These acting tips will take you from featured role to leading role

Coaching Programmes for Actors.
Date: 21 June 2022
Author: Tom O'Brien

You’ve probably been given these acting tips when you build a character from scratch…Focus on the meaning behind what they’re saying, play the subtext and their objectives. Right?

If so, great work!

When giving acting tips I emphasise that It’s super important when a bold, interesting and impactful character to think about all these elements?

Are you also focussing on your character’s BEHAVIOUR?


As humans, we’re fascinating when it comes to how we behave in certain situations. Our mannerisms and how much we say or don’t say, our body language, our habits. All of this makes up how unique we are!


What makes each human different from the other usually comes down to how they behave. Would you agree?

As an actor, you are no doubt curious and a people watcher.

Observing the various ways people interact only strengthens your ability to create authentic characters on camera or stage Especially if the character miles away from yourself.

When building your characters behaviour are you thinking about any of this?


Are they formal or informal with their manners or their language?


Do they fidget or sit still?

What’s their inner tempo? The speed at which they move or speak

How good is their concentration? Are they easily distracted?

How comfortable are they with eye contact?


How do they behave differently one on one to how they behave in a large group?


Do they operate from their personal, private or public persona?


Are they introverted or extroverted?


The list of questions and observations are endless.


You don’t need to make choices about everything, but going further into the backstory and internal world of the character will help answer behavioural questions when you start to prepare choices.


Remember, behavioural traits will most of the time be unconscious to the character you’re playing but you as the actor need to make those choices consciously in your preparation. This is going to level up your acting skills.


Be careful not to (as I call it) OVER CRAM your character!


Making lots of unnecessary or complicated physical choices that are going to distract from the scene or take you away from the truth of the character isn’t’ the one. But it’s important to play and try whilst preparing.


I find when coaching my clients on behaviour, the right choices usually stay in your body



No director (in my opinion) focusses on behaviour more than any like Mike Leigh!

If you don’t know about this process, he spends months creating the backstory of characters and detailing their lives with the each actor independently.



Mike and each actor improvise meticulously so they know everything about their characters before Mike introduces each character to each the other in an improvisation, creating a story from the improvisations.



The outcome is always compelling. If you’ve seen his films, Secrets and Lies, Vera Drake, Another Year, Happy Go Lucky, Abigail’s Party, you’ll know what I mean.

The actors know their characters so inside out that they are able improvise and behave as if they are them in any circumstance. This due to this rigorous process.



Now, we don’t all have 6 months preparation like Mike Leigh and his actors, but it’s something to aim for when developing your acting skills right?

​If you enjoyed this blog and would like more acting tips advice that I only share with my creative community.


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