There’s a great little meme for actors circulating Facebook called ‘The Actor’s Iceberg’ shared by the Performer Stuff page. It’s a reminder that acting is not always what it seems. The image shows an iceberg, with the tip of the iceberg surrounded by social media, Oscars and awards, online references, money, cameras flashing and so on… but below sea-level are things like “study and training”, “patience”, “rejection”, “sacrifice”, “building relationships”, and ”determination”.
A number of our students and graduates have responded warmly to this little graphic – simple though it is, it does capture the life of the actor. What the public sees – the end result, the play or film and its publicity machine – is not the half of it. Acting professionally is work – and requires a high degree of self-motivation, personal preparation and stamina to get to that end point.
Several actors have chimed in on social media with things they’d add to the picture, or noted that rejection appeared four times below the surface. Several others emphasised “therapy” and its importance to the actor.
So why would an actor need therapy? Here are a number of ways counselling can offer help to actors:
Did you know Perform Australia offers actors coaching and counselling, with a specific empathy for their particular concerns?
But more than that, sometimes an actor needs some one-on-one attention in other areas. Auditions coaching, to build confidence and prepare for an important opportunity. Accents tuition, for your next role. Or perhaps some private singing training to improve your voice. Perform Australia can offer you assistance. Find out more here.
Theatre Games offers exercises & activities that can be enjoyed by broad range of ages & abilities.At Perform Australia, we practice these high-energy & fun-filled games to encourage clarity of thought, remain calm under pressure & connect emotionally & physically to the spoken world. These activities act as a warm-up to train performers to get ready to unleash their imagination & performance.
Students of Perform Australia
A simple yet effective exercise to bring everyone's focus at the beginning of every session.
The group stands in a circle and is asked to call out one number at a time. Sounds easy? Well, if two players call out a number at the same time, the exercise is stopped and needs to start over.
A fun-filled, physical activity that helps performers to connect their emotions with their character. It easily creates a drama lesson plan that will inspire each performing arts student.
The group forms a circle and each player gets a chance to play an emotion by coming in the center. The group gives the chosen player a specific emotion, that needs to be played by saying the word 'Spaghetti'.
Emotion/character-traits are as such:
Excited-spaghetti, Intelligent spaghetti, rock star spaghetti, cool spaghetti
3. Wink Murder
This activity focuses on promoting concentration and group awareness of all the performers.
The group sits in a circle facing each other and a volunteer is asked to become a detective. This selected detective is then asked to step outside the circle. Meanwhile, the group chooses a murderer from the group that the detective is unaware of. The task for the murderer is to kill the other players (victims), while the detective finds who the villain is.
“Travel broadens the mind”, the saying goes. But how can travel help you as a performer?
Did you know that at Perform Australia, we combine travel with training in one of our courses? In the CUA40513 Certificate IV in Musical Theatre, we take students overseas as part of their course. Sometimes other students and graduates of other courses can also join the trip. Get in touch with our office to find out about any upcoming trips we’re planning.
From Macbeth to Julius Ceaser and Othello, we know William Shakespeare as the world's greatest dramatist or the writer of English Literature.
Here are a few facts about Shakespeare that you probably didn't know:
1. William Shakespeare was baptised at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon on 26 April 1564.
2. The legendary started writing from 1589. He's written a total of 154 sonnets, 37 plays and a number of poems. Additionally, he also collaborated in a number of 'lost plays'.
3. His last play 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' was written in 1613, at the age of 49.
Source: Haverford College Special Collections
4. Apart from writing many plays and sonnets, Shakespeare was also an actor, playing the role of the Ghost in 'Hamlet' and Adam in 'As You Like It'
5. He had his own personal style - of wearing a golden hoop earring in his left ear, as depicted in the Chandos portrait - one of the famous portraits of Shakespeare.
Source: Tes teach
The controversial series that brought either a smile or a tear onto our faces has finally received a verdict by the Academy.
"The Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmy Awards"
It does not come as a surprise to us that Game of Thrones has won more Emmys than any other series.Not many are aware that two of the protagonists, Emilia Clarke AKA 'Daenerys Targaryen' and Kit Harington AKA 'Jon Snow' bagged the roles directly after graduating from drama schools in London.
Similarly, Perform Australia offers acclaimed courses for passion-driven actors to get a chance to pursue their acting & musical theatre dreams.
