Games and Exercises to Improve Acting Skills, Imagination and Observation

‘The man on a bus stop’ is an exercise aimed to develop your imagination. Developing imagination is one of the most important components of actor’s success. In order for the audience to believe your acting, it’s you who has to believe first that the life of your character is real. And to do that, you need to be able to build a small world of your character’s life in your mind.

Even just for one scene, you have to come up with answers of why you are doing, what you are doing, why is it that way, etc. That’s exactly what your imagination is for. You should work on developing your imagination as often as possible. It is useful for mastering acting skills, but also it is so much fun to live having a good imagination!

This exercise can be done both individually and in a group. If you are doing it on your own, then you just need to go outside and look at passers-by, people in the queue, on a bus stop, etc. and start to make assumptions about them: profession, hobbies, marital status and anything else. Don’t try to guess, just fantasize! If you are doing it in a group, then just take turns and do the same thing, – make assumptions about your partners.

‘What were they wearing’ is a game aimed at developing attention. Attention is very important for an actor as well, as you have to pay attention to every detail of other people. Also, it is very difficult for a beginner to play an emotion or a state that he/she has never experienced. But if your attention is well developed, you can always recall the observations about the people who have experienced the desired state or emotion.

This exercise can also be done both individually and in a group. In a group, people sit in a circle and they are given 5 minutes to remember who was wearing what. It’s important to remember all the details of clothing, accessories, hairstyle, etc. After 5 minutes, they turn, and the host of the game begins to ask questing like these: “Anna, tell me, please, what was Helen wearing?”, “John, what was the color of Anna’s shoes?”, etc. At the end, everyone turns back and checks the answers. If you are doing it individually, then just do it with your family members or strangers. Just close your eyes and try to remember every detail.