As you read through what these actors, business owners and friends of the acting world have to offer as their best acting tip you will start to notice a theme. Whether you are new to the business of acting or a veteran what these people offer is sage advice.
Mark J. Becks, has been in the world of acting for the past three years but was a teacher for 15 years. Mark believes that the field of teaching set him up well to enter into the world of acting. Mark explained that the school room is very much the same because “the classroom is your stage, the kids are your audience, and the lesson plan is your script.”
Mark had a bunch of bullet points when I asked him for his best acting advice, “Early is on time and on time is late. Don’t compromise your principles. Work on sets and learn as much as you can. Watch the actors and learn from them. Network, network and network. Give it your all; go for the gold; give it your highest stakes,” and last but not least, “love what you do and work hard but also smart.”
Actress Charnetta Pettie has lived on both the East and West Coast and currently resides in NYC. Charnetta has been an actress for the past eight years.
“Know thyself” is what Charnetta quickly offered adding, “having a sense of self helps you play that character much better. You can bring yourself into that character and you go in there with a sense of confidence that you can deliver that role.”
Charnetta feels that this can only enhance you getting into character and playing that character.
Charnetta also encourages actors to believe in what you are doing. “Just know at times that you may be the only person who believes in yourself. No one else may believe in you and what you are trying to do and that can be hurtful,” she commented.
Sonny Hoang has been an actress for 15 years and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Neighborhood Playhouse, where she learned the Meisner Technique. Sonny’s tip was right to the point. “Don’t wait for anyone to tell you that you are good. You should know that you are good.”
Bobby Holder of The Actors Project NYC (www.theactorsprojectnyc.com) offered a listed of bullet points for his best acting tips advice. Bobby suggested the following tips to being a successful actor:
1. Make sure you have great marketing tools (Start with a great comedic monologue, 8X10 friendly headshot, and résumé that markets you).
2. Make sure you are in quality well-directed showcases or plays which are attended by agents and managers. (An audience filled with friends and family is great for support, but agents and managers need to be in the audience to further your career).
3. Know which agents and managers you want to work with, let them know you want to work with them, and invite them to your professional showcases or plays.
4. Always be professional (on time and friendly) and prepared (never be without your monologue, headshot, and résumé).
5. Invest wisely in acting classes and coaches that polish your craft and further your career.
I recently read an article by Gwyn Gilliss of The Actor’s Market (www.theactorsmarket.com). Her advice came from an earlier time at the beginning of her career when she had wished she’d followed this advice. And that was “Know your strengths and your limitations.”
Gwyn had gone in for a singing audition for a part her voice was not a match for and the end result was not good. But she learned a good lesson and never made that mistake again. Gwyn offered this learned advice: “focus on what you do best instead of aiming for everything that's offered - you'll be more successful.”
Lisa Gold of Act Outside the Box (www.actoutsidethebox.com) focuses a fair amount of her energy on teaching actors how to market themselves in a course she teaches called “Make Money Acting – Defining Your Product.”
I’m a true believer in understanding the world of marketing (since that is what I do when I am not acting). I also appreciate the value of something else that Lisa does and that is giving actors the chance to network with industry. She does that by holding four networking parties a year.
The value of networking cannot be underestimated. Making friends in the acting world, meeting the industry who are responsible for helping you get cast is all part of what every actor needs to focus on. The bottom line is that industry (casting directors, agents, managers, etc.) need to know and trust you and they do that by getting to know you.
Scott Powers of Scott Powers Studios (www.scottpowers.com) wrote an article recently that I am so in support of. Here is part of what he said. “Don't Make Enemies! Don't badmouth anyone! … Zip the lip. You don't know who can help you and who can hurt you - we all wear many hats in this business.”
As an actress who has a background in PR I have often reminded people that you never know who you are going to pass going up (or down) the ladder to success. So, don’t break any of the rungs along the way. You never know when that person who was below you will one day be above you.
An example that comes to mind was when I was covering the Atlantic Olympic Games and shared a house with the editor and her intern of a topnotch equine publication known as The Practical Horseman.
Well now that intern is the editor and while it was easy to like this person it’s just one more example that you never know where anyone will be next.
When I reached out to Scott he offered this tip. “You were asked to audition because ‘they’ thought you could get the job. That’s a vote of confidence! A lot of others weren’t invited to ‘the party.’ So you’re halfway home. Be yourself and be genuine, they want to see the real you, not a copy of the person just leaving the audition room. A good exit line: ‘Thank you for the opportunity’ and exit well.”
I recently attended a SAG-AFTRA event with Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She kicked off the series this year with a compelling role that took a lot from her as an actress but something she really wanted to do after so many years on the show. If you saw the show you understand what I mean.
One of the comments she made during the interview was a great tip for actors and that was, “You need to be utterly present in the moment rather than redo what you’ve done before.”
Ben Esner (www.benesner.com) is a head shot photographer based in NYC. Ben’s advice for actors “keep it simple and honest when you audition. From when you walk in the room it helped me to realize that all the other people are like I am. Be respectful and be a real person and know that the casting directors want you to do well. Agents want you to succeed.”
Samuel Adedeji (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a recruiter for Star Catchers. His advice: “Be yourself, don’t mimic anyone and have confidence.”
NYC resident Jazzy Washington (www.jazzywashington.tv) has been acting for just about a year. Jazzy’s best acting tip is “to always persevere and be committed. That is what I follow. When the going gets tough I hang in there.”
Greg Paul (www. gregpaulacts.com ) lives in Queens and he’s been acting for about five years in NYC. Greg’s best acting tip, “stop trying to be what you think they want, be yourself, be authentic, anything else is working against you.”
