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How to Make a Small Acting Role Stand Out

Even the biggest stars started as Background Cowboy Number Three. But they knew how to stand out.


  • Step 1: Pick your moment Figure out when your best chance or chances to stand out will be—lines or interactions with principal characters are ideal, but anything that’s in-focus will do.
  • Step 2: Judge your strengths Judge your own strengths. Do you have expressive eyes? An interesting voice? A commanding physical presence? You’re going to want to make a strong impression, and knowing what to emphasize will help.
  • Step 3: Create a character Create a character. Even if you’re a nameless passerby, give yourself a persona; it will help you become your role.
  • TIP: Be creative with your character, but stay within the director’s boundaries.
  • Step 4: Show enthusiasm Show enthusiasm. That means staying excited, not being irritatingly peppy.
  • Step 5: Stand out in a crowd Act just a little differently than everyone else in the scene. Don’t be distracting, but have a unique mannerism that will draw some attention to you.
  • Step 6: Become your character Think about the back story you’ve created for your role during your big moment; it will help you behave in character.
  • Step 7: Be ready to step in Be ready to step in if something unexpected should happen, especially in a play. Saving a scene during a missed cue or other mishap just may give you the big break you’ve been waiting for.
  • FACT: George Clooney’s first acting role was 'Village Extra' in the 1970s miniseries Centennial.

You Will Need

  • Determination
  • Distinct mannerisms
  • Enthusiasm

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