How to become a better actor? Shahili Abdan aka Nam Ron of One Two Jaga and Mencari Rahmat fame has some useful acting tips.
Born on November 21, 1969, in Kangar, Perlis, Nam Ron was initially criticised for being “too woody” when he first began his forays as an actor.
“I was disappointed but then I also found an interest in the performing arts and films and began dabbling as a director, and scriptwriter. This allowed me to improve as a performer,” the 52-year-old told Eksentrika.
Having been active since 1989, Nam Ron has since proven his critics wrong after his film, Crossroads: One Two Jaga, went on to win the Best Director and Best Supporting Actor at the 2019 ASEAN International Film Festival And Awards (AIFFA). Nam Ron’s film also bagged Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Original Story, and even the Best Poster at the 30th Malaysian Film Festival in 2019.
Due to this, Nam Ron has plenty to share when it comes to helping actors and filmmakers better their craft. Here are some of Nam Ron’s acting tips to actors looking to improve.
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Nam Ron advises budding actors to be brutally honest with themselves by asking if they’re indeed talented in acting.
“It’s important to be honest with yourself because when you are, you’ll discover areas that you would need to work on. And if you find that you’re not really a good actor, that’s fine. Because it means that you’re probably destined for something else,” he says, adding that his journey to becoming an actor began with the local performing arts scene in the late 1980s.
“I was criticised because I was extremely “woody”. Due to this, I diverted and began directing and writing scripts for the local Malaysian performing arts scene before venturing into filmmaking.”
The conventional method for actors in this day and age is to acquire a certificate or degree before heading into auditions. While Nam Ron recommends this method, he urges young actors to also hone their talent in the local performing arts scene.
“Start with theatre. Because you won’t require lots of capital to create a production. With theatre, you just need a strong script, cast, and minimal props to bring a story to life.”
Furthermore, Nam Ron says, through theatre, you’ll be able to befriend a diverse range of creatives who can help you become a better actor. By venturing into theatre-making, Nam Ron himself built a better understanding of performing arts as a craft. He met many talented directors, scriptwriters, actors, and filmmakers who he could observe and study to improve.
“Theatre-making will help to strengthen your foundation and understanding of the local art scene. This will be helpful in the long run.”
Nam Ron observed that, while many actors had the interest to perform, many were also inconsistent.
“You need to be performing continuously. You can’t be performing once every two to three years. It has to be on a regular basis because every time you perform, you’ll discover something new about yourself and this will help you improve.”
“You need to figure out where your talents really lie,” Nam Ron says, adding that there could be days you could feel absolutely hopeless.
“You need to trust the process and continue performing regularly. Because even if you’re not naturally gifted, through regular performance and practice, you’ll certainly be better than when you first started.”
The key, Nam Ron says, is to keep experimenting and learning from one’s mistakes.
One of the ways Nam Ron improved himself was by studying other actors.
“Watching films, interacting, and speaking to theatre-makers and filmmakers is important because you’ll learn a lot from them.”
One film he recommends budding actors to watch is Men Who Save the World (Lelaki Harapan Dunia) by Liew Seng Tat.
“It’s one of my favorite films because it shines a light on Malay culture.”