What Are the Different Types of Acting?
The world of child and teen acting can be a confusing place for a beginner. From industry terminology through to prepping for auditions, there’s just so much to take on board. And that’s before we even start talking about the various types of acting!
Yes, believe it or not there are quite a few different types of acting that your child will come across in their new career. And while you may not have to actually spend too much time studying up on them just yet, it’s always a good idea to at least get a basic understanding of the concepts.
Here we’ll help you do just that as we introduce the four basic types of acting. If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth then feel free to check out our Complete Guide to Understanding Acting Techniques. But if you just want to know the basics, then you’re in the right place.
But before we talk about the different types of acting, let’s take a look at the two main categories that all acting falls into.
Classical acting is the type of acting that you’ll see in a theatre. This is Shakespeare and the likes — the type of acting that can be quite tough for a child or teenager to pull off. This is because there is no room whatsoever for ad-libbing or what is also known as improvisation. Generally speaking, classical acting is very structured and lines and even actions in some cases will be the exact same no matter how many times the production has been performed.
It’s highly unlikely that your child will land any classical acting roles through your agency unless it’s something that they have a particular interest in.
We call it modern acting, but if you tell your child that some of the techniques were devised over a century ago, they’ll wonder if you know the meaning of the word modern! In terms of acting though, a hundred years isn’t really all that long ago.
Modern acting is pretty much the type of acting that we see on TV, in movies, and even in many stage productions that were written in the last century. Modern acting encourages more improvisation from actors and takes advantage of their unique skills and personalities to add weight and authenticity to their characters.
Now, it should come as no surprise that we’re going to focus on four types of acting that fall into the modern acting category. After all, these are the types of acting techniques that your child may end up using in their career.
So let’s start off with one that you have certainly heard of before. Method acting is a technique that was developed by a guy called Lee Strasberg. This takes inspiration from Stanislavsky’s method which we’ll talk about later.
Method acting is all about using your own experiences and living the scene as if it were your own life. To do this, many actors will actually live as their character for prolonged periods so they can really feel like they’re living the role.
Some of the most famous actors to use this method are Sacha Baron Cohen, Christian Bale, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Robert De Niro. But perhaps the most famous is Heath Ledger in his role as the Joker.
Chekhov's Acting Technique
Remember what we said about Stanislavski influencing others? Well, Michael Chekhov developed the Chekhov technique after training under Stanislavski. This technique is all about the actor using their imagination to create a world that fits with their role. The idea here is to make an actor’s performance more authentic through pretending that the role is real. Sounds familiar, right?
Some famous actors with Chekhov-influenced acting skills include Helen Hunt and Clint Eastwood. Jack Nicholson and Anthony Hopkins are users of the technique too.
Stanislavsky's System for Acting
The Stanislavsky method is a system that helps actors develop realism in their performances. People also might even refer to it as ‘classical acting’, but not in the sense that we explained earlier. It’s called this simply because it’s like the grandfather of all acting techniques. In fact most acting techniques in the world have been heavily influenced by this method.
This method is all about asking questions about your character so you can truly understand their motivation. Some famous actors who are well known for this method are Patrick Stewart and Cate Blanchett.
Sanford Meisner worked alongside Lee Strasberg and went on to develop his own acting technique. So it’s no surprise it’s one of the many methods of acting with elements of method acting and Stanislavsky’s system weaved into it.
Meisner’s technique is all about improvisation and takes the ad-libbing idea to a whole new level. The actor will try to simply go with the flow and do what feels right when acting. Needless to say, this is a tough one to master and directors won’t really encourage kids to try this one too often in actual scenes!
That said, kids acting classes will use this technique as it’s lots of fun and gets everyone really thinking about what they’re doing as opposed to just following instructions. And just so you know, one of the biggest names in the business uses this technique — Tom Cruise.
And those are the four main types of acting that most of the world’s most famous and successful actors use as often as we eat hot dinners. Like we said earlier, this is just a very basic taster of what’s involved, if you’d like to know more, you can check out the guide we mentioned earlier.
Remember that if your child is interested in improving their acting skills, we have some great classes and programs in our online acting school Bubblegum Academy. The academy is a convenient and affordable way to pick up those much-needed skills and improve your child’s chances of acing their next audition. So check it out and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be glad to help.