If you’ve ever had a fear of public speaking, or even just felt anxious before an audition, then keep reading. I’ll explain how to overcome your nerves and build the confidence necessary to succeed as an actor.
First, understand that nerves are simply a sign that you’re nervous about something — don’t let them control you. Second, find some role models who have succeeded in the acting profession and emulate their techniques. Third, create a plan for overcoming your nerves and stick to it.
Whenever we feel anxious or scared, our bodies release stress hormones in an effort to help us cope. Unfortunately, this response can actually make the situation worse. You might start to sweat, which is a physical response to mentally feeling anxious.
Being a nervous actor can be tough, but it’s also an opportunity to learn and grow. Here are SIX TIPS for overcoming your stage fright:
Identify your triggers. What sets off your anxiety? Is it a person, place, thing or situation? Once you know what causes your anxiety to spike, you can start to tackle the issue head on. My guess, as an actor, is that you feel you won’t act the way the Casting Director wants you to act. Truth is, you really don’t know how they want you to act…they want you to put your own spin on the character. So do that!
Here’s a little more info on anxiety:
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. alone. But what sets off anxiety disorders? And why do they affect some people more than others?
There is no one answer to this question, as anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, environment, and lifestyle choices. However, some of the most common causes of anxiety include stress, fear, and traumatic life events.
Anxiety can also be triggered by certain physical or emotional sensations, such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, or feelings of panic. For some people, simply knowing that these symptoms are associated with anxiety can be enough to set off an episode.
Practice mindfulness. By taking a few deep breaths, you can pause and regain your composure. If you try to do this too often, however, it can become a habit that causes more stress in the long run. Personally, I’ve never found that taking deep breaths helps me calm down, however, I practice mindfulness a different way by thinking about my favorite TV show or a cute puppy running around.
Back to breathing for a moment — anyone who has ever tried to focus on their breathing can attest to the fact that it is not always easy. Our thoughts and worries constantly intrude, overwhelming any attempts at tranquility. Mindfulness is a practice that aims to help us calm and focus our minds. It has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety, improving overall well-being, and even reducing blood pressure. You may have heard of meditation. If you’re not practicing meditation, this is something you may want to look into. There are many different types of meditation. I’ve had many actors tell me they practice Transcendental Meditation, so you may want to start with that.
Focus on three small steps. Instead of trying to conquer mountains, break it down into small tasks. In the same way, you should take a step back and make sure that you’re doing everything that’s necessary in order to prevent an anxiety attack. I often do this when working out. To me, walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes is soooo monotonous. So I break it down into 10 minute sessions. I don’t stop every 10 minutes, I just look at the timer and say to myself, “Oh okay! Just 10 minutes to go!” and I repeat that until the 30 minutes are up.
Visualize success. Think about what you would like to achieve during the performance and visualize yourself achieving it. This will help you stay focused and motivated.
Success is a very personal thing. We all have our own definition of it, and we all visualize it differently. For some, success might mean making a lot of money. For others, it might mean having a happy and fulfilling family life. Still others might define success as becoming famous or achieving a certain level of professional accomplishment.
The important thing is that you figure out what success means to you and then visualize it in as much detail as possible. See yourself accomplishing your goals and imagine the feeling of satisfaction and happiness that comes with them. The more clarity you can bring to your vision of success, the easier it will be to achieve it.
Know your lines. Practice saying the lines out loud a few times before the audition or show. You will get used to saying them and this will also help with timing. There’s not really much more to say on this topic
Know your character. Know who you are playing and be confident in what you are presenting.
There is no one way about the process of getting to know a character as it varies from actor to actor. However, many techniques can be used in order to develop a strong understanding of who a character is and what they want.
One common approach is to create a backstory for the character, including details about their life before the story begins. This can help an actor understand what motivates their character and how they would react in different situations. Additionally, studying the text closely and breaking down the dialogue can give actors clues about their character’s intentions and personality. Ultimately, it’s important for actors to explore as many aspects of their character as possible in order to bring them to life on stage or screen.
So you’ve got some challenges ahead of you, but guess what? There’s also another way to manage and cope with your nerves — create a positive environment for yourself on set by being supportive of your fellow actors and working together as a team. After all, you are acting for fun!
By understanding your own personal triggers and working to manage them, you can turn your nerves into strengths. Remember to stay positive, focus on your goals, and take action. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With a little bit of practice, you can manage your nerves and use them to your advantage.