10 lessons I learned from Sir Michael Caine  on film acting:

1) When speaking to an actor off-camera, look into one eye and stick with it.

2) Film acting is, in large part, reacting and listening.

3) While rehearsing something with a fellow actor, if a crew member can come up and recognize you’re rehearsing vs. having a real conversation, then you aren’t doing it right.

4) An actor relaxes in front of the camera by concentrating, and knowing that you have no enemies on set, everyone’s on your side and doing their best to make you look your best for the movie.

5) The camera catches everything you do, so don’t be afraid to play things subtley.

6) If you’re going to smoke on-screen, you must plan it absolutely perfectly, don’t mess up the continuity.

7) All actors steal certain gestures and behaviors from other actors — but the best actors make these gestures their own.  Steal from the best, and make it your own.

8) You can make four pictures as an actor in the time it takes a director to make one — so if you’re an actor planning on becoming a director, consider the financial aspect.

9) A majority of movie acting is relaxation.  If you’re knocking yourself out, you’re doing it wrong.

10) Theater acting is an operation with a scalpel, movie acting is an operation with a laser.




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Table of Contents:

  • ** The Purpose of a Warm-Up **
  • ** Relaxation **
  • ** Vocal Warm-Up **
  • ** Physical Warm-Up **
  • ** Focusing the Mind **
  • ** Communicating With Others **

** The Purpose of a Warm-up **

  1. To relax and relieve any Tension.
  2. To prepare the voice for speaking.
  3. To prepare the body for moving.
  4. To get creativity flowing.
  5. To focus your mind on the task.
  6. To communicate with others.

** Relaxation **

Most people experience mental and physical tension and have come to accept this tension as a part of their natural condition. As people age, tension accumulates and we forget how it is to feel relaxed. Tension produces undue fatigue, breaks down concentration ability, and makes it difficult to maintain a patient and calm exterior.

Practicing relaxation, preferably at the same time every day, should be part of your Warm-up routine.

Relaxation Exercise

  1. 7 steps ....

Deep Breathing Exercise

  1. 5 steps to guide you...

Your breathing control is very important when you're warming up and controlling the voice.

** Vocal Warm-Up **

A Vocal warm-up prepares the voice for speaking. You need to warm up the vocal chords just as you would warm up any other muscle in your body. They need to be ready for long duration of use and without proper vocal preparation, you can damage the chords.

Vocal Exercises

4 methods to practice...

    • Do a few tongue twisters. Focus on pronunciation and enunciation:
      1. 6 great samples to practice...


    • Practice reading aloud any material you want.

** Physical Warm-Up **

If you've ever taken an exercise class you probably know how to warm up your body. The general idea is...

5 steps...

If there's a group of you, a physical game is a great way to warm up. Something like ...

a few games...


** Focusing the Mind **

All the aforementioned exercises focus the mind and prepare you for your task. Here are a few other ideas to get your mind centered and your creativity flowing:

  • 6 steps...

I recommend doing these mind centering tasks by yourself. Involving the other actors can become a big socialization party and your focus will just be scattered.

** Communicating With Others **

Focusing the group energy is the last step of the warm up. Most Directors have their own method of focusing the group energy but if they don't, here are a few suggestions:

    4 techniques for your group

There are a wide variety of warm-up and centering techniques. Eventually, you'll pick and choose the exercises that work best for you.





Table of Contents:

  • ** What is a Character? **
  • ** Character Movement **
  • ** Vocal Characterization **
  • ** Getting to Know Your Character **

** What is a Character? **

Any attribute that defines a human being can define a character. For an actor, much ...

Where do I start?

Start with your script. The playwright generally includes character description on the ...More on exploring the script information is provided in Script.

** Character Movement **

Since an audience can only know what they see and hear about a character, your physicality - including impairments, tics, and habits - are very important. Actors frequently overlook these traits which can easily make your character more interesting or funny.

Basic Movement

Basic movement is body awareness through:

  • 4 movements

By mixing and matching the above movement definitions, you can describe any possible human action. The following eight verbs describe some resulting combinations. Consider developing a character who moves in one of these ways.

  • 1 - 8....

Habits and Tics

Most people have habits or tics that they're not even aware ...


Nobody's perfect so you might want to consider ...

** Vocal Characterization **

Don't forget about the things the audience will HEAR from your character. Does the character speak slowly, quickly? Do they have a ...habits that without awareness, may color every character you play. See Reading List for information on the Alexander and Feldenkrais Techniques.

** Getting to Know Your Character **

Some Actors like to explore everything they could possibly know about their character. The more you know, the more precise your choices, and the more real the character will be to you and your audience. For instance...

58 samples of what you could consider...

  1. What is his/her name?
  2. How old is he/she?
  3. Does he or she appear

As you can see, there are many choices one can make. It's always tempting to play a part as if ...






