I’m giving away my time FREE… with a mini course of LIVING THE PART. These are acting tutorials for building a living character… Santa or any part you may live!
Class 6… LIVING THE ROLE: Roleplaying as Santa.
In order to be a good Santa, we must not put an act on. We must simply talk and be there in the moment. And in order to be real and fully present, we must learn to trust our instincts, and live moment to moment. Roleplay is a great way to gain trust in your instincts and to build that third eye which will help you to read and understand your audience. Roleplaying helps you to learn to trust your own instincts, as well as helping to develop trust between you and your clients. At any event we are hire to be at, we must count on our own instincts so we may react truthfully to our audience and our partners. We are also counting on and trusting the clients to provide us with information about how they are feeling about the visit so that we are able to respond appropriately. Roleplaying can help build the trust we need in ourselves.
Go on YouTube.com and watch as many videos as you can find with Santa and kids, adults, pets and crowds. Roleplaying or put yourself in the place of that Santa there and repeating the scene. Imagining yourself there as Santa is a great exercise.
Many athletes will imagine themselves running the race, driving the car or bike over the race course. They have even put electros’ on these athletes and recorded what their bodies do while they run through the events for real and then have them do it again in their minds… in their imagination. The body actually will have many of the same readings while they run it through in their minds. There is a lot of research that show you can gain a lot from just running the scenario through your mind again and again. Same thing works with acting. I have done it for years.
Watching videos will gain you the needed trust to do the Santa gig for real. Living the Santa gig over and over again in your mind through Roleplay. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
Roleplaying will help you to enjoy your work as a Santa, and the exercises of watching YouTube videos can help you learn the fine art of reading people, reading body language, learning the right words to say and not say. How to engage with children, adults and even pets.
When you watch a Santa visitation video put on your mentoree hat, look at the video for things you can learn from…
How was the Santa setting up for the visit; was he keeping himself open, by having arms out and up?
Was Santa’s body language one of being welcoming, how would you greet your visitors?
Watch how the visitors react to Santa at first. How did Santa adjust for their comfort zones?
How did Santa handle a crying child? How would you sooth that child and make it welcomed?
What wonderful things did that Santa say to open the child up and get the ball rolling?
Did Santa have a set routine or did it all seem off the cuff… playing it by ear as the visit went on?
Would you have a set script to guide the visit and make it fit the set time you have?
Do the Santa put on a show or keep it informal?
Do you like winging it or do you have prompter notes in a Nice or Naught book?
Maybe a scroll to unroll and have their names and info about them on it?
What can you use from the video to make your Santa visits better?
When you watch the videos of these other Santas make sure you look at the good things they did. We tend to look for only the bad stuff. I want you to learn how to be a better Santa and not get lost in being a critic. Yes, we can learn from a bad Santa too. But, I want you to have a positive experience with roleplaying. The attitude of I can do that better is all good and well… but we don’t allow ourselves to usually grow and learn from that frame of mind.
While you are being the mentoree at this point in your training keep the learning hat on and look for the gems in each video you watch. Stretch your wings and build your voice.
Even after 35 years of acting and entertaining people. I still do roleplaying by watching Videos on YouTube… I still need to remind myself not to be a critic. I tell myself over and over again; be the student, be the mentoree and learn from the video. These exercises should enrich your character development and make that Jolly Old Elf a living 3D human being.
Here are a few more ideas to add to your schooling…
Take an Improv Class.
“Improv” is an extremely helpful tool to expand your active listening skills as Santa. Improv is typically very spontaneous, and it’s not scripted; you just never know what the other person (or people in the scene) will do! If you have not already done so, consider signing up for an improv class near you or online. Improv helped my acting career tremendously in numerous ways, including learning how to listen better and pushing you to get out of that comfort zone.
Online Improv Class.
It’s fun and needed by Santa’s for hire! Improv skills are life skills: listening, connecting and collaboration, helps to maintain flexibility, storytelling, embracing sound risk taking, and building strong resilience. Whether you yearn for the spotlight or just want to get more comfortable in your skin, and nourish a more confident, carefree character actor. I would love to work with you online to awaken the free spirit and set your acting soul free with improv. The online class develops a more comfortable Santa. I have a once a month class where we gather and study story-driven improve methods. My improve style is more focused on the story, and the all-too-human characters as they look out on the all to “real” world and feel its pain, joy and beauty. My improve is not a laugh a moment sketch, but more of a true life moment full of humor, and the power to explore a particular improv skills, such as character development, singing, storytelling, or spontaneity. To improv a slice of life!
Developing and perfecting the skill of listening is essential to your believability in all of your work and relationships. There are several ways to help you to learn how to truly listen. Our ears are certainly not the only way that we listen to each other. We also listen by observing… “non-verbal” forms of communication. A majority of messages that we receive are learned through a person’s body language and not simply the words that they’re saying.
As actors, and as Santa, we must be aware of how to learn to listen to all forms of communication between ourselves and our partner in order for a gig to be genuine and truthful.
Watch YouTube videos on body language, that way you will be able understand what people around you are “really” saying, you will be reading between the lines. This exercise will help you to pay attention to, and listen to, all information that they are sending out. You’ll also benefit tremendously by learning how to “go with the flow” of spontaneity in meeting with your clients.
Paying Attention to ALL of the conversation, by focusing on what’s going on right in front of you, and try to not become distracted.
You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll grow as a person and as an actor by learning how to truly listen. Be an active listener.
YouTube is a fantastic resource for gaining that third eye… the one that senses the scene and moves the energy around to keep the visit on path.
Next… Working with the Physical Voice.