Gabriel Buzack

Types and Methods of Acting

Today, it seems as though Hollywood has been overtaken by a variety of new
and experimental approaches to acting. Taking a look at Lady Gaga’s press tour for
House of Gucci definitely shows us this; she found the time at almost every interview to
emphasize how she wrote an entire biography for the person she was portraying and
refused to break that character. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker saw a similar approach, with
him immersing himself into the Joker personality even off-set. While this sort of
exaggerated artistry may have been met with some public ridicule, it’s certainly symbolic
of a shift in the acting world. New methods and styles of acting are becoming more
recognizable, and Hollywood has become more receptive to these different takes.
Researching these approaches will allow you to implement these into your personal
performance and set you apart from other aspiring stars.
Meisner Technique

Meisner is one of the most widely taught and recognizable methodological
approaches to acting. Developed by Sanford Meisner and deriving from the older
Stanislavski method, Meisner’s technique emphasizes the actor enveloping themselves
in the environment and actors around them instead of focusing on themselves. His
famous motto, “acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” is a
representation of the philosophy surrounding Meisner. This technique teaches actors to
rely on their instincts and not overthink their choices. Meisner’s style of teaching has
become a massive influence on virtually all actors, and strongly influences what the
world perceives as good acting. The Meisner techniques involve pushing an actor to pull
from either personal or imagined emotional experiences to allow themselves to
authentically portray a role. Practicing Meisner exercises or taking classes can help you
create a more authentic and realistic style of acting.
Stella Adler Technique

Stella Adler was an actress who was a student of Meisner’s herself. She was
later inspired by his teachings to develop upon them and add her own edge and
philosophy. Adler was not a fan of using previous emotional trauma to appear as a good
actress. She thought that being forced to bring up the emotions relating to terrible
events in her life, like her mother’s passing, was unnecessarily cruel and didn’t do much
to make her a better actress. Instead, Adler pushed for a disciplined and detailed study
of a character’s world in order to enter the mind of the character instead of approaching
it from a personal perspective. Adler’s technique involves a lot of textual analysis and
understanding “actions,” which are specific actions taken by the actor to elicit a specific
response. The actor should understand how to read and perform these actions based

Gabriel Buzack

on interactions they have observed in real life. The Adler technique continues to be
massively popular, with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York being one of the
most famous acting schools in the world. Studying this technique is a great option for
disciplined actors interested in an analytical and mindful approach to their
performances.

Uta Hagen Technique

It seems as though each style on this list contradicts the last - and Hagen’s style
is just the same. Hagen was against intellectualizing acting too much and relied on a
more natural approach, drawing on previous Stanislavsky ideas of emotional immersion.
However, like Adler, she also supported more of a focus on reflecting real life
experiences rather than your own previous emotional experiences. She outlines five key
points in acting: substitution, where an actor focuses on finding intersections between
their experiences and the character’s; transference, where one must explore their own
relationship with a character; specificity, emphasizing the use of the actual props that
will be in the environment or making a point of imagining them; authenticity, which also
explored the emphasis on always using props and costumes and other “immersive”
aspects of a scene; and finally, preparation, where she emphasizes a heavy amount of
rehearsal before a performance. Hagen also notably always asked actors how they felt
about their performance, strengthening their voice. If you want a middle ground between
analytical and instinctual approaches to acting that respects the emotional boundaries
of the actor, studying Hagen is the way to go.

Linklater Voice Progression

Kristin Linklater’s developments are some of the newest in the world of acting,
with Linklater being involved in the world of teaching until her recent passing in 2020. As
the name implies, Linklater’s methods involve the voice - relaxing the muscles involved
in speaking, focusing on the sensations of voice production, and improving resonance
and articulation. In fact, Linklater’s methods aren’t only used by actors. People of all
walks of life take Linklater courses to improve their public speaking skills, or even to
work on their confidence and the way they present themselves. The Linklater method is
an excellent learning path for new actors seeking to find their voice, or even just any
person seeking to take control of the way they are seen by the world.

The world of acting is one of huge varieties in style and teaching methods. These
different approaches vary greatly and can have different results. Choosing one of these
methods is all about finding something that makes you feel comfortable and respected
as an actor, and allows you to continue developing your love for the art form as you
become a stronger performer.