new years eve

7 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Acting

Happy New Year! Though 2019 isn’t that new anymore, as the days are already turning into weeks and soon into months! So, have you managed to keep your New Year’s resolutions so far?

It’s never too late to start — whether it’s January 1 or any other day, and a good resolution to make is one devoted to improving something you’re passionate about. For actors, there’s plenty of things and habits you can change to improve your craft, and what better time to begin than the New Year.

Here are some New Year’s Resolutions to make you a better actor, ones you can start implementing even today:

Watch more foreign films

The beauty of New York Film Academy (NYFA) is how international this school is. Make the most of that! Be curious and ask them about celebrated artists and movie stars from home countries, and what the entertainment industry is like there.

American cinema has been inspired by foreign films, and vice versa. You can learn from them, too. On a lazy Saturday afternoon, watch more than the latest Netflix shows when countless productions from overseas are being offered. There are beautiful stories told from every corner of this world. If you don’t know where to start, go to the “International” section of your preferred streaming service, or select any countries that fascinate you and go from there!

Have a physical routine

Voice and movement are keys to a great performance, both on stage and screen. Working on your breathing and practicing a new physical theatre technique can only make you a stronger performer. Rather than prep before each audition, you should incorporate a physical routine into your daily lifestyle.

Attending workshops or programs from acting schools like New York Film Academy can give you the tools you need to learn the basics of a physical routine and help you customize the perfect one for your own needs. Adding simple stretches before getting up, or warming up a cup of tea and taking a moment to relax and meditate before dealing with your morning commute can make all the difference. Little details can change the rest of your day.

New Years Resolutions

Get out of your surroundings for at least a day

If you’re trying to break into acting, chances are you live in a big city, and big cities can become overwhelming and exhausting. New scenery can literally be a breath of fresh air, even if it’s just for a weekend, even if it’s just for a Sunday afternoon. If this isn’t possible, even cities like New York still have quiet, hidden corners. Changing your surroundings can do wonders for internalizing your own thoughts and feelings.

Stay in touch with your family and friends

As a foreigner myself, I know what it is to be driven and determined in order to succeed in New York. You quickly stop realizing that there’s a larger world out there. Be careful not to dissociate from your roots. Your focus and dedication are indeed vital to your craft, but calling your peers by sharing the steps of your journey will help open your horizons to get some solid advice from people who know you and want you to succeed. And it feels good.

Staying connected to your social network of loved ones can help you stay emotionally grounded and keep you from becoming lost in the challenges and complexities of an artist’s life. Many illustrious actors will tell you that the support of their friends and family was key to their success.

Connect to the larger world around you

While internalizing your own thoughts and staying connected to your close network of friends and family are very important, so is looking outward to the world around you, a world which is increasingly complicated and troubling these days. Being aware of social and political issues dominating the news cycle, as well as concerns of climate change and other current events that affect the world will conversely keep you connected to humanity as a whole.

This is important when becoming a character — one who doesn’t just exist on the page but one who exists in a larger world. By connecting your humanity to a larger context, you can find it easier to connect to the humanity of your audience.

New Years Resolutions

Take care of yourself

Socializing can often involve going out and partying, and while having fun with friends is valuable, you must take care not to overdo it. Physically, your voice, body, and mind are the tools you work with as a performer, and wearing them out has obvious consequences. But it’s important to take care of yourself mentally as well — inhabiting another character on stage or screen will be incredibly more difficult if you’re own sense of self is struggling.

Don’t forget that by being very respectful to your needs and listen to your body. Make sure to sleep and eat well while you’re at it, even if you’ve got that 5am call time!

Learn something new about yourself

As both an artist and a person, you’ll be learning and evolving until your last breath. But go out of your way this year and see if you can find one thing about yourself — whether it’s related to your personality, your habits, what motivates you, etc. — that you never realized or put into words before.

Maybe you’ll find this out from your close social network, or while getting away from it all outside the city, or while you’re in the middle of a deep work out. That’s the great thing about having multiple New Year’s resolutions — they can all affect one another and help you keep all of them, all the way to 2020. Have a Happy New 2019 and best of luck on your journey as an actor!

6 Cinematic Tips for Capturing Your New Year’s Kiss

It’s not just the script and actors’ chemistry that make iconic kisses sizzle. Costumes, set, sound and lighting all conspire to bring the viewer into the moment. If you want to capture your first kiss of 2017 with style, here are six tips from the filmmaker’s toolbox.

1. Dress the part.

Normatalmadge_crop

 

If you’ll be filming at your own New Year’s party, consider a theme. If you choose wisely, your guests will make marvelously glamorous background artists, while not disrupting costume continuity. How about Hollywood’s golden Age or The Roaring Twenties?

2. Find the right place and scope it out prior to the big night.

Whether you choose a cozy speakeasy or a multi-level night club, be sure to do a thorough location scout — for a tech savvy approach, check out our blog post on some useful cinematography hacks. You don’t want any surprises on the big night; you’ve only got one chance to get this right (at least this year)!

3. Light the night.

pexels-photo-140122

 

If you’ve ever been on a film set at night, you know that there is not a whole lot of darkness going on. Even candlelit scenes almost always have some artificial light to boost visibility and soften contrast. To preserve the feel and be seen, you will probably have to strike a balance between authenticity and practicality, otherwise  your DP (or buddy with a camera) will have a conniption fit.

4. Consider the lens.

Soft focus smoothes imperfections, so you and your kissing partner can be preserved for posterity as young and beautiful. For the ultimate in low budget, try this romantic effect with a DIY trick for your smart phone.

5. Never underestimate the power of great sound design.

For your New Year’s film, a well-timed champaign pop, and the fizzing of bubbly reminds the viewer that this is not just any party, but New Year’s Eve. There are many SFX websites to help you create the perfect New Year’s Eve soundtrack. Also, chances are there will be music. In order to avoid pushing your mics into the red, this article, by a cinematographer experienced in capturing special moments, suggests plugging directly into the PA.

6. Acting in reality.

Garbo_-_Gilbert_-_publicity

Life is not a set (unless you’re on reality TV), so the big moment might begin before you’re ready for action. But don’t worry that the countdown finds your kissing partner across the room, chatting up a Greta Garbo look-alike or filling the punch bowl with yet another tray of flower ice cubes, just go up to him or her and remember why you cast them for this part. You’ve done everything to set the scene, now all you have to do is be present. Even if the film isn’t perfect, the kiss should be.

How will you be recording your memorable moments this New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments below!