As actors, so much of our time is spent waiting for opportunity to come knocking. Staying motivated can be one of the biggest struggles when it comes to our careers. Keeping those creative juices flowing will help you stay sharp, so you’ll be ready when opportunity comes knocking.
Here’s 10 ways to keep those creative muscles in shape:
1. Choose a creative workspace
This space may be a cozy nook in your home, or it could be the Starbucks down the street. Either way it’s a place that you can dedicate to bringing your goals, projects, and inspirations to life. As humans, we are all creatures of habit; having a place that is specifically for creative purpose will prompt those muscles to activate whenever you enter it.
Actor’s need to understand the writer’s mind. After all we are telling their story. Knowing their intent and how they achieve it is a key element of our job. By learning more about the writer’s craft, your storytelling will inevitably become more creative and effective. Writing can also serve your own stories by putting you in touch with your own thoughts and feelings about the world around you. Once you start writing you’ll notice a shift in how you look at characters and stories when it comes to acting.
Although we’re taught to be in the moment as actors; stepping away from reality for a quick daydream can be a welcome break from the task at hand. It allows the space for new ideas to emerge and makes the work day go by a little quicker.
4. Read up on your craft
Go down to your local library or book store and check out some books about acting and actors that you admire. Read some plays or screenplays. The more you take in and understand about your industry, the more you have to draw on and use in your work. This will allow you to explore your craft in new ways and allow you to work out where you can contribute to the industry with your own sense of uniqueness and professionalism.
5. Watch Movies & Television
Take a load off and turn on some Netflix. What better way to study your craft than watching some of the greats at work? Check out 100 Movies Everyone Needs to See Before They Die on IMDB. Look at the filmography of the actors you admire or even better an actor you’re similar to. What types of characters do they play? What genres of film do they best fit into? Pay attention to the different directing styles. Really dive into everything that makes these movies great and how you can apply these things to your acting.
Being an actor can be a balancing act at times. We have to hold down a job to survive while making time for classes and learning lines, but still remain flexible for whenever auditions come up. That’s a lot of balls in the air. Daily meditation can help to reduce any stresses you may have, improves attention and trains you to drown out distractions. It allows more room for problem solving and creative thinking, thus allowing you to perform at a higher level with less effort.
7. Work Out
Studies have shown that working out helps to improve mental performance and allows you to think more clearly. A morning workout or even a short walk in the fresh air can help to clear your head and center you before your daily “actor workout”.
8. Get more sleep
We all know that feeling, the text from our agent at 4pm, but we’re not off work until 11pm. It’s true that creativity won’t help if you don’t know your lines, however cramming all night is the exact opposite of what your brain needs. In REM sleep, our brains react a lot like they do during high-level concentration when we’re awake. If you can skip the all-nighter, your brain and creativity levels will thank you.
There’s a reason they start us with arts & crafts in preschool. It’s a great way to express yourself and spark creativity, while freeing yourself from familiar patterns. Jump on Pinterest and find a project that inspires you or take in a sculpting class. Who knows? You could get a great side business going selling your pieces on Etsy.
10. Try Something New
As artists, we’re taught that our greatest moments come from breaking outside of our comfort zones. In order to allow ourselves to do this more freely in our acting, we can do the same in life. Travel somewhere you’ve never been, challenge yourself to a hike, or build up your specialty skills with a dance class or stunt workshop. Take that acting class you’ve been dying to take. Try learning a new language or take up an instrument. By saying YES in life, you’ll learn to take more risks in your acting.