Practicing improvisation is no different than practicing anything else. With time, diligence and hard work, you can become gifted at the art of creating live performance on the spot.
Find a Teacher
Just getting together with your friends to practice improv is great, but it won’t teach you anything unless you have access to a professional in the field. Your teacher is there to pass on wisdom and help you learn to see your own weaknesses while providing ways to improve. Their guidance is a great way to help you find a path when it seems like you could head in any direction. As an important note, never be afraid to move on to a different teacher when your current one has taught you all that they can.
Alongside your teacher, study. Watch interviews with improvisers you find talented. Read about the theory behind improvisation. Try out new exercises you come across. Study is what allows you to gather the information you need to ask questions, make improvements and grow as a performer. It teaches you the language of the industry and warns you against useless pursuits.
In the end, though, practice makes perfect. You can train improv by yourself in an empty room or you can do so in front of an audience and learn more in that one night than a lifetime by yourself. To do is to progress. Each time reveals some new strength and some new flaw you could never hope to find on your own. The public, for as cruel as it can be, is a fantastic resource for learning. Their responses teach you how to read the air of a crowd and how to shut down hagglers. In short, live performance is what refines your practice into a profession.
There is a big difference between natural and stage makeup. Where one is to be enjoyed in natural lighting, the other must be bold enough to be seen from across a room as you are showered in very intense lighting. Never should the two be swapped.
In general, lighter is better when it comes to natural makeup. The colors used are there to accentuate your natural features while smoothing out some of the less desirable parts. Tones that match your skin color are favored and when you go heavy for a bold look, it’s only done on one area. Be it smoky eyes or red lipstick, every girl gets a favorite feature she can emphasize without any backlash. Too much, however, and the gossip begins.
For stake makeup, take what you know of natural makeup and throw it in the trash. On the stage, it’s all about extremes. How big is the venue? What color are the lights? Will you be using period makeup? Are you playing an animal? What age are you? What does your costume look like? Is the production realistic or fantastical? All of these questions and more go into designing your makeup for a stage show. In general, you are required to have your own makeup kit to achieve the costume designer’s dream. This typically means a box of colors to be mixed and matched. While Ben Nye is usually the brand stage performers turn to, there are other options out there. You’ll find these makeups are more like pastes and the colors are bright, even when going for the more natural shades. On top of such a heavy makeup, there’s the outercoat that is then applied to lock the makeup in place so that it doesn’t run when you inevitably begin sweating.
We all dream of the perfect partner. Emotionally you connect and the energy is passed back and forth on stage as if you were soulmates. The reality, however, is much different. Instead of instant clicking, there’s a lot of awkward fumbling and dropped lines. As for the emotional connection, it’s even more of a mythological tale. Even still, there are things you can do to force a connection on stage when all else feels lost.
Don’t Try Too Hard
If you’re getting upset over the lack of connection with your scene partner, you’re building up emotional walls that will only make your acting worse. Instead of focusing your rage on them, take it as a positive. You, lucky actor that you are, have been given the immense challenge of making the impossible possible. Should you be a good enough actor, you could do it.
Listen to their lines and the delivery. Watch their movements or lack thereof. What are they giving you to work with? Even if it seems they’ve got nothing to offer, you can still salvage the scene. Maybe the person has a nervous tick you can work into the scene. Maybe they have a way of saying something you can turn into a characterization for your role. Even the smallest hint of connection can lead to something greater.
In the end, maybe they simply can’t connect with your delivery. Test out different ways to say your lines to see if you can elicit a reaction. Maybe they need you to be angrier but have a hard time expressing it. While the change may not lead in the direction you had in mind, any kind of common ground with your partner is enough to make the scene that much better.
They’re definitely going to ask you to walk. That’s a given. But what are some other areas you’ll be called out on when you go in for the next step of the audition?
Sometimes a callback is simply standing in a room with the other hopefuls and posing for just a little longer. This, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come prepared. As a successful applicant, you should have put more time into studying the company behind the gig to better prepare yourself for the products and look they sell. The more you know about what they need from you, the better you can offer them more than just a pretty face.
