When I think back on my career for the past decade, there are several moments that stick out. While some of these moments are prominent in my memory due to the success they created, others are implanted within my mind due to the embarrassment I felt. One of these moments was when I first watched myself on camera. While this was something I knew I had to get used to, I couldn’t stand it. My acting coach at the time noticed my cringing facial expressions and said, “You don’t need to be ashamed of your performance. The only way to grow as an actor is to take a step back and assess your face, voice and bodily movements. It is then, and only then, you can make alterations to how you perform your art.”
Assessing your performance as an actor can be a daunting task; however, one of the most important things to remember is without self-assessment of your body movements you’ll never truly know your weaknesses.
Assessing Your Physical Movements
Assessing your physical movements can be extremely challenging as we, as actors, are typically our harshest critics. While this can be a difficult task, it does not negate the fact that self-assessment is one of the most vital skills any film actor can possess.
When you are assessing your performance, one of the most important aspects of the performance to take note of is your body. Now, I’m not strictly talking about how your body moves, but how you use your body to fill up space in the scene. When assessing your performance, use the following checklist to see if there are areas that need improvement:
- · Nervous Ticks – We all have them. When we’re nervous our body can make involuntary movements, such as touching your shirt, scratching your face or reorganizing your hair. In camera acting, these nervous ticks can be detrimental to your performance. Review your performance and look for any nervous ticks that are not in-line with your character. Take notes of these ticks and work on eliminating them from your movements.
- · Physical Connection – As an actor, you must strive to make not only a mental and emotional connection with your fellow actors, but also a physical connection. How does your body relate to those around you? What is the emotion your body is conveying during a scene? Are you properly sticking to the movement choices for your character?
- · Physical Movements – In film acting, much like any other form of acting, your physical movements are premeditated; however, you must achieve each movement with spur-of-the-moment style. All movements must appear to be organic and non-rehearsed. When assessing your performance, are these movements natural or rehearsed?