upon us, especially since these last few weeks of May have been a total disaster weather-wise, the entertainment industry has no problem acknowledging its right for rest. But actors in London don’t have any time for rest; there’s no summer holidays for us both at our survival jobs and our (soon to be) dream employment.
Since it’s going to be slow with auditions, filming and rehearsals for at least another two months, it is now a good opportunity for you to catch up on things you’ve been missing out for the past 9 months because of the hectic schedule. Make sure you make at least one of these 6 ways to improve your craft happen to fuel your acting career.
6 Ways to Improve Your Craft During Summer
1. Learn monologues
The timing couldn’t be better. Having a few great monologues of different genres is essential for an actor auditioning in the city.
Make an effort to not simply learn the material, but to actually improve on it every single time you work it. Monologues are more complex than some might think — they should be the representation of how good you are as an actor. It’s a different type of your resume or demo reel. If you already had a few of them learned, update your repertoire or work on the existing ones.
2. Write your own material
It could be anything from monologues and dialogues to web series, sitcoms and huge screenplays.
When you’re an actor, it’s important that you learn bits from every part of this industry to know how things work: directing, producing, camera work, maybe even make-up, and most importantly — screenwriting. The more you write yourself, the better you understand the source of your future material; it also keeps your creativity wheel spinning.
3. Read, read and read more
Nothing works better for your imagination than reading, and you learn at the same time.
You can opt for anything in the library, from romance and sci-fi to acting self-help books. When you’re home and alone, try to get more birds with just one stone: read for the purpose of learning about the craft and business, and to develop your creativity and imagination. Try to dedicate some time for reading the material out loud; work on your cold reading skills and enunciation. Read articles in here too.
4. Watch some films
Make sure they’re the ones you haven’t seen before.
Rainy British summer days are perfect to catch up with AFI’s Top 100 list where you can find the titles of valuable home entertainment experience. While watching, try to remember that you are an actor, don’t be just a consumer; think about every little bit of what makes the film great. This might seem exhausting at first, but once you get used to it, you learn to both breakdown and enjoy the film at the same time.
5. Work on your business plan
Like I said many times before, acting is a business after all, so you should treat it like a business too.
To succeed in showbiz, you need an action plan. How are you going to evolve as an actor this summer, this autumn, next year? What classes are you planning to take? What survival jobs are going to work for you? What type of auditions you’re going to tackle? Are you going to focus on student films, Indies, commercial work, theatre? How are you going to look for an agent? What steps will you take?
6. Produce your own things
Just as you can write something of your own, you can also produce it.
Producing is a valuable experience for an actor to have, and the sooner you learn bits and pieces of it, the better. There’s a reason why I dedicated a big chunk on producing in my handbook on acting. Get together with some friends or acting mates and put together a play or a short film, or a web series. If you don’t have anybody to collaborate with, that’s what the Internet is for. Websites like Shooting People are great for this.
While actors need their rest to catch up with friends, see family and just get away from the business — don’t let this time frame turn out to be the whole summer. You’re actor, and to grow as an actor you have to always stay in training, always keep learning and never stop challenging yourself. Comfort is the death of a great actor.
There will be times when life will try to bring you down, for any reason: be it lack of auditions during summer time or just not being able to finally get that talent agent you want. Don’t let it distract you; embrace those opportunities, take them in to grow as an actor, while at the same time sticking to your plan of action. And whatever you do, make sure that you enjoy this journey.