Becoming believable starts with an actor trusting in the role they are portraying. The character is going to be there if you commit yourself to the role and believe you are that character. Here are some tips to get you ready for the role that defines your commitment.
1. Commit to your roles. It is not your job, as an actor, to rewrite the script so that you are "more likable," nor is it your job to judge the writing or character and play a version of yourself instead. It is your job to portray a character that could believably inhabit the world of the movie, play, or TV show. Just like the writer, director, camera person, etc, you need to work as part of a larger, consistent group to make a great show.
2. Learn to react. While not everyone agrees that acting is reacting, it is still an important thing to consider when you're learning about acting. This means that you have to work on your responsiveness to any given acting situation. Really focus in on the other actor's lines, listening to them intently like you would any other person's conversation in "real life." You want to respond honestly, in the voice of your character, even if you are not the main attraction of the scene.
3. Think about a consistent posture. It's important to remember that something as small as posture can make a big difference. Not only does it make you look more confident, it helps you further inhabit the life of the character. If your character is weak or meager, hunch your shoulders and sink away from the others. If they are heroic, stand tall with your chest and head held high.
4. Use your pace and volume to dictate the energy of a scene. When reciting lines it's tempting to blaze through them as fast as you can. But this is a surefire way to lose the nuance of your role. Instead, let your pacing and volume mimic your character's internal state.
5. Play with the emphasis in your lines. Think about the subtext of every line, and emphasize accordingly. Emphasis the lined is stressed. Think of it as the most important word or phrase of the sentence. It may not sound important, but emphasis can have a huge role in anything you say. "I love you" has a different connotation than "I love you," for example.
6. Respect the script. Unless given permission to do so, or briefly improvising a word or two, stick to the script as much as possible. You may not be sure if there is a call-back to another line or scene, or if a director likes the exact line reading for some reason. When in doubt, always obey the script. Someone will tell you if they want you to improvise or deviate into something different.
7. Keep your blocking consistent. Blocking is where you move and stand in a scene. Once you've decided on blocking with the director, don't change it. Work on hitting the exact same blocking each take, rehearsal, or scene. This allows continuity, and helps the rest of the cast and crew plan their own jobs.
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