If you're an actor, a serious actor, you should already know that you have to keep practicing if you want to continue into it as a profession. Acting is not just being yourself and reading words, it's a skill that you have, and like any other skill in the world, you have to stay on top of it in order for it to remain constant.
I learned to ride a bike a long time ago, but since I haven't done it in for so long, I'm scared I forgot how to do it properly and not fall down, and I certainly can't start off by riding with one arm on the handlebars like I used to, and so, the phrase "it's like riding a bike" comes to play quite well in the scenario.
I've broken it down to 10 reasons why you as an actor should NEVER stop practicing your craft, unless you plan falling short, or falling away from acting completely.
#10 - There are many ways to practice
- There are many great acting classes and coaches out there that all have their own ways of how to act. Different ways you show character motivations and personalities. That also leads to lots of "sub classes" to take in order to practice acting.
- These "subclasses" concentrate on specific areas of acting, for instance, your voice. Whether it be musical in order to sing for a show, or dialects in order to portray convincing accents. You can practice just on your voice for a while, maybe you'll learn that voice acting is your thing, if it is your thing, then you could probably still move on and focus on something else to become a better actor overall. You could move on to a physical class like stage combat. You would learn discipline with your body, and be more aware of your surroundings. This way you become more comfortable with your stance and movements in certain acting situations.
- You could take different dance classes, yoga classes, writing classes, etc...The list of "sub acting classes" can go all over the place, and it can also be more things to put on your resume, which could lead to better chances of landing roles. It all depends on what kind of actor you want to be, and if you're willing to do everything you can to get there.
- Having all of these options gives you the chance to always practice your craft, and enjoy doing it at the same time. Also, you won't just become a better actor, but also a better person.
#9 - Your skills will get rusty if you don't keep acting.
- I'll go back to my bike reference. If you leave your bike outside in the rain while it's not covered, and you don't ride it for a long time, it will get rusty, right? In order to ride it again, you'll have to change everything out, or oil the thing down and work it back to proper riding mode. The same thing will happen to you if you don't keep practicing. Whatever you have to to do in order to keep up with the rest of the thousands, if not millions of other actors, you have to do it. Even if it's just making random characters and talking to yourself in the mirror, or toward your spouse/significant other, be goofy and do it. It'll be funny and it's practice. If you don't do it, then it's just more work later. Work smart, not hard.
#8 - Inspiration! Ideas for the future may come more easily.
- While you're practicing your craft and being goofy in the mirror, or to your spouse/significant other, you may come up with a great character. If you come up with that character you could share it to the world because YouTube has becoming a great starting point. You never know, someone might like the character you presented and they'll pay you to stay that character, or just pay you to play another character. There's plenty of random people who got famous because of YouTube: The Star Wars Kid,that Keenan Cahill kid, The Overly Attached Girlfriend, and yes, Justin Bieber. Not to say they are high quality actors, but they had/have some fame, so, imagine what you could do if you put out high quality stuff just on YouTube.
#7 - Acting is good exercise.
- While you're practicing, you'll also be getting exercise. Not just acting exercise, but overall exercise, and we all know how good that is for us.
#6 - You put yourself out there more.
- I've always heard in this industry, "it's not about what you know, it's who you know." I believe that's true to a point because I think what you know is important if you want to be good at what you do, and not just do it. But knowing people is very, very helpful. That's why networking mixers like Austin Film Meet and others are great because you get an opportunity to put yourself out there, and you could very well be doing it at the right place and time for great things to happen.
- Going to these types of events can be considered practice as well because you're getting up in front of lots of people and throwing yourself out there for them to see. It's your chance to test yourself. The more places you go, and the more things you do, the more people will be present to notice you and realize, "hey, they're really dedicated. I'll remember that." And they will, it may not be instant, but it can always work itself around.
#5 - Moments to free your imagination.
- In those moments of practice, you are freeing your imagination. You're in the mode of being creative, and that's a very nice state. Parents are extremely happy when they discover they created a baby, so, why can't you be excited to create a new character, or create anything else? When you create something yourself, you should be proud of it because you did it, you created something that's unique because you're unique. When you embrace your imagination, many good things can happen.
#4 - You gain more diversity.
- Like I said before, the more different things you learn about your craft, the more diverse actor you will be. Everyone loves diversity in an actor. Some actors I will include are Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and Meryl Streep. I consider them diverse actors for different reasons, but they're still diverse. If you keep practicing you could be as good as them.
#3 - It keeps you motivated.
- The more you concentrate on practicing, then the more you are just motivating yourself to be better. If you keep a practice routine, and always think about it and put it in your schedule, then you can't stop the motivation. If you've been pursuing the acting dream for a long time, then that means you owe it to yourself to stay active and motivated in your craft. Imagine you're a runner in a marathon, and you see the finish line, but it gets further and further, and the only way to reach it is to pace yourself; don't speed up and don't fall back.
#2 - You gain more experience.
- The more things you do, the more things you can put on your resume and your demo reel. In doing all of this you gain a lot of life experience too, and that's what I think acting is mostly about. Acting is about connecting to someone else. you're seeing and living in someone else's shoes. You gain much more perspective about life and the world around you. The more shoes you fill, the better you will feel.
#1 - You only get better with practice.
- "Practice makes perfect." We've all heard that before, but you're an actor, so, you have to know nothing is and never will be perfect. Actors will be critical of themselves so much that they may never be happy with their work, but it doesn't need to be seen that way. Be proud of yourself and think, "that was a good job, but let's do something better next time." If you haven't watched some of the videos of Michael Caine and Acting, then you should. He has a great perspective, a good teacher, and fun to watch.
So, for those reasons, I strongly believe that you should "never give up and surrender." If you believe acting is important to you, then it's important to keep practicing and keep making yourself and your skill even better.