I get asked frequently about acting exercises that an actor can do at home.
Maybe you’re in between classes, you want to do some extra work, or you just want to explore and stretch yourself in the privacy of your home without being watched and judged. Doing this exercise is a good way to work on specifics, details, activity of doing, and imagination. Here is one exercise that you can do on your own. Take your time and discover your way.
Exercises at Home #1 – THREE PHONE CALLS –“CHANGES IN SELF”
In this exercise, you are in your domain either getting ready to leave or settling back from being out. You will make or receive three phone calls. Each call needs to be very different, with a different point of view and tone, to three different people. You are in these phone calls while in the “doing”, meaning you are doing something during the call. Cast the person, and hear their side of the conversation. Immerse yourself in the call, hear them, respond to them, and complete the call. As you complete the call you continue your activity and go to the second call, either one you make or receive. Same thing. A second phone call with another person with a different life…. Then a third call. When finished, you leave or go back to your activity.
Cast the right people that you can have an authentic emotion to.
Listen to them.
Take your time.
Make them important, and be creative.
Find something that you can authentically connect to.
Do this while “in the doing.” You are doing something or getting ready to go somewhere.
This is about specifics and living truthfully in the moment.
Watch the call – are you being real or “stagy”? Authentic?, Phony?
Give the phone calls contrast. These should be people you have a very different emotional point of view about. Show us your range. Don’t make them all the same.
Keep each call to no more than 2 minutes.
I get home and am getting ready for bed, and see that I have a message. I listen to the message; it’s my mother… again. I return the call. She’s complaining about something. I feel guilty and irritated when I speak to her. I talk with her for a bit and hang up….. I continue to get ready and call a woman I’m interested in, I’m quite nervous, I like her and don’t know if she likes me. I chat her up a bit and then ask her out Friday night…..I continue and make a third call. It’s to the vet. My cat is not doing well, they tell me what’s wrong and I have to decide to put her down or not… I hang up and continue.
To get the most of this exercise, make the calls with different emotions. Give them high emotional stakes and take chances and risks. You want to be authentic and real, yet passionate and rich. Take your time, and give yourself time to recover from each call and then transition to the next. This is a great exercise that you can do by yourself at home, honing your craft. . If you wanted to you could tape yourself and then review it.
Good luck. If you try this, feel free to email me and let me know how it goes for you.