This has always been the case. If you read or watch interviews with current A-list actors and directors, they have looked up to performers 20-40 years older than them and got their acting tips from there. Today, they inspire the new generation; and one day you’ll probably have your own quote on AZ Quotes website.
Assembled in this post are fifty best acting tips both on the craft and acting as a career that we could find from people who have made it in the industry – actors, directors and other entertainers.
These sparkling gems that have sprung from the famous mouths of equally famous actors will motivate you to keep pushing forward when times are hard.
Before you dig into these acting tips, here’s a few more lists you’ll probably enjoy (open them in separate tabs):
- 3 Lessons Great Actors Learned from Sanford Meisner
- 43 Actors That Became Famous Later in Their Lives
- 16 Super Motivational Videos for Actors
- 25 Best TED Talks for Actors
- 40 Acting Lessons From Well-Known Acting Teachers
- 13 Ways to Be a More Creative Actor
Now scroll down to see a running galore of 50 best acting tips from established industry folk which we also paired with inspirational image-quotes for extra layer of motivation, all Pinterest-ready for you to save for later!
50 Best Acting Tips You Must Remember
1. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep explains what acting is, whilst simultaneously giving a tip for method actors to search for a connection between themselves and the character they’re playing.
“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.”
2. Michael Shurtleff
Michael Shurtleff, author of one of the best books on auditioning called simply “Audition“, talks the importance of recognizing that the actor’s job is to make a storyline easily understandable to the audience.
“Every scene you will ever act begins in the middle, and it is up to you, the actor, to provide what comes before.”
3. James Franco
James Franco on working with directors.
“If I give a good performance, I give at least 50 percent of the credit to the director.”
4. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp has a relaxed attitude about choosing roles which might not turn out perfect.
“If it works, great. If it doesn’t work, I tried.”
5. Paul McGann
According to Paul McGann…
“Only the people that can’t possibly be dissuaded from acting should be doing it. That’s almost the minimum requirement.”
6. Harriet Walter
Harriet Walter on respecting your theatre colleagues, both for the sake of them and you.
“Treat directors (and writers) as innocent until proven guilty.”
7. Samuel West
Samuel West on the necessity of understanding the personal toll theatre school or acting can take on you:
“Acting is not therapy”.
8. Brian Cox
Brian Cox on auditions where the applause is painfully absent:
“My mother used to say, ‘What’s for you will not go by you.’ It’s a great phrase to keep in mind when you don’t get a job”.
9. Emma Stone and Eddie Redmayne
In an interview with the NY Times, Emma Stone and Eddie Redmayne spoke about the differences between performing in live theatre and film, with Stone stating that when switching from film to stage, she was given the advice by an acting coach to show “Teaspoons, not buckets.”
This is a good advice on gestuality and voice to actors navigating the border between screen and stage.
10. Lesley Manville
Lesley Manville’s advice on audition nerves is simple and straightforward.
“Accept that you’re going to have nerves to begin with.”
11. Lupita Nyong’o
According to Lupita Nyong’o, being scared of a role is no reason to shy away from it.
“Every single role brings with it an ignorance and an insecurity, and so you have to approach it with the same curiosity and humility.”
12. Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon gives a more generic advice on accepting that not everyone sees the same vision for yourself as you do.
“There’s always going to be someone out there… who doesn’t believe in you or who thinks your head is too big or you’re not smart enough. But those are the people you need to ignore, and those are the times you need to just keep doing what you love doing.”
13. Robin Williams
In Robin Williams’ opinion, recognition for your acting is not always everything.
“Winning an Oscar is an honor, but, between you and me, it does not make things easier.”
14. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep on finding what drives her in acting.
“I’m curious about other people. That’s the essence of my acting. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.”
15. Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman’s advice on how to improve your own acting can be summarized with the following quote:
“Ninety per cent of how you learn is watching great people. When you are surrounded by good actors it lifts your performance.”
16. Derek Hough
According to Derek Hough, it’s important for actors to evaluate the motives behind their choice of roles.
“Try to be honest with yourself and not just sort of fall into something that you think will make you popular, or you think that you’ll get respect from.”
17. Tina Fey
Tina Fey isn’t one to support being a couch potato and waiting for the jobs to come floating in your general direction.
“If you’re an actor and you don’t get cast in stuff a lot, then put together a show or hold play-reading nights at your apartment. Make your own opportunities.”
18. Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler can lend you a simple trick on auditioning.
“If you do a scene and you really like a character in it or a premise in it to write it down and to work on it so that you can have five or six characters that you can pull out in an audition.”
19. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp, in his own words, reminds us that it’s important to keep your ego in check.
“If you catch me saying ‘I am a serious actor’, I beg you to slap me.”
20. Emilia Clarke
Perhaps not a bucket of sunshine, but nevertheless important, is Emilia Clarke’s advice to actors studying theatre.
”You can’t come out of drama school and think, ‘It’s all going to be amazing.’ You have to expect to work in a bar for at least five years and be a waitress for maybe two!”
21. Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand on the crucial relationship which must be sustained between the actor and the audience.
“The audience is the best judge of anything. They cannot be lied to. Truth brings them closer. A moment that lags – they’re gonna cough.”
22. Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn emphasizes the importance of not taking shortcuts when it comes to playing a role.
“To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time.”
23. Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe provides a bitter reality check for those who romanticize acting.
“Dreaming about being an actress, is more exciting than being one.”
24. Audrey Hepburn
Inspiring words by Audrey Hepburn on how to find talents, unknowingly disguised as challenges.
