How to Learn Acting at Home

Street actors (sepia) image by Konovalov Pavel from

Things You'll Need

  • TV
  • DVD player

Acting can be a powerful and emotional experience. Actors must connect with strong and complex emotions and work to convey them in a believable and accurate way. Being a good actor is not always easy and requires total commitment from the actor to the role, character and story. The actor must live as that character and embrace the essence of that person in order to deliver a good performance. Acting is something that is difficult to teach but easy to learn if a person gives themselves to the role completely.

Study award-winning actors. Rent films that have won Academy Awards for best actor or actress, and study the performances of these actors. Watch the film several times, once for enjoyment and to get a general feel and another time for the acting of the star performer, taking notes about her performance and noting every little detail. Finally, watch it again scene by scene, mimicking the actor’s performance. This process allows the student to learn the subtleties of acting, learning when silence is just as important as dialog and when it may say even more. The student will observe how simply a look, walk or word coming from a character can be powerful.

Connect with emotions. Acting is, in part, about connecting with the emotional state of the character and what are he is feeling. To be convincing, an actor must actually feel those emotions. Make a list of emotional states, such as angry, sad, happy, worried or frightened. The actor should then think of a time in life when he experienced those emotions and connect with those feelings. This will help the actor to learn how to draw from his own experiences.

Learn method acting. Method acting is an acting discipline used by many great actors such as Robert De Niro and Daniel Day Lewis. It involves becoming that character both on and off screen, embracing all that that character is in everyday life. This can be tricky to do for someone with a full-time job and family, but even method acting for a few hours can be very rewarding. A great exercise is to create a character, be very detailed in her background, life story, feelings and emotions and then go out in the world and act like that character. When getting on a bus, how would this character get on a bus? Would she pay with a $20 bill or barely have enough change? Would she give her seat to an older woman standing? Would she make conversation with other people? Would she talk loudly on a cell phone? Would she be nervous and avoid eye contact? The scenarios are endless, and there are no limits on how in depth an actor can go with method acting.