A meaningful way of communicating with the audience is through the use of props.
The way you handle an object, the changes you make in the way you handle an object, the way you relate emotionally to a prop – all are enormously effective in communicating ideas to an audience because they are things the audience can see.
What you do can be far more revealing than what you say, because what you do tells the truth about how you are feeling much more accurately than the words you speak. We tend to lie sometimes with words but we always tell the truth with our body language.
As effective as the constructive use of props can be, it is worth noting that when props are used, the actor must be careful that the use of props enhances the moment and does not interrupt the flow of the scene. The constructive use of props can give the audience a real insight into the person handling them, and can help to develop story and character in ways that the spoken word can not effectively do.
Props can be either the actor’s best friend or their worst enemy. Too many actors will instinctively pick up a prop just to keep their hands busy. Using props in this way is not creative and can be confusing for both actor and audience.
Props should always be used to enhance story and character and not simply used as a crutch.
At the Screen Actors Workshop props are incorporated into the majority of on-camera scenes to help students learn how to use them in a constructive and creative way.
One of the most dangerous and difficult props actors regularly use on-set are firearms. The Screen Actors Workshop is the only acting school in Australia that runs an armoury course for actors.
This intensive master class – tutored by one of Sydney’s leading armourers and special effects technicians – is specifically designed to train actors in the safe handling and discharge of a wide range of weapons.
Knowledge is power and a full understanding of the lethal nature of firearms and blanks not only contributes to greater on-set safety but also saves the armourer valuable time as students who have completed the course can immediately handle any weapon issued to them safely and realistically.
Learn how to use props constructively and creatively by taking acting classes.