Celebrities never ceases to amaze us with how multi-talented they are. From acting, to singing and even being great athletes and sport people, these actors have become an inspiration to all.
With news doing the rounds of AFL Player, Rory Sloane becoming a father to the newborn ‘Sonny Leo Sloane’ on 6th September 2019, let's acknowledge all the celebrities who were once sports stars.
Here is a list of celebrities who rocked both – the screen and the field.
1. Hugh Jackman
An Australian actor, who rose to fame with X-men’s Wolverine, Jackman started his career by taking up a drama course in his final year of university. He performed as a lead in Václav Havel's The Memorandum. Later he did his first drama show with ABC’s Correlli.
In 2018, Jackman posted a throwback picture of himself in a soccer team. Being athletic since childhood, he’s been a part of both soccer and rugby teams.
2. Channing Tatum
The American actor, singer and producer started his career with a drama film named “Coach Carter” in 2005. Interestingly, the actor was discovered working as a stripper in a night club.
The secret behind his chiseled body is being a great sports player – football, martial arts and baseball. Tatum played football for his school team and later was offered a football scholarship.
3. Tina Fey
The comedian, who is best known for her appearances on American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live had been involved in various extra-curricular activities during school times. Tina Fey, played Varsity tennis in high school and also joined the choir and the drama club. She’s a successful writer, producer, playwright and an actress.
4. Terry Crew
Always putting a smile on our faces, is none other than the ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ actor, Terry Crew. Formerly known as the NFL player, the celebrity started his acting career by co-writing and co-producing ‘Young Boys Incorporated’
5. George Clooney
The poised, pepper-haired George Clooney, comes in a package. He’s an American actor, producer, director and a filmmaker, who always wanted to make it big in Hollywood. He rose to fame with a medical drama, ER in 1994.
Before entering the film industry, Clooney tried his hand at professional baseball. Apart from baseball, the actor has also played basketball.
Learning lines is an important skill for the actor. You've got to learn your lines before you can step on stage or set and perform. But how do you actually go about it? There are lots of different approaches to the task, and really, you have to find one that suits you. Learning lines is simply about committing the words you have to say to memory - and that's just plain hard work for most people! While some actors have a natural flair for line-learning, others have to spend many hours on the task.
It's important to honour the writer's work, and not paraphrase it. Every time you change the words, even just a little, you change the original meaning that the author intended. While in some contexts "improvisation" around the lines may be permissable, for the most part, the actor is expected to present the words as written. It's your job!
And it's not until after you've learned your lines that a director can really work with you. Some beginning actors think, "As long as I've got my lines down by opening night, I'll be fine..." - but in a professional setting you're usually required to have your lines down early in the project's timeline. Reason being, a director can do far less in creating a scene if you're still wandering around with a script in your hand. You're not free to play, to create, to experiment during the rehearsal process.
And while theatre productions may have long rehearsal processes over many days or weeks, a film project may have very little rehearsal at all. So in that case, you've got no choice - you just have to have those lines in your head ready for the director to call "Action!"
Here are some tips and tricks that may help you get started on learning your lines:
Then, once you learn your lines, you must maintain them. You may find that during a season, if you’re not going over them regularly, some of the words slip away and you start paraphrasing - so it’s always good to revisit the script throughout your project.
Tom Hanks in the movie 'Philadelphia', 1993 (Credit: IMDB Photo Gallery)
A lot of aspiring young actors face obstacles to building a career. Some of those obstacles are external – family and friends being unsupportive of their career choice, for instance – while others are internal: an actor’s own thoughts and fears threaten to stifle their creativity and ability to move forward.
Sometimes these negative influences can leave you with self-doubt about you own ability, and perhaps make you question whether it’s really worth their while to pursue acting professionally. Setbacks can also come early on from auditions that don’t go so well, a bad review, or the long slog of working through smaller roles in the hope that one day a bigger role will come your way.
So it’s good to be reminded from time to time about how an actor benefits society at large by the work they do.
So next time you’re feeling discouraged about your journey as an actor, remember these important lessons. What you do does make a difference to people – and you may not even realise the impact you are having. Acting will help you leave your mark on the world – so make it a good one!
Maintaining good mental health can be challenging for anyone, but actors face certain difficulties relating to their profession. Periods of unemployment can result in financial stress. Audition failure can feel like personal rejection. And even if you are having some success and winning roles, sometimes the jobs aren’t creatively challenging enough to keep you happy.
Every actor must take measures to protect their mental health.
