Type. Essence. Vibe.
Every actor has one.
Does this mean you have to pigeon-hole yourself? No.
Does it mean when you walk into the room you give off an energy unique to only you? You bet your Agent Meeting it does.
But, here's the rub: how we see ourselves may be skewed from the way others see us.
So, how do you find your type?
Start by describing yourself. Are you quirky, brooding or effervescent? Are you athletic or curvy? Are you fragile, easy-going or powerful? Don't be surprised if this sort of self-reflection is difficult or you still really don't know where you fit.
Here are a few ways to get a better idea of how the world sees you:
Ask a wide range of friends, teachers, and co-workers for 3-5 adjectives to describe you. This exercise can be very enlightening. Make a list and see which words (or similar ones) keep cropping up again and again.
Know Your Age Range:
Start with your actual age. (We realize this may not be the most popular advice...)
- Typically, the average for stage is 8-10 years. (The range is smaller the younger you are.)
- On-camera work is much closer to your actual age- usually 3-5 years.
Own your age and use it to your advantage.
Know your vocal type:
A sassy and brassy friend with a gorgeous mezzo voice was told by a director that she should be a belter. She didn't look like the typical ingenue, and was far too young to play motherly roles.
So, she spent the rest of her conservatory time learning how to belt. Subsequently, she booked a lot of brassy roles. Now that she's older, she can use it to her advantage and naturally transition into using her mezzo range.
If you're confused by your vocal type, working with a great vocal teacher or coach can be a huge help in finding your true voice.
(Hint: This is our favorite way to find new material for your Audition Book, monologues & scenes!)
- Take a look at actors that you resemble. Check out their key personality traits, vocal type and personal style.
- Now that you've found your professional twin, check out their resume and the roles they've played.
- Go research those plays, TV shows, films and songs they've sung... possibly even roles from shows you've never heard of. Now, you've got a list of material that fits your type AND no one else has thought of!
Getting to know your type is key when choosing material for yourself. Plus, knowing who you are can be a very freeing experience.
Of course, we will all grow and change as artists. But, remember, knowing who you are can also help you play AGAINST type.
When did you discover YOUR type? Let us know in the comments.
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-Kevin Kelly & Natalie Cordone- theConnectedPerformer.com