For anyone trying to make a career out of acting, the dream is usually to portray a wide range of different characters. After all, leaving your comfort zone can push you to develop your skills and become much better at what you do, plus it can be a lot more fun. But how can you break free of your current routine and be successful at something that’s a little more outside the box?
Alter your approach
If you’re looking for roles yourself or using an agent, you may have fallen into a routine over time and this can be hard to break. Even if you really want to try acting in more difficult or unusual roles, does your agent know this? Do your applications put this across? Maybe your own attitude to your work needs to change in order to come across as someone who’s capable of stepping up to the challenge.
Practice on your own
You don’t have to wait until you land an audition to experiment with a piece of drama that you have no experience with. Try picking out a tricky scene from a piece of work you’re not familiar with and simply practice acting it out. You can either choose a monologue or work with another professional to push each other’s limits.
Find new inspiration
You should certainly devote some time to reading and watching new, varied sources to find acting inspiration. If you’re very familiar with a particular actor’s style, try watching something where they successfully played a completely different type of character so you’ll notice more of the subtle changes they made to their acting style.
Assign yourself a role
As an exercise, choose a book or play and pick one character that you think would be the ideal challenge for you to play. After you’ve studied them and practised acting as that character, watch how someone else did it in a stage show or on screen. You will probably learn a huge amount about your own acting style by doing this.
Don’t be afraid of complex writing
A classic example here is trying to learn, understand and act out Shakespeare. Many people are put off at first by the difficulty level of the language used, but persevering can be very rewarding and provides a gateway into portraying highly complex characters.
Focus on being better
Balancing decisions that are good for your career in the short term and good for you as an actor in the long term can be difficult, but ideally you should always consider opportunities to improve your skills even if you know they might not directly lead to big money. If you want to succeed as an actor, the most essential thing you need to do is constantly work to improve your abilities.