Yanina Hope, another NYC resident, has been an actress for five years. Yanina offered this advice to actors, “don’t give a s___t, just be yourself. Just be the part, mean it, don’t act it.”
Bernard Ennis is a NJ resident. He’s been an actor for about three years. He mostly plays the doctor, lawyer, politician roles. His best acting tip was “don’t try to be somebody you are not. You have to stay within your own comfort zone, so don’t venture too far, especially when you are beginning.”
Stephen William Tenner (www.stephentenner.com) is a Seaford, LI, NY tenant living on his boat. “I started doing background eight years ago to experience the sets. I was a vocalist and wanted to check out the film scene,” explained Stephen.
His best acting tip: “I went to a $20 seminar by Jack Plotmack and it changed my life. It helped me book at least 40% of my auditions. The tip that he teaches is don’t act. … just be whoever you are – it’s the best acting tip and it works.”
Todd Wharton, CEO and Founder of Local Talent Connect (LTC – www.localtalentconnect.com) had this to offer, “Live your career; the best way to live your dream is to wake up.”
Eugene Calamari is a photographer whose been holding the camera since he was a kid. Eugene has been an actor since 2001.
Eugene considers himself a character actor. His best acting tip mimics what many of the others had to say. “Be yourself when you go to the audition room. Show them what you’ve got. Get into the character that you are and as best you can knowing that you might not get the job but they may remember you for another audition later on.” You can find him on facebook under Eugene Calamari Jr.
Jim Manley (www.RWE.org) in addition to being an actor (SAG) is also a fellow photographer. He’s produced two feature films and a musical that sold out. Jim is the Director of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Institute and produced the only documentary ever done on it which continues to be aired.
“Song of Leaves” was the film he produced and it premiered in Caen. He also produced a series on horses called “The American Way of Training Hunters & Jumpers.”
His best acting tip was what he considers the most famous of all quotes: “know thyself – it is the answer to the great question – who am I. If we can develop our positive mental attitude and sustain it and present it honestly and transparently success will come upon us because of our attitude.”
Roger Anthony (www.RogerAnthony.com) is another NJ resident and he’s been acting for over 20 years. Roger started out doing regional theatre and now is doing TV and Film and is a writer, director and filmmaker. He suggests that you “be present in auditions with the other person and remember to relax.” He’s currently in Math Warriors.
Anthony T. Solano, NYC, just started acting three years ago. Most of what he does is promotional, print, TV, and film. Anthony just likes to act. “I love the art, the theatre, the monologue – the intrinsic road to becoming a better actor.” His best acting tip: “learn why you want to do it – figure out why you want to act before you start because the genre is so vast and broad that you could easily get lost, confused and overwhelmed. Doing that will help guide you to where you want to be.” You can find out more about Anthony by googling his name.
Kenneth Carter (www.workingyourmoney.net) in addition to being an actor, published poet and singer, is a Certified Money Coach. “I started in 1992 in a play in NJ called ‘If The Truth Be Heard Let It Be Told.’”
It was that play that catapulted Ken into dramatic poetry reading for a number of years before returning to the stage. In 2004 Kenneth did a one man show consisting of poetry and singing called “Reflections of the Moon.”
His best acting tip: “Believe you can, work toward it and see the success manifest in your life.”
Manfred Lion (www.myspace.com/manfredlion) who lives in Floral Park, has been acting for about five years. He does Native American, psychic and transsexual parts. He was seen in Tyler Perry’s Peeples as an Indian Chief sidekick.
“Never limit yourself,” commented Manfred, “be an artist. Our job as actors is to fulfill a vision and if we keep ourselves open to the creativity of the Director, we have done our job. And this is how we become reliable.”
James Briggs Murray just retired as the curator at the NY Public Library. He is SAG and has the voice that lets you know he is a VoiceOver artist. He lives in Westchester.
“Find your core and stick with it; get yourself centered and keep yourself centered,” said James adding, “Mia Angelo said ‘When I’ve been on the road too long and I come back home and need to get myself centered I put on music and it brings me right back to myself. Sometimes as a performer you are being challenged to be someone else and that was her way.”
Jennifer Rudolph owner of The Actors Green Room (www.theactorsgreenroom.com) made this comment, “Bring yourself to every role and draw people in with your inner life.”
Richard "RB" Botto, the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 and the Co-Founder and CEO of Fair Warning Productions and also a screenwriter, producer, and voice artist living in California culminated this article with his advice.
“If acting is truly reacting, then the best actors do more with their ears than with their mouths. Or another way it was once put to me...Ears first, mouth second.”
By the way, if you aren’t on www.stage32.com you should be. It’s an amazing web site chock full of great opportunities for everyone in the acting world.
And last but not least I’d like to pipe in here. I’m SAG-AFTRA and my background includes live TV on the East end TV station WVVH, and a variety of commercials, internet projects and other things. I’m also a writer (as you can see) and a photographer, who loves to dance. If you want to know more about me my web site is www.dianaderosa.biz and there’s a page telling you more about how you can be featured in this column.
So my best acting tip is to “respond quickly, be on time, be positive, committed, fun to work with and dependable.”
So, there you have it. I’m going to be working on my next article about upcoming events in New York City. If you know of anything that should be included be sure to contact me through my web site.
I am always interested in covering events, writing about what you do by experiencing it and chatting with those involved in the NY acting scene.
I’m also open to any advice you can offer to guide me to becoming a full-time actress. So, feel free to reach out to me if you have any great ideas for an article. In the meantime, let me know what’s happening. Happy acting!