6 Workshops Every Actor Should Take

shutterstock_603462491An actor’s education is a beautiful, exhilarating Hydra. The second you think you’ve lopped off the head of one technique, another springs forth. There is always more to learn, deeper understanding to be gained, skills to refresh and hone and refresh again. It’s great! It’s exciting! You’ll never be bored! But the journey to self-improvement can be expensive and intimidating for a working actor, so here are a few workshops I recommend every actor take. Think of it as your craft starter kit. There are so many places to go from here.

  1. Auditioning. This might seem like 101, but there are always ways to work on your auditioning technique. Why wouldn’t you want to stay sharp in the area that gets you the gig? Take auditioning workshops from varied instructors, in any city you might want to work. Take them specifically for film, TV, commercial, voice over, what have you. This is the class you revisit if you don’t know what workshop to take next.
  2. Acting on Camera. As much as “acting is acting” there is no denying it takes some specialized technique to flourish on film. If you haven’t taken an acting on camera class, seek one out. It will give you perspective on your strengths and weaknesses on film. Auditioning might help you book, but you want to keep working as well.
  3. Improv. Every actor should take improv. It will connect you to your impulses, sharpen your audition game, and build your trust in yourself. I cannot stress enough how much strong improv skills will enhance every aspect of your acting career. Actors must be fearless. Improv will teach you how to fail gloriously and use it to grow.
  4. Alexander Technique. When it comes to gaining awareness and command of your body, you can’t ask for much more than Alexander Technique. Even an introductory workshop can reveal physical habits and strategies to ease tension and broaden physical possibilities. Truly mastering this technique takes years of training, but a skilled instructor will give you a lot to chew on even in one workshop.
  5. Voice Over. Voice over work is great for supplementary income, as a way to sharpen one of the biggest tools in your actor toolkit, and educating yourself about any aspect of vocal performance will give you an edge in the audition room and beyond. There are so many opportunities on the fringes of traditional acting work. Open the doors to VO commercials, voice acting for television and video games, audiobook narration and more. Some specialized training never hurts.
  6. Script Writing. Text is the backbone of our work. Script writing might feel out of your comfort zone, but even if you have no real interest in writing, it can help strengthen you as an actor. The more you understand the ins and outs of scripts and screenplays, the better you’ll be at cold reads, script comprehension, and breaking down scenes. You may even hone an ability to create your own work and opportunities.

 

Acting encompasses a stunning range of skills. To remain competitive and well rounded as an artist, you must always be seeking and developing your own education. At the very least, taking workshops periodically will help you become a quicker learner. At best they can revitalize, inspire, and even redirect your path as an artist. Take the plunge. Try new things. You might surprise yourself.

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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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