How to Keep Acting Skills Sharp During Lockdown

If you’re bored in the house and you’re in the house bored, this one’s for you. Hands down, my favourite thing about being an actor is the community you’re a part of. Every single person I’ve met in the industry so far – whether they be a fellow performer, coach, or filmmaker – is so enthusiastic about sharing resources we can all use to keep our creative skills sharp while we’re housebound.

Here are a few of my favourite resources I’ve been using during these “unprecedented times”! There are plenty of others out there but these are the ones that have worked most effectively for me as far as advancing my skills and most importantly, feeling like I have a connection with the entertainment community.

1. Webinars

By far, my favourite webinar series I’ve tuned into is MistressClass. Every week, they have a different guest from the entertainment industry and ask questions about how they started their careers and where they see the industry going. Casting directors, voice actors, talent agents, and more have been guests on the webinar. The hosts, Rhona and Adrienne, are super funny and they make the webinars the highlight of the All Yall’s Out Theres (if you know, you know!)

I’ve also tuned into other webinars from the Beverly Hills Playhouse and Casting Workbook. I would recommend joining actor groups on Facebook – that’s where I’m finding all the links to the episodes.

2. Virtual Courses

This one’s kind of a no-brainer, but I felt it was important to include this in here because there are many online classes that have dropped in price. Acting coaches are very considerate of others’ current financial situations and genuinely want to see actors improve their skills even in quarantine, so they’ve made their courses more accessible for everyone! There are even free workshops you can tune into that will refine your technique so you can hit the ground running once everyone can work again. My personal favourites are the online intensives by Actors Comedy Studio.

The best part about everything moving to online means (thank goodness for Zoom) is that courses that were previously unavailable to actors around the world are now available! No matter what city you’re looking to work in, I’m sure there are courses available from coaches in that area. This is super important because they can give you the lowdown on how the industry works in that specific region.

3. Books

Interestingly enough, I’ve spent way more time reading good ol’ paperbacks during this “downtime” than I ever have before, even as the world moves online. I thought the written word would be a great way to connect with The Greats™. Here are my current reads:

  • “An Actor Prepares” by Constantin Stanislavsky
  • “The Art of Acting” by Stella Adler
  • “Audition” by Michael Shurtleff
  • “Respect for Acting” by Uta Hagen

4. Online Meetups

I wanted to put these in a separate section from “webinars” because I don’t feel they’re quite the same. I’ve also been attending very casual, laidback online meetups with the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers. It’s cool cos we just chill, have a virtual happy hour, and talk about our favourite Film Noir projects and how to get over creative writing hurdles in storytelling.

That’s all I got for ya! As literally every email in your inbox says, “We’re all in this together”. If you happened to stumble upon this little corner of the digital world and actually found this helpful, let me know and feel free to share what resources have been working for you, too. I’ll make sure to check ’em out. Ciao for now!

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