How much time do you spend searching for acting class material? Are you giving yourself enough time to fully read the script and find content that challenges you?
If you're still waiting until the last minute to find scripts, then be sure to read my post How to Always Have Scenes Ready for Acting Class. That post will teach you how to make reading scripts part of your regular routine.
In this post, I'll teach you how to quickly scan a script to see if it's actually worth your time to read the entire thing.
By the way, rehearsing or memorizing scripts should be part of your daily life as a working actor.
But first, you need to find scripts, and you need to quickly decide which ones are worth your time. I hate reading an entire script only to find that there isn't any usable scene work for me.
1. TYPE TITLES INTO IMDB
My acting coach always tells us not to watch another performance of a scene before we put it up in class. It's too easy to allow someone else's choices to infect our choices.
When you're trying to quickly find scripts to read, however, it's a good idea to start with titles you already know but maybe haven't seen in a while. Whenever you hear about good movies or plays that you haven't seen, add those to a running list of scripts to research later.
Let's breakdown that research process now:
2. PICK MATCHING CHARACTERS
Please be realistic about which characters you can play. If you're young, don't try to play someone's grandma. If you're in a scene with two females, don't pick a father/daughter scene and "try to make it work."
These characters will be written in certain way to denote the relationship between the two characters, so it will be obvious this script wasn't written for you. Plus, finding characters that fit your profile will help you work on material that you're most likely to get cast for, which will be highly beneficial to you in auditions.
Run through the top-billed cast on each of the IMDb pages to see which characters fit your general description. Eliminate scripts that don't have a good match.
We're only looking for top-billed roles because these characters have more lines, thus helping us to avoid scenes that are too short for class.
3. SEARCH SCRIPT WITH "FIND"
Here's where the magic happens, baby!
Steps to quickly scanning scripts:
I like searching for scenes with supporting characters whenever possible because they won't show up in the script as frequently as the leads, which will allow you to scan the script faster. The leads are typically on every page.
Use the Find feature under Edit to quickly search
for a specific word on a page, like a character's name.
Save yourself time in the future and take these next two steps:
Go ahead and practice the process right now with the first few titles that pop into your brain. Going through the motions now will help you research faster in the future.
Speaking of acting class, have you ever written your acting coach a really meaningful thank you card? I promise you that learning the art of writing a very personalized thank you card is going to change the trajectory of your career.
Think about what it feels like to be someone on the other side of the camera in this business constantly having actors saying, "Me, me, me!" Not you, Actor Boss! I want you to be an actor that's a breath of fresh air that people love to see coming because you've learned how to be interested versus interesting.
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HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
Let's discuss a very dangerous mindset a lot of actors have. Most of us have believed the lie that our success comes with quick moments of "hitting it big."
What if our acting success actually came from the simple day-to-day habits that we practice?
A few years ago, a mentor sent me a book and told me to start reading for at least 10 minutes a day to kickstart my personal development.
I'm not sure why I wasn't already practicing that habit. I love learning, and I've always been a good student, but somehow adulthood stripped that away from me.
Plus, crazy successful experts are literally giving us their answers word-for-word and helping us bypass their mistakes by taking us straight to the best practices.
Disclosure: Hey Actor Boss, I have affiliate links in this post, which means at zero extra cost to you, I make a commission if you purchase through my link. I made the decision to add affiliate links so I can keep this blog up and running, but I'm only linking to products I know, use, and trust and would recommend to you in face-to-face convo.
The book was Darren Hardy's bestselling book The Compound Effect. This was the first personal development book I read as an adult, and it inspired me to create my daily habits list. He teaches that our success is based on the (sometimes boring) day-to-day tasks we complete.
The habits of successful actors consist of any tasks they need to complete on a daily basis to reach their ultimate long-term goals. These can also be referred to as Habit Goals, a concept I learned from leadership expert Michael Hyatt.
Creating your daily habits list will require you to think long-term. What goals do you want to achieve in the next year? Visualize achieving those goals, then reverse engineer them into simple tasks that you can incorporate into your actor daily routine.
For example, I want to become fluent in French so that I can add a foreign language to the special skills section of my acting resume. That means I need to form a daily habit of completing three Duolingo French modules to reach that goal.
In this post, I will share seven habits that I think should be included in the daily life of an actor. Adjust these habits to fit your routine. I'll list examples from my own life to get you started.
These habits should be transferred to a checklist on your phone that you can look at daily. I use the Awesome Note app thanks to a suggestion by Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Push, now promoted as her Smart Life Push Journal.
1. START A SKIN CARE ROUTINE
What do actors do on a daily basis to stay looking so good on camera? For starters, they take care of their skin.
You can't afford to have a job that requires you to be on HD cameras without following morning and nighttime skincare routines.
Now you know that if you have blemishes in your footage, you're not going to use it in your demo reel, which you need to book jobs. That's assuming you can even get your footage, am I right? But if you do luck out and get your footage, you need something you're not embarrassed to use.
So the next time you think you're too tired to wash your face in the morning or before you go to bed, I want you to visualize how embarrassed and aggravated you'll be if you have acne the next time you're on camera.
Not all good skincare products are expensive, but you may need to splurge on a celebrity-grade product if you're really having issues. If that makes your stomach hurt, it's time to get your financial crap together with my favorite free budgeting tool.
So, how do celebrities have such clear skin? What are their Hollywood skin care secrets? That depends on a number of factors.
Everyone's skin is different. If you want to learn how to get celebrity clear skin, you'll need to experiment with various products to figure out what works best for you. My husband can just wash his dang face with regular soap, but I have a 4-5 step routine.
Let's make this process a little easier:
Lastly, I want to discuss the possibility of laser hair removal. Before a shoot, I always need to prep my eyebrows. No matter what I do (tweeze, wax, shave), my forehead breaks out like crazy. This is not acceptable.
I'm considering having that unibrow area laser treated for permanent hair removal. Do you have any experience with that? Please comment to let me know if so! I'll keep you posted on my journey.
***UPDATE: I did try laser hair removal between my eyebrows. At $70 a visit for six visits, I wasn't sold. It may have zapped a few, but not enough for me to stop shaving my unibrow. It's possible those little soft white hairs weren't dark enough. I think it's better to splurge on an at-home device that I can use more often.***
2. DEVELOP SPECIAL SKILLS
A lot of actors find themselves asking, "What goes on my special skills section of my acting resume?" If you want to know what successful actors have in common, you can bet they develop their special skills. Let's discuss your list of special skills and talents for your acting resume.
It's time to decide on a maximum of three special skills that you can start developing on a daily basis. If you really want to take your special skills to the next level, I highly recommend you implement Cal Newport's Deep Work technique.
If you've already decided on your special skills:
See: Actor Boss Special Skills Free Course on YouTube
I hate to break it to you, but no one is paying you to knit on camera unless a breakdown specifically requests that skill. Even if it does, you should place that information on the notes section of your casting submission since it's not strong enough to place on your resume.
You can easily get bogged down in a list of cool special skills, but you should focus on becoming an expert at just a few things. If you're having an issue narrowing down a list of special skills to put on an acting resume, then check out my post 1 Crazy Useful Special Skill Casting Directors Love to get you started.
Try to group three skills together that paint a picture as well. For example, a foreign language, handguns, and martial arts would bode well for action roles. This isn't critical, but it could be beneficial.
HEY ACTOR BOSS,
I'll teach you how to become a screen actor even if you have no experience or if you want to transition from another performance genre. First, what is Actor Boss? Learn more here.