Hi, my name is Kheira Bey and I am a professional actress living and working in London and the United Kingdom.
Today, I have had the pleasure of training at really amazing establishments such as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Sylvia Young Theatre School. And I’ve also had the pleasure of selling out really amazing theaters in London such as the Kingshead Theatre, Arcola Theatre and Pleasance Theatre.
And so now I am going to be providing general advice to other actors about how to learn lines really quickly, how to choose your first headshot photographer, and also how to earn more money to facilitate your acting career.
3 Tips for Memorizing Lines
Firstly, I know that learning lines is probably the most boring and possibly even stressful part of an actor’s job. Especially when you have less than 24 hours to learn a script or in my case I know I have had to learn 18 pages of dialogue and I was given the script at 8:00 p.m. in the evening and then had to audition at 7:00 a.m. the next morning in a Persian accent and I didn’t even know what a Persian accent was. And I had to learn how to do it.
I think actors should always be reading whether this is books, plays, magazines, newspaper articles just because every time you do that you are really strengthening the muscles up here because you are retaining all of that information in such a condensed amount. So then when you are actually faced with a script (a whole new piece of text) those muscles are stronger and more stimulated. So it’s kind of easier to absorb those lines more quickly.
And also the second part of reading for character preparation, I will read everything in order to get in character for a role. This might be radio pieces, recounts, diary entries (if I’m doing something really historical) or anything really? Like at the moment in my room at home I have fashion magazines from Russia (like replica ones) because I was trying to get into character for a Russian girl like last week. So I have that and if you’re more engaged with the kind of world you’re trying to create the lines kind to sink in a bit easier because you’re owning them in your own way and you’re just more connected to them.
The last way I like to learn lines is by focusing on movement memory and muscle memory and kind of trying to challenge myself to think how many ways I can learn my lines and get that into my body so it can be by whispering them, shouting them, singing them, writing them all the way out, doing them in as many accents as I can and doing them as if I’m talking to a child or like a really, really old person just so that I am getting really into my body. So that my body will know how to do the lines when my mind forgets or I’m really tired and can’t forget.
4 Tips On Finding The Right Headshot Photographer
Next I’m going to be talking about headshots. So headshots are like this size [motions in a frame around face] and they are really important because they get you in the room. So first piece of advice like I understand is they are really expensive for what they probably are, but do not scrimp on headshots. And so when you are going about photographers just remember that the casting director or director, producer or whoever will be casting from about a hundred thumbnail images all tiled on a computer screen. So if your headshot doesn’t have your eyes sticking out on top of them and they can have a massive screen full of so many people, I mean you’re probably not going to get called in, sorry.
And also secondly when you are choosing your headshot photographer please remember to exhaust all of your research methods. Don’t just Google ‘Headshot Photographer’ and then whatever your city or town is because chances are…yeah…that might be good but why don’t you actually go on an agency website of actors who are actually booking jobs. Have a look at their headshots. Are they interesting, are they engaging, do you want to put them in a room? Then probably save that, save all of the names of the people that interest you and choose whoever you want really.
Next I am going to talk about when I go into a headshot photographer’s website. Okay, they might have loads of famous people they’ve taken pictures of which is great. They are going to have them first because it obviously looks great for them. But did the famous people actually look like you because remember that when you’re purchasing headshots you don’t know in advance what they are going to look like so you’ve got to really estimate what you might end up with at the end of the day.
So if I’m looking at a website and I see loads of male actors that are really famous and standing out, I’m probably going to be a bit like Well, I don’t really see females so I can’t really estimate how myself could be interpreted as so just bear that in mind. Bear in mind that a fashion photographer is amazingly different from a headshot photographer. So you’re not a model, you are an actor during the day, just bear that in mind when you’re choosing your headshot photographer.
Ways To Earn Money While Pursuing An Acting Career
Lastly, if you’re young in your career (like perhaps me) and you’re thinking How on earth am I going to afford all these amazing headshots to get really amazing auditions to also learn lines for? I have some money advice for you because we all need to do something I think on the side. So you probably have a job already, but that doesn’t stretch to extra classes, extra plays, trips to Russia to get into character or Russian museums to get into character. So firstly I want you to kind of think about doing something like, writing or freelance writing or blogging because a lot of actors currently do this and they have blogs where they tell people about what they do and also share their skills and also expertise in their field but a lot of actors don’t actually use Google Adsense or a similar kind of system to put adverts on their sites and make more money out of it that way. So I guess that’s something to kind of think about because that’s free money and you’re not really doing anything in order to get the money so just think about it that way.
Also I know that quite a lot of actors share skills. So it can be teaching, that can be…I like to run workshops for kids. Like I get paid to do that. For me that’s just fun because I don’t really think of it as a job, I just get to just hang around and play games with kids and watch them act, which is really, really fun. And also I know actors that share whatever skills they have so accents, languages, musical instrument skills practically anything and you can also work whenever you want, flexible hours which is great when you’ve kind of got auditions, rehearsals, classes, filming all of that. You can just earn money when you can.
And lastly, I just want you to kind of think about that you can practically do anything for money, so you could be a hair model, you could drive for Uber, you could be a delivery driver, you could be one of those people who literally get paid to take documents from one building to another, there are so many different ways. And really just research and have fun with it.
Kheira Bey is a British actress who has trained with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Sylvia Young Theatre School, amongst learning from many skilled practitioners/tutors. She has had the pleasure of selling out London theatres, such as the Arcola (with her recent work on ‘Smile, Darling’ and ‘Global Female Voices’) and the King’s Head Theatre (with her one woman performance of Suad in ‘Voices From The Deep’). Her career highlight was a five star run of ‘CURSE OF CRANHOLME’, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the Pleasance Theatre, whereby her performance of Winnie was branded ‘delightful’ by the Edinburgh Guide.
Kheira has previously worked with ITV and Disney and amongst the best film schools in Europe. She is delighted to be collaborating with Film Courage Magazine.
CONNECT WITH KHEIRA BEY: