5 Non-Acting Classes that will Improve Your Acting

Juggling with applesThe education of an actor is unending. This is both exhilarating from an academic standpoint and daunting from a financial one. But often, actors get so focused on studio classes, text coaching, and audition masterclasses that they neglect their broader education. The scope of the modern film and television show is epic, and requires not only excellent actors, but actors with a broad skill set. Here are some suggestions for non-acting classes that will spice up your resume.

  1. A Tactical Weapons Course: It is the rare TV show or movie that omits violence of any kind. Bow to the inevitable. If you don’t know how to handle a gun, you are at a disadvantage for a plethora of cop dramas, action features, and gritty Oscar hopefuls. Find a workshop that will dig into all the specifics from proper holds and stances to disarming, entering a room with a weapon, etc. **Bonus! Gear up for the next Game of Thrones copycat and learn how to handle broadswords, rapiers and axes.
  2. Horseback Riding: Westworld, here we come! Frankly, anything set before a certain point in history is going to feature some kind of horseback riding. And while yes, stuntmen and women often take care of the more athletic horseback ventures, it can’t hurt to be familiar with our equine friends. Take some lessons and get that on your special skills!
  3. Popular Exercise: It’s always good to know your way around the gym, but exercise trends make their way into a lot of popular media. Keep an ear out for what’s hot. If you don’t know where to start, there are two easy ways to acquire a good range of physical skills:
    1. Take yoga classes. Aside from being insanely popular they are basically a shortcut to knowing your body and honing your performance movement skills.
    2. Martial Arts. Back to the fighting! (Or at least the appearance of it) Give yourself a leg up and learn some martial arts. It’s great for body awareness and widely applicable. (It’s always good to know how to throw a punch). Even if you never use each particular skill, they will keep you in shape, look great on your resumes, and improve your overall physicality.
  4. Wheels, wheels, wheels. If it rolls, you should know how to handle it. Basic driving, for sure, but bike riding, roller blading, skate boarding all add depth and color to your resume.
  5. Cooking. Almost every story features food at some point, and people are quick to spot the fool who doesn’t know his way around basic kitchen appliances. Learn how to properly prepare and cook some basic meals. No one has time to teach this to you, and appearing ill at ease in the kitchen sticks out.

Acting reflects the human condition, and the human condition is varied, messy, and complicated. Try to cram your life with as much experience as possible. The more you learn, the clearer the mirror you can hold up to society.


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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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