Other times, the call back will be more in-depth. In this case, you’ll no doubt be asked about your own aspirations in terms of what type of modeling you’re aiming to pursue. In that case, make sure you’ve prepared a plan. It doesn’t have to be the exact course you take and you don’t even have to be married to the idea. The trick here is to sound both educated and driven on the subject matter. This promotes an image of professionalism most major companies expect from their models.
As with every part of the audition process, make sure you have your portfolio with you. Should you know the role you were called back for, you can even alter the portfolio to better suit the look and attitude. Following any discussion they may have with you, you’ll no doubt be asked to give them your collection of work. Again, research is important here. Know what they want and adapt your answers and your look to better fit it.
To those of us that have never truly delved into the fashion world, there are actually a variety of types of pants, each requiring their own set of fashion rules regarding shoes. Though this may seem arbitrary to some, the look and feel such knowledge helps create is enough to make anything look desirable.
Once a style relegated to moms, ankle pants have since seen their return to all age groups. The secret, however, is make sure the correct shoes are worn. If not, these simply look like they are too short. The hard and fast rule is that you should never wear socks with ankle pants. Strappy sandals, loafers and even booties are acceptable so long as it looks like your feet are bare.
Wide Leg Pants
Pants with wide legs that don’t hug your every curve generally fall into this category, including the every famous bellbottom. Keep in mind that these look best when tailored so as to minimize frumpiness. Some of us don’t need our bottoms to look any bigger. As for shoes, you want heels. Since the bottom of the pants are meant to nearly brush the floor barefoot, heels allow the material to flow nicely. It also gives you the appearance of longer legs, perfect for creating a slimmer look. Avoid flats.
Skinny Leg Pants
Including jeans and leggings, skinny leg pants do a great job showing off shapely legs and otherwise creating a youthful look. Like wide leg pants, these should be tailored as well to reduce any baggy areas. Though they don’t have to be skin tight, they should fit snuggly in all the major areas. For shoes, you can pretty much wear anything so long as socks don’t show. Boots and flats, however, are the ideal.
If you’re a guy looking to get into male modeling, know that there is a demand. Though there are some basic requirements set forth in terms of general look and size, the “requirements” are more loose guidelines than they are strict rules.
Like females, tall men are preferred due to how clothing hangs on their frames. That being said, you don’t want to be too tall. The ideal height is between 6’ and 6’2” though agencies have been known to hire guys measuring in at 5’10” and 5’11”. Anything shorter won’t really cut it on the runway but that doesn’t mean other modeling opportunities aren’t available.
Weight and Build
Weight is far more changeable since each body carries weight differently. A solid average is around 170 but a range of 160 to 180 is preferred. As for the build, muscles are a definite. Low body fat coupled with visible muscle means clothes look great on you no matter what style. Too bulky or too skinny leads to fashion not fitting right.
Age isn’t really a limiting factor for men since a lot of men still maintain sex appeal well into their 50s and 60s. Even so, the more active aspects of modeling, such as walking a runway, skew younger rather than older.
Though you could attack auditions by yourself, hiring an agent is the best way to pursue more opportunities than you could on your own. Agents are also very good at finding jobs that match your personality and looks thereby increasing your chances of getting hired regardless of how closely you fit (or don’t fit) the industry standards.
Nerves are rough during auditions but are the worst when it comes to voice work and singing. Your breath becomes shallow, your mouth goes dry and it seems as if your diaphragm will never settle again. Don’t fret! Even with nerves, all of the practice and rehearsal you did beforehand will help you get into your rhythm and nail the audition.
The throat is a muscle. You don’t jump straight to working out without a proper warm up. Why would you jump straight into an audition without giving the same courtesy to your voice? Sing a few scales. Buzz the lips. Spit out tongue twisters. Get everything moving in unison before you’re called in.
With the script in hand, make strong choices fast. Who is the character? What is their age? What is the situation? You’re not trying to give the judges exactly what they think they want. Your goal is to give the judges a clear, precise character right off the bat. Fumbling for footing will only hurt your audition.
