10 top tips for “resting” actors

If approached in the right way, “resting” can be a fantastic opportunity.

Let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of acting opportunities out there at the moment.  But that doesn’t mean that actors don’t need to keep their skills and their minds sharp. 

With lockdown keeping a lot of actors not only just out of theatres and off of sets, it’s keeping most of them inside.  We’ve got a list of top tips for making the most of your time off…

1. Stay creative

The creative part of your brain needs exercise like everything else, so keep it stimulated through writing, drawing, photography, music – whatever comes most naturally. Acting is a difficult discipline to practise in isolation, but there are plenty of other ways to keep those creative juices flowing. 

2. See shows

You can’t physically get into theatres at the moment, but you can still catch virtual productions.  Even if it involves watching productions you’ve previously seen in person, you may learn something new by watching a filmed performance. Click here for a list of productions you can watch (this list is regularly updated)

3. Meet people (online or socially-distanced, of course!)

Reach out to friends, have as many online meet-ups as you can put with. Get talking to people and share your experiences with them. Acting can be a lonely profession at times like this, but there are always others going through it too. And you might just end up discussing a project that could turn out to be your next break. 

4. Learn new things

There are always new things to be learnt, from piano playing to horse riding. Embrace your new found time – or at least the time you have when not doing a ‘normal’ job – by fleshing out your CV (see below) with new skills. Who knows when they might come in handy?

5. Stay positive

Timed can be tricky, for sure, but it really is important to retain a positive attitude when out of work. A negative outlook will lead to introspection and can even impact your odds of getting more work. If you find yourself getting gloomy, remind yourself this shall pass and further opportunities will come along soon. 

6. Update your CV (that’s “resumé” to our American friends)

This is a very important practical step. It’s all-too easy to let your CV languish and then have to cobble something together in a hurry when it’s required. Don’t fall into this trap. Make it a monthly task to tidy your CV – and be sure to update any websites/social media profiles, too.

7. Edit your showreel / voice reel

Out of date showreels can do more harm than good, so be sure to regularly re-edit. There are plenty of companies that will do this for a fee, or – following on from point number 4 – why not teach yourself iMovie and edit it yourself? It’s a skill that will always come in handy.  And if you need to freshen up your voice reel, you can always use Audacity.  It’s free and simple to use. 

8. Read scripts

Lockdown is a perfect opportunity to read as many scripts as you can. Not only will you gain fascinating insights into the work of writers you admire, but you might come across some excellent audition speeches too.  You might find a perfect script to then implement our Hint No. 

9.  Start a play reading group

There are plenty of video conferencing services now available free of charge for everyone to use.  Who would have thought that creatives would be using Zoom, Google Meets or Microsoft Teams six months ago.  Now we’re all experts, why not organise a reading with some fellow actors.  It will keep the acting muscles in shape and is a perfect way to connect.

10.  Exercise

This is crucial, but often overlooked. The more active you are, the better you will feel and the better prepared you will be for that next job. Not only does physical fitness play an increasingly important role in casting decisions, it also makes you far less susceptible to injuries and exhaustion.  There are plenty of YouTube videos to help you get active and in the shape you want to be in, whatever that may be.