How to Use your Body to its Full Potential when Acting


You exist and live inside your body. You must enjoy it, and be aware of it. You must train your body that is your physical being, to respond effortlessly to the needs of acting, to respond creatively, emotionally, imaginatively, not merely mechanically since every performance, every take is slightly different. So what you do, and how you move must emerge from motivation, the why of your characterization, and you must be capable of adjusting to other actors. In the case of screen acting, you will need to be able to be repeat everything you do accurately.

Start with the idea of the naked body. Clothes and costume won’t act for you, they are a sort of advertisement for the character you are, making an immediate statement which the actor follows up by living the physical life of that person. We live in an age of strange opposites; on the one hand, ordinary people in all their diversity have never been so well represented in film and screen, in all their beauty, ordinariness and ugliness, yet advertising and merchandising have created an alternative mythology of style. A look at TV commercials and newspaper advertising will confirm this uneasy impression: if you don’t wear those jeans no man will ever look at you, if you don’t drink those foaming pints you won’t get a second glance from the pretty girls at the other end of the bar. These implicit pressures are something we all have to contend with, and they often make the young actor very self-conscious about what he or she actually looks like, and prone to disguise themselves. They may find themselves putting on a shell rather than working from the magnificent moving or reposeful naked body.

Body Potential  acting

So start by looking at yourself naked when you get out of the bath. Calmly, kindly, and objectively. If you note something you don’t like, can you do anything about it? Weight? It’s very likely that you can take some off with sensible and nutritious dieting. Harder to put it on, since if you’re skinny it’s probably the result of your metabolism, and however much you eat you won’t put on fat, but it is possible to build up muscle and solid bulk. Muscle tone?

Cellulite and flab? Good muscle tone is synonymous with health, and health is attractive, as well as a necessity for the actor, whose irregular hours, sporadic eating, and time in the pub don’t add up to a healthy lifestyle. Good muscle tone makes for good skin tone; you can look after the skin, and that doesn’t mean a burnt-on tan acquired from a sunbed. Hair? Clean? The right length? You can do nothing much about the length of your legs, or the size of your bust, and most cosmetic surgery is of dubious value and great expense. If having a nose job will make you a happier and more confident person it may be worth the great expense, but the great screen beauty Sylvana Mangano sported a long and positively piercing nose in many films, and no one minded. So you aim to be able to look at the naked you and think, what a radiant, healthy and contented person I look. You then have to learn how to adorn that body with the right clothes, those that enhance your best features and disguise the worst. A big huggy-bear of the Robbie Coltrane persuasion could wear big dramatic clothes, and a petite woman with good ankles absolutely stunning shoes.

The modern actor no longer needs to conform to ‘standards’ of beauty or looks. Attractiveness is a matter of personality; health, grooming, posture, warmth and generosity of spirit. The actor’s body is his machine, home, temple, goods and stock. So, without being narcissistic, love and respect it, and change anything that can be changed with self-discipline and some effort. Health, energy, agility and gracefulness are what makes an attractive, watch able actor.

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About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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