Table of Contents:

  • ** Breaking Down the Script **
  • ** Memorizing Lines **

** Breaking Down the Script **

Part of the Actors job is to analyze ...


The five "W's" to ask about your character: 1 - 5...

The answers to these questions are always stated or implied in the dialogue or given in the stage directions.

Objectives and Obstacles

Once you've asked the "what am I doing" and "why am I doing it" questions, ...


Consider how your character relates to the other characters in ...

Using the Lines

Keep in mind that behind every line of text, there is SUBTEXT. If a character says...

An Actor has no right to speak a line until ...

Finding the Beats

What a character does to accomplish each minor objective is called a beat. A beat is ...

An actor should always find the beats, mark the beginning and end in the script, and be able to state the objective and obstacle for each one. The actor is responsible for this work before rehearsals begin.


** Memorizing Lines **

Word for Word?

Many actors fail to understand why they must memorize their lines word for word as the playwright has written them. It becomes frustrating for the actor when they are faced with a difficult speech, but there are many reasons why the actor should resist the temptation to paraphrase:

  1. 3 reasons and why...

How to Memorize

If you don't have a photographic memory then you have to work at memorizing your lines. Here are some tips that should help you:

Our 6 methods to lears to memorize your lines are ....



Table of Contents:

  • ** Stage Basics **
  • ** The Rehearsal Process **

** Stage Basics **


Stage Right - The actor's right as he stands onstage facing the audience.
Stage Left - The actor's left as he stands onstage facing the audience.
Downstage - Toward the audience.
Upstage - Away from the audience.
In - Toward the center of the stage.
Out - Away from the center of the stage.

Stage Areas
















U = Upstage, D = Downstage, R = Right, C = Center, L = Left.

More Definitions

Onstage - The part of the stage which is visible to the audience.
Offstage - The part of the stage not visible to the audience.
Backstage - Usually the entire stage portion of the theatre including the wings, dressing rooms, etc.
Out front - Usually the auditorium portion of the theatre including theatre seating, lobby, etc.
Wings - Offstage space at right and left of the onstage area, usually curtained off.

Body Positions... 2 modes

Body Levels... 3 levels

The Two Deadly Sins of Body Positioning ....

** The Rehearsal Process **

An actors conduct in rehearsal should ...

12 Commandments for a Professional Actor

  1. 1 - 12...



  • Don't force a character ...
  • Achieve dramatic ...
  • Make sure to ask, ...
  • In a serious drama, ...
  • Three definitions for the word blocking:
  • ...
  • At any time in the rehearsal process...
  • Acting is ...
  • Acting is ...
  • Acting is ...
  • Look through the script for words that ...
  • Quote: "The most natural, ...
  • Practice reading ...
  • Auditioning: Auditioning can be nerve wracking but I always try ....
  • Stage fright can be daunting for beginning actors, so here's some tips for getting past it:
    1. 5 steps... 


Table of Contents: specific books we recommend...

This list is by no means inclusive. I have listed some of my favorites and as many classic works as I can think of. Other plays by these Authors are also recommended.

** Actors Resources **

  • Books we recommend are...

** Technique **

  • Techniques and Methods are...


Table of Contents:

  • ** Getting Started in Theatre **
  • ** Getting Started in Film **

I've had a lot of email from people requesting information about how to get started in the acting profession.

While I can't possibly know what the theatre or film community is like where you live, I can help with some general information.


** Getting Started in Theatre **


I recommend taking acting classes as much as possible. Classes not only ...


If you have some experience in school or independent theatre productions, list your ...

Resume Photo

Every actor who's actively looking for acting work must have a resume photo. When you're first starting out, you don't ...

Amateur Theatre

Most major cities have theatre companies who put on theatre productions with volunteer actors. This is the best way for someone who's just starting out to build credits for their resume, network with others, get ...

Becoming a Professional

There are no hard and fast rules about when to start auditioning for professional theatre companies. If you have a good photo, a resume with ...

Most professional theatre companies hold a general audition once a year. Call the theatre companies in your area and ask when they'll have their general auditions and what you'll need to prepare for it.


** Getting Started in Film **


Classes are very important for the film actor. Take them as often as possible.

Resume & Resume Photo

Keep track of your film credits on your resume. If you have a lot of theatre credits, put some ...

Doing some Film Work

If you live in a city where there is a great deal of film production, independent film schools and university film departments often need volunteer actors for student films. You'll need to find ...

Casting Agencies

Casting agencies, as opposed to Talent agencies, do not represent the individual actor, they work for the film production. Casting agents keep photographs of actors and when a director needs an actor of a particular age or look, the casting agent goes through their books of photos and call people in to audition.

It's often easier to get involved with a casting agency because ...

Talent Agencies

Talent agencies represent and promote the professional actor. There are talent agencies that represent extras only (non-speaking) and agencies that represent commercial, film and television actors.

When you're just starting out......