I know my acting styles

What are my acting styles, am I a drama actor, a comedian, or do I like to be an action actor, or better, do I KNOW my favourite style of acting?

One of the most crucial decisions an actor has to make is how to pitch their acting style of character acting. Whilst it is clear to say that each character is unique and each will have their own individual persona, there are several distinct recognised styles in the world of film, theatre and performance. Indeed, the particular discipline an actor works in will often have distinct styles, for instance improvised styles have traditionally been used more in live performances, on the stage, whilst in film and television it has nearly always been the norm for roles to be scripted, although in recent decades there has been a growing trend for improvisation in film and television.

Maybe you ask yourself "why should I know about my acting styles or acting styles in common"?

Acting is most definitely an art rather than a craft, it is a talent not everyone has and even fewer can do well. However, even the most talented actors must hone their craft and technique in order to achieve the best results. It is harder to assess an actors skill in technical terms as one can with musicians, with in who’s written music and performance important factors are simpler to pick out. Actors performances don’t offer such a firm notational system on which to assess them, rather it is via a highly personal and individual interpretation of an actors ability to portray a character that we come to a decision on how strong the performance is.

However, there are conventions of acting that an audience uses to interpret the success of a performance. These conventions tend to follow the themes of the theatre plays, thus an actor can be seen performing in comedic, dramatic, historic or tragic acting styles for example. Indeed each of these genres can have many sub-genres with farce and satire being good examples of comedy performance.

When you say: My acting style is..." it doesn't mean that it is the only thing you can do. It has to do with being aware of your style. Many actors will develop a strong style as their career develops and become best known for a certain type of character they play. It is the case that certain roles will suit certain acting styles, so an actor who has great physical acting skills, may find themselves suited to certain roles over an actor who’s strengths lie in voice acting . Exaggerated or non-realistic acting styles are suited to styles such as melodrama and farce, whilst realistic and studied performance is often seen as being part of the Method style.

In their training, actors will be introduced to all aspects that are used to achieve a style, such as acting for stage, camera or voice, learning how voice, movement and interpretation of the text can dramatically alter the perception of the character. Acting styles must take in to account a decision on how to convey the character, and this depends entirely on the production and actor. There have been countless different interpretations of the same Shakespearian plays; the style a director chooses for his actors to perform can make a significant comment on their view of the text. Some may choose to emphasise the comedic elements of a play to present a lighter form of entertainment, whilst another may pick up on the tragic to explore the darker side of the play and characters nature. Either way the style of acting is crucial to achieving this. So make sure you can say: I know my acting style!

Than finally you might say This is my acting style. That is great, but you have to realise that acting styles evolve and change with fashions, and it is from this perspective that the success of a specific style of acting is decided, thus some of the method acting of the sixties can seem hammy and contrived to today’s audience, that is only in comparison to contemporary styles, which in turn may seem as unrealistic to tomorrow's audiences. Although some styles remain, and have become an artform of their own, like the old and still apealing Commedia dell' Arte

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