20 Difficult Independent Activities in Acting

Difficult Independent Activities in acting

Difficult Independent Activities build acting talent. Difficulty builds concentration and focus. Doing in acting involves interaction. Interaction with your independent activity builds your concentration. Adding Emotional Preparation to your activity intensifies your focus and trains you as an Actor. You can rehearse alone by doing Emotional Preparation with Independent Activities. The key is to make your emotion have interaction with your Independent Activity.

Copyright 2022 – 2023 Simon Blake

Some Quotes that are in this article:
Feelings that are not deep enough have not yet become emotions.
“Adding difficulty that is unattainable is a pointless feat.”
” The key in success is in motivation.”

– Simon Blake

20 Difficult Independent Activities in Acting classes

Difficult Activities Build Talent

Difficult Independent Activities

Structuring your Difficult Independent Activities in acting with both physical and emotional difficulty will ensure the achievement of difficulty in your acting work. Being careful not to include too much difficulty is part of learning the craft of acting.

Once the achievement of difficulty is added to the acting Independent Activity the addition of a person knocking on the door commences. This of course adds even more difficulty to the Actor doing the activity.

There is a craft in achieving difficulty that is truthfully difficult yet not so difficult that it is unachievable.

Copyright 2021 Simon Blake


The other incredible note to remember is there is no expectation of any external distraction when doing Difficult Independent Activities. It is entirely realistic that an unexpected distraction occurs and is the baseline to start to achieve the acting exercise. Any expectation that an Actor has that they will expect a knock at the door is a failing in the work at their acting.

Independent Activities are vital aspects of Doing and Involvement. It is not about being able to adjust the difficulty to what is the expected distraction but adjust the difficulty to what is realistic to be achieving without distraction.

Some Quotes that are in this article:
Feelings that are not deep enough have not yet become emotions.
“Adding difficulty that is unattainable is a pointless feat.”
” The key in success is in motivation.”

How Acting is Built Upon

Many acting classes use Difficult Independent Activities as an acting exercise. This includes a list of difficult Independent Activities and how to construct them. One persons difficulty might be another persons ease, so each individual must work at what is difficult for themselves personally in order to achieve Difficult Independent Activities.

The history spans back to the ‘In’s and Out’s’ and Doors and Activities of Meisner over 60 years ago. Understanding how to add Difficulty to your work is an achievable process that can use both emotion or physicality to achieve.

Today many variations of In’s and Out’s are taught with the name often being titled Difficult Independent Activities and Door and Activities exercises. In my own language I call the work the Being and the Doing exercise. There is a person outside being affected emotionally and a person inside involved in a Doing.

Adding difficulty that is unattainable is a pointless feat. Being able to tangibly achieve the Difficult Independent Activity is key. Another key to success is in the motivation. You will not be able to have truthful motivation if you do not have a realistic ability to achieve it.

Difficult Independent Activities dancing move

What makes Independent Activities Difficult

There are two main types of difficulties that are typically used in acting. Physical and Emotional difficulty. The issue with Emotional difficulty is that it is often hard to be seen. It takes learning a lot of emotional aspects to be able to put them into acting.

Some people have life emotional lessons that they have lived that are very easy for them to put into acting. This will often come at a time that is ready for their expressing those difficulty and the involvement of the doing exercise of Independent Activities is key to their expression.

Involvement in Independent Activities can sometimes help to release emotion in life that needed a place to express itself. It may be that the Actor or acting student finally gets a place to express themselves and difficult life expression finally has a place to expel.

Most people when attempting to use Emotional Difficulty attempt to use feelings that are not deep enough. Feelings that are not deep enough if they have not yet become emotions.

What makes Independent Activities is sometimes the activities themselves. Sometimes the action of getting in front of a small audience is the major difficulty for the Actor to overcome. This is part of the reality of what makes Activities difficult.

At first overcoming nerves is a key. Later the work actually working to achieve emotionality brings out more difficulty within the exercise.

Adding Physical Difficulty

Physical Difficult Independent Activities are not activities that are impossible to achieve. Difficulty needs to be possible and a tangible result needs to be tangible to achieve.

Effort to achieve the Independent Activity is not a faked event.

You want to achieve the physical difficulty by involving yourself with your own interest. Placing your attention on doing something that you have no interest is an added difficulty but not advise-able in the beginning.

Physical Difficulty could be threading a needle without glasses.

Check out the:
900+ Independent Activities List to use for your acting.
518 Emotions List – To Use to Organize your Acting and Emotional Preparations

Adding Emotional Difficulty

Adding emotional difficulty is simple at first and becomes Emotional Preparation.

Emotional Preparation is the putting of emotions into the work of acting. When a feeling becomes deep it changes to become an emotion.

At first in the work of acting adding emotion is nothing more than adding a feeling to the acting. The Difficulty is that many feelings are not lasting so they often don’t get into your acting.

The key to adding emotional difficulty is to add emotion rather than a feeling.

If you need to start with adding a feeling or an inclination you can do so with results. Guaranteeing results is the major aim in acting which takes a learning curve to achieve.


Adding Motivation to Difficult Independent Activities

Adding motivation to difficult Independent Activities is necessary to achieve acting. Motivation is likely the most important quality in acting. What and why you are motivated is the vital connection to your inner emotional life as an Actor.

20 Difficult Independent Activities List

Binding a Book
Getting Stain out of Rug
Blowing up Balloons by mouth
Sanding copper piping
Repairing wicker chair seat
Transcribing notes typing into digital format
Painting using a microglass
Building a Picture Canvas Frame
Stretching painting canvas
re-fabricating cushion seat

changing spoke on a bicycle
hand sewing a patch on a sleeve
chiseling wood shapes
sketching image using alternative hand
engraving initials on electronic
de-linting a pile of clothing
sanding a walking stick
building a boat inside of a bottle
assembling a 3d paper boat
cutting floor tile in half’s

There is an entire list of over 800 – 1000 Independent Activities here.

Copyright 2021, Simon Blake

Comment, Learn and Participate with Simon to explore how to put Emotions into your Acting.


About Simon Blake

Simon Blake has studied OVER 30,000 – 40,000 acting exercises and studied over 8-10++ thousand acting students work in acting. Studying their Emotional Preparation to their Spoon River Work. Studying every area of Meisner training work with well over 30 Teachers including himself.

“Meisner In and Out Exercise, which was later known as Doors and Activities give a basic building blocks to modern day acting”

Don’t Miss the Acting Lists !
Over 900 Meisner Independent Activities
900 + Emotions for Acting List
Acting Exercises List

Simon Blake
Latest posts by Simon Blake (see all)