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How to… develop presence as an actor

Richard Stephenson Winter. Photo: Philip Hunton
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1. Identity

Having presence on stage and screen as well as creating a wider awareness of you as an actor is a subjective thing, but for me it comes down to three simple principles. The first and most fundamental is identity. Fully own your ‘type’, but also develop a clear understanding of who you are as an actor, what you bring to acting, what makes you stand out from other actors in your casting bracket and, most importantly, why.

2. Selectivity

Less is always more, both in your performances and in your career. Only submit for roles that best allow you to demonstrate your unique identity. Network deliberately with a view to establishing a unity of purpose with fellow creatives, be they writers, directors or other actors who understand how your identity can bring characters to life and help you create work that builds on this identity.

3. Consistency

Your media content – social and otherwise – should consistently demonstrate your identity. This begins with your headshot, includes your showreel and continues with social media. Use the same selectivity with which you select your other collaborations. Find a photographer that fully ‘gets’ your identity and can capture it in a single photograph. In terms of scripts and production, your showreel material should also adhere to the three principles of identity, selectivity and consistency. Your headshot is the most important element: if it does not perform its role – to instantly transmit your presence – any casting director will simply swipe forward without looking at anything else.

Richard Stephenson Winter, known in the profession as ‘the Major’ and shortly to be featured in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, was talking to John Byrne

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