While dry mouth will probably show up no matter how hydrated you are, drink enough water so that it’s more of a phantom dry mouth than actual dry mouth. In addition to negatively impacting your tongue and its ability to produce sound, not enough water impacts the entire vocal tract, minimizing lubrication and otherwise wreaking havoc on your ability to produce a voice.
Don’t ever be afraid to act as you do the reading, especially if it helps you make the voice even stronger. In fact, most all voice actors are theatrically trained. Feel the emotions the character feels. Throw your hands around in frustration. Whatever it takes to make that character vocally come alive, do it.
Though measurements are a must in the modeling world, it may come as a surprise that so many individuals simply don’t know how to take accurate measurements. Don’t be one of those. Here are the basics.
For reliable measurements, grab a measuring tape and a friend. If you cannot be nude in front of this individual, put on skintight clothing, like a bathing suit, to mimic the tape measure being as close to the actual skin as possible. Stand with your back straight and arms relaxed. When taking the measurement, the tape measure should lie flat to your skin.
For height, measure yourself with your back against a flat wall. Do not wear shoes. For your weight, jump on a scale with as little clothing as possible.
Neck (Males Only)
Take this number from about an inch up from where your neck hits your shoulders. Instead of a tight measurement, place one index finger under the measuring tape and record that.
Place the tape measure around the largest part of your chest. This goes for males and females. Make sure your arms are relaxed and at your sides. This number will not match your bra size since it includes the breasts.
Sleeve (Males Only)
Place your hand on your hip and start the tape measure at the spine. Run it over the shoulder, over the elbow and stop at the wrist.
This is not your pants size. This is where your torso bends when you lean to the side. If you have trouble finding it, bend side to side and put the tape measure there. It should be about an inch or two above the belly button.
It’s the dream of every actor. Not a single role goes by where a good tear couldn’t make the moment even better, especially on camera. While not all actors can let loose when told, it’s a skill that certainly comes in handy when trying to get cast.
Before tackling the emotional aspects of crying on command, it’s of the utmost importance to know that you can’t expel water from the body unless the body has water to expel. For this simple little concept to work, you have to drink lots of water.
Don’t Force It
For those of us that have cried and do cry when the feeling strikes, we know that it’s never forced in those moments. Our emotions are simply too strong to hold the tears back, resulting in an overflow. If, on stage, you’re obsessed with analyzing how to make that happen, you’ve already severed your connection to the sadness that would have led to tears. As soon as you tell yourself you have to cry, you won’t.
Accept Your Sadness
Odds are society has taught you to push your sadness away. Whether you needed to keep a straight face at home or were teased at school for crying too much, we, as humans, develop many ways to alter such a negatively received response. To open that outlet once again, it takes time, patience and practice. You must reteach yourself how to react to sadness. You have to learn not to cover it up but to let it out. This alone can take years of work as you figure out the “what” behind the block. Only then, however, can you hope to recondition yourself to accept crying as a normal, natural response to an emotional state to extreme duress.
There are a lot of mascara brushes out there. From the usual straight wand to balls and curves, choosing the right one has never been so confusing. Fret no more. Here’s the down low on what to choose when deciding on a look.
For beginners, straight wands are the best. They add natural length and separation to create a fuller look. Perfect for every lash type, they are the most common option since they offer little room for error.
When you’re ready to move on to a more challenging application, curved wands offer just that. The shape follows the natural curvature of the eye, lifting the lashes to create a soft yet voluminous curl.
Hard to find due to their relative newness to the marketplace, orb wands were designed with precision in mind. This makes them the top choice for perfectionists. The orb shape covered in bristles allows users to apply mascara to difficult lashes in harder to reach areas.
For the previous three options, there are types of bristles you can choose from. The most common is nylon. This material is suite for virtually all lashes. The bristles are also numerous and close together, making it easier to apply a lot of mascara in one go, keeping clumping to a minimum.
Plastic bristles are made from molds and are the single best way to achieve a perfect mascara look without any clumping. The molding process means high precision bristle arrangement. Because of this, most are designed to coat each lash, resulting in superior length and definition.