Acting Tips for Overcoming Stuttering in Acting

by Eduardo Angel
(Puerto Rico)

QUESTION:

I've been wrestling for a good 3 years now, had my fair share of championships, and I keep my fighting fresh with multiple martial arts styles (judo, tae-kwon-do, and Isshin-Ryu-Karate mostly). Though my biggest problem has been with my acting. I tend to sss-s-studder when It-tt-ta-ta-talk, and I mumble a lot of my lines. Being nervous is the least of my problems, I actually talk like that... Sorta.

More importantly. After a 6 month sabbath, I've been offered an interview to play a Lawyer turned General Manager (An ACTING ROLE, NOOO!) with the probability of occasional wrestling.

My question is as follows:
Is there any sort of activity I could accomplish in order to surpass my speech problems?
And can someone give me some good advice in how to flesh out my role as a shady lawyer who seems to be pulling the strings? That way I won't blow chunks on the interview. Even costume tips would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

First, if you really want to act, don't let your stuttering get you down. Very successful and famous actors like Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis and James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars) have struggled with stuttering. The good news is that acting helps (actually, some speech therapist recommend acting classes to their patients). That's probably because of the focus and concentration involved, as well as the advantage of having memorized lines.

If you want to tackle your speech problem in the long term, I would recommend looking for a good acting class as well as a speech therapist. In the meantime, you can try these things:

1) Know your lines like the back on your hand when you have an audition so you won't be searching for the words.

2) Try some of the relaxation and concentration exercises listed on our Stanislavski page or method acting page.

3) Read aloud every day, at least for half an hour, focusing on enunciation and clarity. You don't have to read plays or scripts. Just read anything you can get your hands on and your speech will improve with practice.

As far as your upcoming audition is concerned, why not make your character stutter? I don't know anything about the role so this may not work at all, but then again it could bring an interesting dimension to your character if you do it right.

Good luck!



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