12 Aug 2021

Why Is It Important To Keep Learning As An Actor? – Screenwise Tips

There’s always something more to learn. Even the greatest actors in the world will tell you that they learn something new in every role, and in every acting lesson. As an actor you want to be constantly evolving and building upon your acting foundations, whether it is improving technical screen acting skills or exploring new acting methodologies.

There’s no one single way to act. A career in acting is a life-long process of discovery and developing techniques that work for you. Every director, teacher and mentor you work with, will help develop those processes. This is why it is important to keep learning as an actor, to stay fresh and broaden your horizons.

No Two Roles are the Same

Every role is different and demands different things of you. From different technical skills like screen combat or accent work, or different performance demands, a high stakes emotional drama is going to require different approaches than a slapstick comedy. Ensuring you have a robust set of skills and breadth of experience will help you stay successful no matter the role. Acting classes are a safe place to learn new things and break out of your comfort zone without the pressures of a working set bearing down on you.

No Two Directors Work the Same Way

Every director you work with will have their own processes, their own unique approach to crafting the story. You need to be flexible and adaptable enough to meet the the expectations of your director while also ensuring you give your best performance. Working with an array of different teachers and coaches is a great way to prepare yourself for the different approaches you’ll encounter in the industry. It will help develop a flexible process for yourself without falling into restrictive habits or relying too much on shared approaches with your favourite directors and acting coaches.

Directing actors on set

More Skills Open More Opportunities

Pre-existing experience with technical skills can often open doors for an actor. As an example, while many large productions have the time and budget to hire dialect coaches and stunt training for their lead actors. If you are screen or stage combat trained, or have a solid foundation in an accent before starting a role that is going to increase the odds of securing a role that requires those skills. Learning new skills to fill any gaps in your knowledge or branch out and learn entirely new things can lead to a whole suite of new opportunities you didn’t have access to before. This can even go beyond acting. Think of how many roles require riding horses, or playing an instrument. Every skill you have up your sleeve is opening up more opportunities for yourself in future.

Birds eye view of actor on set

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any performance skill, acting lives in your body. The more often you do it the more often you’re stretching those figurative and literal acting muscles. The habits of thought and action you build through regular scene work and technical training will make you all the more ready and polished on set. If you’re not still engaging with classes or an acting coach when you’re not on set you run the risk of losing that edge and having to warm back into it next time you have an audition or role coming up. Like any other performer such as dancers or musicians, actors need constant practice to keep their skills sharp. Acting lessons help keep that practice up when you’re not in a role.

Actor on set

Make New Contacts

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s a cliche for a reason. Your success within the industry is determined as much, if not more, by how well you can network than it is by how well you perform. Acting is a business, and like any business networking is crucial. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game for a while acting classes are a great way to meet other actors and keep yourself known and in the loop. Acting teachers too are often actors themselves, or directors, casting agents can often hold workshops. While your acting teacher and peers might not take particularly kindly to you pestering them for roles or contacts, developing those friendships and professional connections are going to make all the difference for your career in the long run.

Students in class

Beyond the practical value of networking in building a career though, acting can be an incredibly isolating career path if you don’t put in the effort to maintain connections and contact with your peers. Every set has a new sea of faces, and may take you to new cities or even traveling internationally. Acting classes are often a great way to quickly build a circle of friends and contacts in a new place, or for many actors taking regular classes with a group of friends can be a great way to forge consistency in an ever-changing profession.

Screenwise was established 21 years ago to provide specialist, career-focused training in acting for film & television. The school employs leading industry professionals – award-winning actors, directors & casting consultants who are articulate and inspirational teachers.Screenwise is overseen by Denise Roberts (Grey Nomads, Schapelle, The Moodys, Cliffy, Mrs Biggs, Packed To The Rafters, Blood Brothers, Razzle Dazzle, Always Greener, GP). The school offers full-time and part-time intensive creative and technical screen acting programs which are accredited and up to date with Australian and International film industry standards. If you want to keep with all the latest check out our socials Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Tiktok.

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