Wednesday, July 21, 2010

8 Tips Actors can give Writers

For a brief time in my youth I toyed with the idea of becoming an actor. I went to acting classes, I studied other actors, I read, I practised, I yearned. And then I gave it all up because I was hopeless – truly hopeless – at learning my lines.

But it wasn’t all a waste. I learned so many great things from acting. Below is a brief list of tips that writers can gain from the skills of the acting trade:

1. We communicate in more ways than dialogue alone. An actor learns that emotion is also conveyed through body language. It’s shared through silences. It can even be shown through interaction with the environment. Remember that when you write and you’ll go a long way.

2. Actors show the drama. They don’t stand on stage and describe the emotions they are going through.

3. Study people. Great actors build an understanding of people: how they react, how they move, how they think. They observe and they remember so they can then emulate what they have learned in their art. So too writers need this skill to build on their characters.

4. Don’t overdramatise. The audience and readers alike only cringe. Over the top dilutes poignancy and smothers nuances.

5. Build self-confidence. It takes courage to stand up on stage and offer the audience yourself. It takes great courage to send your writing into the public. But not only that, it takes courage to spill out your heart and soul into your work.

6. Be thick skinned. Actors and writers will have to face criticism in their careers. Learn when to listen and when to shrug it off.

7. Practice makes perfect. The more an actor acts, the more a writer writes, the better they will become.

8. Be professional. No matter what you choose to take on in life, always be professional. Show respect for your craft.

Can you think of any other acting tips which might be helpful for writers?


  1. excellent post lynda!
    especially like the studying people part!

  2. A favourite pass time of mine is to sit in a large food court and just watch people :)

  3. Really great advice, Lyn - every single thing on your list.

  4. Great list!
    What a clever way to combine your other interest with writing.

  5. These are excellent tips. I'll definitely keep this in mind when I open my WiP document (any day now..)

  6. Cruella, do your know you want to...

  7. Thought-provoking and instructive tips, Lynda! This post is definately a top candidate for a future "Friday Friends" feature on my blog :)

  8. Thanks, Mohamed. I'm glad you found it helpful

  9. The job doesn't end when the movie is a wrap, they have to go out and promote & sell. So do we. :D

  10. Wow I think you nailed a lot of them. This was such a fun and inspirational post. Definitely a lot to think about!!!

  11. M Pax - oh! great addition!! I love it! I hadn't thought of that aspect, but you are totally right. Not only do actors perform, but they promote as well. Nice one!

  12. Jen, I'm glad you got something out of this. I should break each aspect down into it's separate post...perhaps next week ;)

  13. These are all great pieces of advice or artists of any sort.

    Thanks for stopping by my random questions/prizes blog party. :)

  14. How very fine. This is a refreshing way of looking at it...and a good practice, looking at any craft or genre (or business, for that matter), from other perspectives. Thank you,



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