1) DON’T ALWAYS LISTEN TO TEACHERS. Here’s how you can spot a bad teacher: He or she seems panicked that you’re not listening to them. Teachers who can’t inspire usually try to control your mind. So listen to the inspirers, and try to avoid the controllers.
2) IF ACTING IS PAINFUL FOR YOU, TRY A DIFFERENT APPROACH.
Pain teaches us about life and can make us deeper people, but it shouldn’t be part of the creative process. The actors who excel are the ones who love the way that “doing it” feels. So if your acting is not feeling good to you, go at it in a different way. Trusting what works for you is the first sign you’re becoming an artist.
3) PRACTICE READING ALOUD.
Ever notice how auditions are called “readings”? There’s a good reason for that. The ability to read a text believably is the secret to getting called back. And it’s a skill you should practice everyday. In college you have a ton of reading to do, so use it as a way to work on acting. Read aloud. Even if it’s science stuff – just pretend you’re auditioning for “CSI.”
4) YOU’RE PROBABLY BETTER AT “BUSINESS STUFF” THAN YOU THINK.
Some artists say that “business” is the opposite of “art.” If you want to be successful, don’t listen to them. Actors shouldn’t avoid business stuff. The essence of business is developing relationships, and actors can be damn good at that. So discover your “Inner CEO.”
5) BUST OUT OF THE “PRISON OF SELF.”
Too much self-absorption blunts your ability to care about something beyond yourself – which is the key to good acting. Notice how many greats have “causes” they’re into: people like Sean Penn, Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio. They don’t care about causes because they’re stars. They became stars because they had a passion for something other than themselves that audiences could feel in their acting.
Notes to an Actor is currently available.