There are several techniques used for acting, Brooke Williams says. One is not better than another, and great actors have used all the methods, she adds. However, one popular technique that’s probably used more than any other is called method acting, which is based on the principles of Stanislavsky*, adds Brooke Williams. It’s a technique that was made famous in the 1930s by actor and director, Lee Strasberg, at the Actors Studio in New York.
Brooke Williams says method acting is one that uses a wide range of approaches, which allows the actor to understand better the emotions and feelings of the person he is portraying. “This technique allows you to bring your own experiences to the table,” Brooke Williams says, “and you use those experiences to better relate to your character.” Method acting lets you get into the character’s head, she adds, so the audience sees a real person there.
When learning method acting, Brooke Williams says this technique is one of the more challenging ones. First, she recommends a complete analysis of your character, so you completely and unequivocally understand him. Your goal is to not only understand their motivations but also to understand what they most desire.
Brooke Williams says you also will want to learn the character’s past. You’ll want to know how this person reacted to different things in his past and how these emotions have formed the “person” he is today. Developing this back story, Brooke Williams says, will help you connect more deeply with the character, no matter what the situation is.
Next, Brooke Williams says to think of times in your past to determine how that character would react. Then determine what would cause you to act as the character does. In other words, what “script” is running through that character’s head that causes him to be the way he is? Once you have identified the true emotions your character feels, see if you can recall a time in your own life that you felt similar.
Brooke says learning a character this way requires hours and hours of contemplation on the actor’s part. It takes a deep look inside to determine your character’s personality and how your personality relates to his. “The goal,” Brooke Williams says, “is to get out of the ‘acting’ stage and into the ‘being’ stage, where you can actually ‘become’ the character. At that point, the audience will see the real person that the character has become, which is the whole point of great acting.”
Of all the steps required to get that first paid acting job, Brooke Williams says none is more critical than the audition itself. During your audition, most directors will ask you to recite your best monologue, so you’ll need to have one perfected ahead of time. Here, Brooke talks about the main principles necessary to know for preparing and mastering your first monologue.
First, Brooke Williams says it’s important to know your lines, and this applies to auditions as well. With most auditions, all the actors trying out for the part will be performing their best monologue. She says this is something that you will have to spend ample time preparing for. Brooke recommends choosing an appropriate monologue that helps you stand out from the other auditions. Then she says to learn that monologue inside out. “Don’t just learn the words,” she says. “Learn it from the heart.” You’ll need to know it like the back of your hand, she says. This means that you know your character so well that you understand his way of thinking and what he desires most in the world. When you know your character and how he really feels, you’ll be more apt to become that character, she explains. Brooke Williams says to do this, you’ll need to not only understand the words being said, but also understand the reason behind the words.
For stage auditions, Brooke Williams says it’s essential to make your voice heard throughout the auditorium. This doesn’t mean shouting, she explains. It means projecting loud enough that even the people in the back row of the audience can hear you. You’ll want to practice with this ahead of time, so you’re proficient. Brooke Williams suggests doing some warmups before you audition so your voice is ready. For screen auditions, however, you won’t need to project as loudly since the camera will be able to zoom in on your performance.
Another thing you’ll want to perfect is your body language. When you are completely in character, Brooke Williams says, your character, not you, will determine what your body language is. Make sure your body language is natural, she says. This is another reason it helps to know the character you’re portraying. Your goal is to move your body without even realizing you’re doing it. This is something that you can develop with hours and hours of practice. There are tons of resources online that can help you with this also, she adds.
With this knowledge and plenty of practice, Brooke Williams says anybody can do a monologue they can be proud of. “If you want it bad enough,” she adds, “you can do this.”
Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, she starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage. After graduating from college, Brooke began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke’s love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.