Actor and Director Ben Hodge has been the acting teacher at Central York High School for the past 10 years where he has developed an innovative and fresh curriculum for young actors aged 13-24. This curriculum and workshop format is now available to the greater York area with hopes of training and leading new actors to the realisation that acting is a more than just a hobby or pastime: it is an honourable profession and a way of life. His connections with New York City, LA and local talent agencies are now being offered to anyone who joins the Studio classes and have opened the doors for many already joined. He currently runs classes and offers private acting coaching via Skype. Connect with Ben on Twitter or via email
We all love a good performance. Whether we are sitting in the house of a live show or sitting in our own house viewing a film or TV show, the respect, awe and joy transferred from stage or screen to audience is a palpable and desired effect for all actors. But what really makes a performance great? What makes an actor great? Is it training? Skill? Look? Luck? In this revised and updated three part series, I post that great acting has its foundation in three key areas: COURAGE, CHARISMA, and CONNECTION.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
Connecting Your Performances
All things connect. Do we believe this? If we did, we would all be better for it. Acting is all about connection in a variety of ways. If you look at acting from the artistic standpoint, connection is its very core. It is the actor’s job to connect to the material presented: the lines, the character, the subtext, the overall theme, etc. Actors have to look at their work in the same way Chief Seattle viewed the human race: as threads within a larger web. Everything is connected. A line is never just a line. A part is rarely just a part. Everything has meaning and it is important to find ways to connect with any part you play, whether you have no lines or ninety-nine lines.
Actors need to connect artistically to every part they play. The deeper the connection, the more believable the performance is.
Find ways to connect to your character by making it less about method and more about understanding what is going on in the scene/play/film. Understand what the writer is trying to convey through your character. Pay attention to the details and clues within the script itself: most of the connection you need is right there in front of you.
Be aware of:
the objectives (WHAT your character wants)
the motivations (WHY your character acts) within the scene.
And above all else, LISTEN to the other actors onstage. Pay attention to what is happening around you and allow yourself to stay connected to it. Staying present onstage (and not on what is coming next or what has past) is crucial to an actor’s artistic connection. In many ways, it is ALL that we have as actors.
Connecting Your Career
Acting is more than just an art; it is a business. Connection will help you in the business side of acting as well.
Actors have to find ways to connect with industry professionals. In the 21st century, there is no excuse to NOT be connected with other like-minded creatives or industry professionals. Social media has literally changed the way we get our news and information and it has also opened the doorway to increase pathways of connection for millions of people.
Casting directors, talent agencies, directors, celebrities, acting coaches, directors, writers and working actors alike are all available to anyone who seeks them out.
Are you finding ways to connect with them?
There is much to learn. Jump on social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and start searching for connections that speak to your interest.
Be sure to keep your connections professional, poignant and purposeful: you don’t want to hound, annoy or distance them in anyway.
You’d be surprised as to how many industry professionals are willing to connect with you. Start small, but start somewhere.
Here are some great starting points:
Now get out there, make CONNECTIONS and keep finding ways to be COURAGEOUS!
Ben Hodge has been acting and directing for 20 years in a variety of formats. He has directed several productions in York, PA and had his play REACH performed in NYC at an Off-Broadway venue in 2009. Ben studied English and Acting at Messiah College and received his Masters in Education from Penn State University. After the success of REACH, the hit play about the hidden issues of 21st Century teens, Ben started acting classes in the York, PA area and created Ben Hodge Studios in October 2009. His main goal is to bring a high-level, professional acting workshop to York, PA that is modelled after professional workshops with influences by Uta Hagen, Sanford Meisner and David Mamet.
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