1. Eat well. As an actor, your voice and body are your instrument. So: feed it well. Be aware of your eating habits, without obsessing. Actors performing at night can be tempted by fast food on the way to the theatre, or may skip dinner before a show. If this is you, have a good breakfast and lunch packed with nutrients. Go for fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and carbs, water over soft drink and juices, and find snacks that are low in sugar and high in protein to give you energy through to the next meal.
2. Sleep well. This, too, can be a challenge for actors performing at night. The adrenalin rush of performance can stay with you when it’s really time for bed. So, have a sleep hygiene routine to help you wind down – get off screens, have a warm drink, read a book quietly, listen to soothing music, shower - whatever works. If, on the other hand, you have to get up for an early morning shoot, plan ahead. Be disciplined about getting to bed on time the night before. Send visitors home, set yourself a “time for bed” alarm, grab an early night – your brain will love you for it.
3. Exercise. This is the best natural mood booster that there is, because of the release of dopamine that results. Whether you just walk regularly, or have a more structured exercise program, exercise ensures your mind is clearer, you’ll sleep better, and your mood will improve.
4. Have a coach or counsellor. If you know you’re struggling with mental health, it’s time to check in with a professional. There are many options to choose from: online chat counselling, telephone counselling, face-to-face counselling, as well as classes and workshops. Alternatively, a life coach may be able to help you set some goals. Taking the step to get help can be daunting – but treat it as an investment in your career as an actor. Be aware, too, that you may need to “shop around” for the right helper – find someone you want to work with. A practitioner will not take it personally if you say that they’re not right counsellor for you. They know that client rapport is important for healing.
5. Have some other (non-acting) work. Some actors falsely believe you have to give up everything (including a regular income) to pursue an acting career. An actor’s life is project- to-project: you might get a voiceover one week, then a commercial the next, then a guest spot on TV – then nothing for three or four months. What do you do the rest of the time? You have another job. An income gives you self-confidence and stability until you get your big (or bigger) break. (Also, we have a tendency to define ourselves by our occupation, but that’s not always psychologically helpful. Don’t wrap up your whole identity in acting – for the sake of your mental health, acknowledge that your influence in the world extends beyond acting - into other fields and personal relationships.) Save up your annual leave from your day job so you can take time off to audition or participate in a project. But make sure you pace yourself – if you don’t get a decent holiday break one year, factor in other forms of downtime to rest and regroup.
6. Educate yourself financially. In this industry, think of yourself as a business person as well as an actor. Alleviate financial stress by learning about money and how it works. You must understand income and expenses, agent’s commissions, invoicing, and other business terms. Books, websites and courses can teach you the basics. Second to this, become a saver. Several actors have told me they wished they hadn’t spent all their money when they first became successful. (Remember, success in one movie or TV show doesn’t guarantee you’ll be hired again immediately afterwards.) At a time when they could have bought a house or established some longer-term security, they didn’t! So if you do hit the big time, plan to alleviate the possibility of future financial stress by putting some of those earnings aside.
7. Have a creative project. Some acting jobs are over in less than a day: the TV commercial, the voiceover, the MC gig. While they may pay well, they may not stretch you creatively. So have something creative on the go. Write a one-person show for yourself. Join a choir. Start a play reading group with other actors. Find something stimulating that will allow you to express your creativity, even when the work you’re doing, doesn’t. Creative activity is good for you and will lift your spirits if you’re feeling low.
8. Keep up your old friends. To protect your mental health, a social support network is vital. When you are focused on building a career, it’s easy to leave behind the friends who know you best. It’s great to have actor friends – because they will understand your highs and lows – but it’s also great to have people who knew you before all this started. One of the most powerful, scientifically proven methods for alleviating depression and other mental illness is human connection. So, if you’re feeling down – reach out. This is a big call when you’re low, but it reminds you that the world isn’t only happening inside your head. Make contact with a friend, catch up for a coffee or a beer, get out the board games – whatever floats your boat! Don’t forget to reach out to family too; connect with anyone who reminds you what it means to be alive and loved.
Combine these eight methods and you’ll be in a better place mentally and emotionally for your next role. Don’t wait till you feel yourself sliding downhill before you take action. Instead, work these things into your life today.
Written by Elizabeth Avery Scott, CEO and co-founder of Perform Australia. She is also a playwright and an actor’s guidance counsellor.
These blog posts are written by Perform Australia staff.