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Professional advice and guidance for aspiring actors.

How to Practice Acting at Home

​“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

- Steve Martin

Acting is a skill that requires continuous practice and learning. Becoming a successful actor may not be easy but it is absolutely possible. With dedication, consistent practice and perseverance, you can make your acting dreams come true. And a great place to start is by learning how to practice acting at home.

There are lots of ways to develop your acting skills, and if you aren’t practicing your acting at home, then where are you practicing?

At an acting class? Great! But classes can be expensive, and you’re limiting your learning to the time you’re in class.

At an audition? Interesting. While auditions will absolutely count as practice towards improving your acting craft, it’s not a great idea to approach them as if they are practice. Y What about all the rest of your time?

Build up the habit of acting exercises that you can do at home and watch your acting skill develop exponentially.

There are so many ways to practice acting at home.



    An actor’s warm up is a key part of any acting audition or performance. It’s the time when the actor releases the stress and tension from their day to day life, loosens up their body and voice and prepares their mind to take on the journey of the character they're playing and scenes they’re playing out.

    Spending even 10 or 15 minutes a day on putting together the warm up routine that works best for you is a great way to get into peak acting form. Over time, an actor’s warm up habit becomes a lifeline on stressful or extra long set days. A great, quick, consistent routine will help an actor go from overwhelmed and nervous to calm and ready for action in a few short minutes.

    90% of the time, the actor’s warm up will happen at home; so before signing with an agent or getting your first audition, it’s a great idea to incorporate your warm up into your daily routine.

    The perfect actor’s warm up will tackle the three areas of the actor’s instrument: their body, their mind and their voice. Check out a full list of warm up exercises here to try for yourself.


    Understanding storytelling is a huge part of the actors job and there’s no better way to improve your ability to dissect and understand a scene then reading plays and screenplays out loud.

    Get a group of acting friends together, pick your favorite play or movie, find the script online and spend an afternoon or evening reading the piece together. Throw some snacks in the mix, and you’re in for a fun filled night!

    Take turns reading different characters, or assign them ahead of time and do some prep work on your performance - both ways can be valuable!

    Seeing different people read the same parts can be a great way to examine the inherent differences between actors. While preparing for your character in advance can help you dive into motivations and goals for your character’s journey.

    After the reading is complete, discuss the play or screenplay as a group.

    Ask questions like:

    • What genre of film or play is this?
    • What is the protagonist’s journey? What is their motivation?
    • What is the antagonist’s journey? What is their motivation?
    • What are the obstacles the characters encounter?
    • What was the purpose of each character?
    • Which characters would be the most fun to play?
    • Why do you think the playwright or screenwriter wrote this piece?
    • How would you film this piece as a movie? What would be the pace? The tone?
    • Who would you cast as each character if you could have any actors you wanted?
    • Which role would you best be suited for?

    Studying films and plays as a whole is invaluable for understanding audition and acting class scenes. Make this a regular part of practicing acting at home and your confidence in your craft will soar!


    Acting is never about the words the character says, it’s always about the intentions behind those words and the actions they employ to get what they want and accomplish their goals.

    New, inexperienced, and even actors who have experience but are a bit out of practice, often have the tendency to get stuck on the words. They think about how to say the lines of a script a certain way instead of going beneath the surface of the words and revealing the all important intentions that lie underneath.

    A great way to practice acting at home and connecting with actions and intentions is to cold read regularly. Cold reading means reading a scene out loud without prior preparation.

    Without preparation, you’re forced to go with your gut. And the more you trust your gut, the better. Honing your instincts not only makes you a smarter actor, but a more unique actor; since no one has your instincts but you.

    Check out our cold read exercise here and try it with an acting friend! Not only will it open you up to working with intentions, but it will also make memorizing the scene significantly easier than if you just try to memorize the words.

    Cold reading is such a valuable skill and the perfect way to practice acting at home.


    That’s right! Watching movies and tv shows can absolutely be considered acting work. When it’s purposeful, that is.

    Doing research and chilling out are two similar but very different things; Committing time to focusing on the former instead of the later can be a great way to work on your acting at home.

    Need some inspiration? Here are 60 of the best acting performances in film to date:

    • Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” (1972)
    • Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” (2011)
    • Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scotland” (2006)
    • Kumamoto Nanjiani in “The Big Sick” (2017)
    • Daniel Day-Lewis in “Gangs of New York” (2002)
    • Robin Williams in “Dead Poet’s Society” (1989)
    • Denzel Washington in “Cry Freedom” (1987)
    • Misty Upham in “Frozen River” (2008)
    • Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
    • Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2018)
    • Johnny Depp in “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)
    • Angela Bassett in “What’s Love Got To Do Wit It” (1993)
    • Ralph Fiennes in “Schindler’s List” (1993)
    • Viola Davis in “Far From Heaven” (2002)
    • Justin Chon is “Gook” (2017)
    • Al Pacino in “The Godfather: Part II” (1974)
    • Adam Beach in “Smoke Signals” (1995)
    • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (2008)
    • Whoops Goldberg in “The Color Purple” (1985)
    • Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” (2010)
    • Laurence Fishburne in “Boyz n the Hood” (1991)
    • Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump” (1994)
    • Hong Chau in “Driveways” (2019)
    • Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove” (1964)
    • Don Cheadle in “Devil In A Blue Dress” (1995)
    • Gil Mirmingham in “Wind River” (2017)
    • Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man” (1988)
    • Taika Waititi in “Jojo Rabbit” (2019)
    • Ellen Burstyn in “Requiem for a Dream” (2000)
    • Steven Yuen in “Minari” (2020)
    • Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull” (1980)
    • Jamie Foxx in “Collateral” (2004)
    • Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot” (1989)
    • Taraji P. Henson in “Hustle & Flow” (2005)
    • Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon” (1973)
    • Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)
    • Gabrielle Union in “Bring It On” (2000)
    • Irene Bedard in “Pocahontas” (1995)
    • Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman” (1992)
    • Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
    • Rosario Dawson in “Rent” (2005)
    • Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” (1980)
    • Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy” (1969)
    • F. Murray Abraham in “Amadeus” (1984)
    • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote” (2005)
    • Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull” (1980)
    • Meryl Streep in “Sophie’s Choice” (1982)
    • Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scotland” (2006)
    • Dennis Hopper in “Blue Velvet” (1986)
    • Sean Penn in “Mystic River” (2003)
    • Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975)
    • Christian Bale in “American Psycho” (2000)
    • Kevin Spacey in “American Beauty” (1999)
    • Dennis Hopper in “Blue Velvet” (1986)
    • Al Pacino in “Scarface” (1983)
    • Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver” (1976)
    • Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951)
    • Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (2007)
    • Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station” (2013)
    • Charlize Theron in “Monster” (2003)

    Acting solo can be challenging, but not impossible! And practicing acting at home, on your own, can actually be really beneficial for your craft development. Especially when you want to work in film, television and commercials.

    Imagination is EVERYTHING. Yes, when you work on a set, you have other actors to work alongside and connect with during your scenes, but often for camera angles, you’ll be required to play out your scene while looking at a mark on a stand or the camera matte box.

    Spending time in your own space playing out scenes is a fabulous way not only to practice acting at home, but to prepare for any auditions or self tapes you get.

    Pick a scene, download a great line learning app like Line Learner or Rehearsal Pro, and record all the other character’s lines. Then simply walk around your space listening to the scene and playing out your part.

    Imagine EVERYTHING:

    • The environment where the scene is happening
    • The time of day; how the light hits the scene
    • The objects around you
    • What your scene partner(s) look like
    • The look on your scene partner(s) face as the scene progresses

    The more you can engage your imagination, the fuller your scene will become and the easier it will be to tell the journey of the scene.

    Play different actions for different beats of the scene, repeat the scene as many times as you want.

    Spend an hour or two working this acting exercise at home every week and watch your acting skills get sharper and sharper.


    This is the era of the self tape and that means that almost all first round auditions for film, television and commercial projects are shot, edited and emailed off by the actor from the comfort of their home.

    If you’re new to acting, spend some time building your self tape set up so that you can feel confident that you are able to put together professional level self tapes at a moment's notice.

    Just like recording scenes to rehearse to, making self tapes on your own time is a great way to practice acting at home.

    If you’re serious about pursuing a professional acting career, set a goal of putting 2-4 scenes on tape every month and your confidence in your acting will skyrocket.


    World class acting classes are no longer limited to taking place in big film and television industry cities. These days, you can study acting with working professionals from the comfort of your own home.

    What better way to practice acting at home than to take an online acting class?

    The Laura Mac Method acting school has two online programs for actors who are ready to take their passion for acting and turn it into a career - and both allow you to practice acting from home.

    Start with the Foundations program. The most comprehensive acting program on the internet that takes you through every aspect of the working actors life, career and craft development. Complete the program at your own pace and in your own time, through watching video lessons, completing quizzes and homework that will reveal everything you need to become a full time working actor.

    Once you’ve mastered the Foundations, level up your learning with the Academy. A 10 week semester of live acting classes led by two professional coaches with groups of a maximum of 8 actors. These teams become so much more than just acting class buddies, the relationships formed last a lifetime as you learn together and keep each other supported, motivated, confident and connected. The specialized Academy curriculum builds on all the lessons from the Foundations to ensure actors know exactly what to do to reach their acting goals with the plan and support they need to accomplish them.

    To get you started, sign up for the Actor’s Toolkit now and get the first most important lessons for free.

    Acting at home isn’t just for beginners or amateurs, aspiring professional actors and even Hollywood's biggest stars work on their acting from home. So start today!