Five Extra Skills to Help Actors Get Ahead

October 25th, 2016


Acting is an art that it’s arguably impossible to master, because every single person has something unique to bring to the table. Acting is such a diverse art form that even extra-curricular activities that actors take part in can bleed through and help their performances on-screen or on-stage. When you’re an actor, learning a new skill is never a waste of time, because you never know when it might come in handy.


Audiences are demanding authenticity more and more, and the days of Audrey Hepburn lip-syncing to someone else’s voice in My Fair Lady are long gone. Having skills as a singer, pianist, guitarist, drummer – anything you can think of – can put you ahead even if you won’t be required to actually play live. If you know your way around your instrument, or know the ins and outs of singing, then that will read in your performance. It’s never too late to broaden your horizons with a bit of music.


More than just an athletic build, being a keen athlete gives you a confidence and litheness, particularly when playing a character who happens to participate in the same sport as you. If a scene calls for actors to participate in some sort of sport, they don’t want it to be derailed by fumbles and unconvincing attempts. If your sports skills are second nature, then acting can come first.


Being able to dance is an enormous boon for an actor – opening up avenues for musicals, live dance works, music videos or any role that requires you to move your body in a compelling way. It’s not just confined to dance roles, either; Dancers move in ways other people can’t. Imagine you’re playing a great character like a slimy, slithering villain – your dance skills can help you characterise the role by tapping subtle but effective changes in body language. Every little thing counts.

Sleight of Hand

The finished result of your acting efforts can often feel like it was produced by magic. Cutting and editing, unnoticed by the audience, is like a kind of sleight of hand, so why not try the real thing. Sleight of hand is the kind of skill that can come in handy in a pinch, not just if you happen to land a role as a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but also if your role requires the kind of dexterousness, charisma and apparently effortless concentration that the magician’s art teaches.

Martial Arts

The breadth and depth of martial arts films is practically unknowable to all but die-hard fans. There are actors that have made careers out of the discipline that allows them to perform devastating martial arts manoeuvres, and there are a lot of high budget projects out there with a demand for martial arts skills. Even if you’re not appearing in a high wire fight scene though, a knowledge of martial arts still imparts a composure and physical aspect that can be applied to just about any acting role, from stoic drama to outrageous comedy.

These are not the only skills that will help to expand and improve your acting career. There are many other skills with a huge number of applications, so follow your heart wherever it takes you!