How to be a Versatile Actor
As actors we’re generally expected to be versatile enough to play everything. Or at least that’s the general consensus regarding acting as a profession—and not simply from actors and their coaches.
Of course, precious few have the wherewithal to rise to such daunting heights for the simple reason that none of these tasks are all that easy. Mastering the skills to perform in any medium, let alone making the transition appear effortless, is generally accepted to define what it is to be versatile. This is, at least in part, the degree of difficulty involved in being a versatile actor. Every genre demands skill and tenacity and requires constant maintenance if you hope to be a valued professional.
Maybe I’m preaching to the choir, but being versatile is most often defined by the following:
Being skillful at playing a role that is a dramatic departure from yourself, or playing a role that’s a dramatic departure from characters you play most.
Mastering a variety of media. The more you make yourself familiar with the demands of commercial work, TV, film, and voiceover, the more capable and confident you’ll become performing in each of these forms of media. Besides, your aim as an actor should be to open yourself up to as many opportunities as possible.
The ability (and agility) to offer appropriate performance options, take after take. This defines our creative muscle, regardless of the project, genre, or scene. The ability to deliver a unique expression with each take could very well be the very core of what makes us creatively valuable.