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.
Charisma – The ‘It’ Factor in Acting
I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.
We have all heard about the it factor. Some people have it, some don’t. I’ve talked to many people about what they think it, is. The tricky part is that it, is tough to define.
In reality, the tricky nature is really part of its definition. Some actors just have a innate quality about them. They walk into a room and the mood changes for the better. They can change the dynamics of time and space with their presence and personality. To me, this is the very definition of charisma.
Charisma is all about one’s grace, beauty, kindness and charm. This is what we often refer to as the it, factor.
An actor walks into my casting room for a role, and they literally light up the room. How do they do that? I don’t think it is that mystical as we think. Think about a time when you have met someone who you thought possessed this it, factor. They really didn’t do anything mystical or miraculous. They were kind, compassionate, caring, concerned, focused and cool.
Great actors understand that charisma goes a long way in their performance on screen/stage and when working the audition circuit.
In reality, these memorable actors walk in with a lot of the same characteristics:
I believe that charisma can be developed. We can all learn to be more poised, joyful, and human. We have to find ways to be more honest with ourselves. This is why it is imperative to find an acting class to work in.
Great actors stay working in classes that allow them to be critiqued so they can truly learn where they can improve and grow.
For many actors, these discoveries come down to preparation.
When we prepare for our performances, we can develop more confidence. When we underprepare, our confidence and charisma is negatively affected.
To increase charisma, we have to find ways to improve our preparation.
We have to find ways to improve our listening and communication skills when dealing with other professionals (actors, directors, teachers, etc.). We so often get so caught up in the worry and anxiety that we forget to breathe, relax and center ourselves on the task at hand.
We all must reclaim our acting life by making it fun again.
Sure, it’s work. Sure, it’s hard.
But there also was a time when it was fun, enjoyable and life-changing. Tap into that, and your charisma will shine.
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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