“I was asked to act when I couldn’t act. I was asked to sing ‘Funny Face’ when I couldn’t sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn’t dance – and do all kinds of things I wasn’t prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it.”
25. Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin makes clear on what actors (and everyone else, really) need to do to progress.
“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.”
26. Theo James
In Theo James’ opinion, getting into character shouldn’t be the source of a massive headache.
“I think the best way to become a character is by osmosis as opposed to thinking directly about stuff.”
27. Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston has a pretty clear idea of what acting means and what you should be trying to achieve as an actor.
“Our job is to represent the truth of human nature, whether you’re playing a tender love story that’s set in a coffee shop or whether you’re in ‘The Avengers,’ which is set in a Manhattan which is exploding.”
28. Christopher Lee
A tip from Christopher Lee on how to deal with undesirable acting jobs.
“Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.”
29. Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman on what the audience needs and demands of you as an actor.
“It is not whether you really cry. It’s whether the audience thinks you are crying.”
30. Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson gives testimony to the hardship of acting with his own words.
“In this industry, there are only two ways up the ladder. Rung by rung or claw your way to the top. It’s sure been tough on my nails.”
And here’s clearly the best quote on this list of best acting tips for actors to remember:
31. Will Smith
For actors and non-actors alike, Will Smith has some words of wisdom regarding work ethic that you can chew on for a bit.
“If you’re not willing to work hard, let someone else do it. I’d rather be with someone who does a horrible job, but gives 110% than with someone who does a good job and gives 60%.”
32. Clint Eastwood
A sobering perspective on not being overly analytical about the audience’s response is provided by the great Clint Eastwood.
“You are always hoping that movie audiences are interested in characters and interested in story values rather than just mindless special effects. But you never know.”
33. Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom on where to invest your priorities and mental energy.
“As an actor, you can’t think about the end result or the fame; you just have to focus on the day you’re in. You have no control over the finished product, what people will think of it, so all you have is the experience of making it, and you have to stay focused on that.”
34. Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino on blurring the lines between different theatre jobs, and the value that acting for other aspects of performance.
“Everything I learned as an actor, I have basically applied to writing.”
35. Abhishek Bachchan
Upon dealing with criticism of your acting, think of Abhishek Bachchan’s words.
“Critics have a job to do. They do not criticize you without reason.”
36. Alan Alda
And a tip from Alan Alda on how to make time offstage fly.
“Backstage life is terrific training for an actor, seeing shows from the wings.”
37. Timothy Simmons
Originality is something worth striving for, according to Timothy Simmons.
“You don’t want to go in trying to force yourself into some archetype that has been thought up by a director and translated by a casting director”.
38. Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz argues that acting can, and should be, personal.
“Acting is something different to everybody. I just know that if you watch an actor or actress getting better and better, I think that’s them just understanding themselves better and better.”
39. Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris on demanding space in the performance world.
“Actors need steely determination. It’s a tough profession with plenty of knocks along the way. You have to be very determined and never take ‘no’ for an answer.”
40. Joshua Henry
On a similar note, Joshua Henry emphasizes the need for self-respect and a positive self-attitude.
“You’ve got to treat yourself like you’ve got something special to offer.”
41. Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt strongly believes that acting requires all the toughening up that you can possibly do.
“You’ve got to get the thickest skin possible. Like a rhino hide. It’s a very personal job. Put a helmet on.”
42. James Dean
James Dean on actors employing independent thinking.
“When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn’t acting. It’s following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that.”
43. Kabir Bedi
Kabir Bedi summarizes the different forms of acting with the following words:
“Theatre is done largely for the love of the craft. Television makes you famous. And films immortalize you. That’s the relationship between the three.”
44. Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith offers her opinion on what the actor-audience dynamic should look like.
“There is a kind of invisible thread between the actor and the audience, and when it’s there it’s stunning, and there is nothing to match that.”
45. Kareena Kapoor Khan
Kareena Kapoor Khan can see beyond the hurdles.
“I don’t take success and failure seriously. The only thing I do seriously is march forward. If I fall, I get up and march again.”
46. Kate Winslet
How acting should be valued by the actor is explained perfectly by Kate Winslet.
“Acting, and the privilege of being able to do it for a living, is so important to me. I don’t turn up and just hope for the best. I really fret about it. I do my homework; I prepare myself for the experience of playing a particular character.”
47. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman on reality checks.
“I know some really great actors who are pretty judgmental people, pretty critical people. But they’re great actors. When they’re acting, that’s the craft.”
48. Brit Marling
Never daring to step outside the box is an adventure not had, according to Brit Marling.
“If you play it safe every time, then you’re missing the best part of acting. You haven’t learned anything about your humanity.”
49. Jim Carrey
Sometimes you have to be a daredevil, even when your comfort zone screams at the notion, says Jim Carrey.
“If I had never ventured beyond being a stand-up comic, then I would be sitting in my house today working on my Leonardo DiCaprio impression.”
50. Morgan Freeman
And finally, Morgan Freeman on stepping up and taking the roles that to begin with seem impossible.
“I’m not intimidated by lead roles. I’m better in them. I don’t feel pressure. I feel released at times like that. That’s what I’m born to do.”
Hopefully, there’s something on this list of best acting tips that you find not only worth posting with a picture of a sunset background on Facebook, but also worth consideration and thought. If not, then write your own rules on acting – the stage is yours to rule.
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Have some better quotes or other best acting tips from actors or other people who have made it in the industry? Share those in the comments!