So I've been taking classes and one of my big problems is "listening". Sometimes I have anxiety and I don't listen to the other person in acting class, it's more like waiting for my turn. For example, we once did an exercise where we had to read sections and I read the same part my partner just read 1 second before without having any idea that he just read it because my anxiety was so bad my mind was totally somewhere else.
I've noticed I do this in real life too. I actually have really bad social anxiety/shyness and find it hard to listen when talking to people in real life; my mind is ALWAYS focused on myself such as "What do I look like" "Do I look ok?" "Why is the other person frowning at me?" "Why aren't they smiling, do they think I'm a retard?". I am pretty much extremely self-conscious and self-focused and have difficulty holding a conversation because I get nervous... And it's hard to pay attention to the other person since people with anxiety are generally focused on their feelings of anxiety.
How do I prevent that from carrying over into acting? I really don't feel like going to therapy. People have told me that I have to learn to be more "comfortable" when it comes to acting. I am so uncomfortable that it shows in my acting on screen and some of my classmates told me I seem "uncomfortable" in real life too, which is true; I always am uncomfortable as ME and as a result I avoid talking to others, dating, making friends etc.
How do I let that not show in my acting? I'm ok with being the way I am in real life but I just don't want it to show in my acting.
Social anxiety is so annoying. I have it too. It's just a confidence issue. I think you should try "self therapy" and get to know your anxiety deeply. Find out what triggers it. Know it so well, to the point of catching your anxiety attack during associations in real life. When you understand the root of the problem your performances in class will not be effected. For the listening part, pay attention to your 'objectives" during performance. I think you are having a conflict with your self and your character. Figure out what your character's objectives are in the story that you are in. Live it with your scene partner so the audience can see something real. If your still having trouble concentrating, try studying methods on how to read people. You can learn to shift focus and create new habits for your self as a person. You will be more intrigued with the people you are having conversations with. Your thought process will be more about them, thus creating a nice balance on attention with in your self and the people you are communicating with. For performances, do breathing exercises alone before you get in front of the lenses so you will not look uncomfortable next time. hope these suggestion help....
For acting at least, a Meisner class or an improv class will do you good. You need to be able to take the focus off of yourself and onto the other person.
I already took improv at Second City and it didn't help at all to be honest...
For Meisner, do you recommend a non-scene study but more focused on activities like Playhouse West (door activities and repetition) for someone with my issues?
Even those Meisner based on camera classes are fine
You want to take the focus off yourself.
There are some help books that help me. Take a look at some of those. They helped me. I don't know how, but they did.
The other one help me when I became a Christian I learn to think for others and not think for me.
Or get a note book and write down how you feel. I say take one night. Go for 6 hours by yourself. Get a pen and a note book. (CVS brand college note book) and let your mind write out everything. This might take a long time. Ignore any grammar errors. Just write it out. Let it flow like water. As you write this, you see you and than you will start to see yourself as a friend who knows you well. And you start to see things about yourself which will wake you up.
Don't stop writing. Stop when you need to go to the bathroom. No music. SILENCE! Just let your mind spill it all out like water coming out of a faucet.
And you learn the only person to talk to about your problems is...get this...YOU!
For the brain.
You got power to tell to stop. Practice it every day. Go..."Hold on, brain don't do that." you find a place to say it out loud alone. The mind listens. You feed it. So tell to stop. There was a good book where I learn that you meditate and you picture yourself hugging your brain. And when it starts to get worry or think I tell to shut up. I am here with you we are together not seperate. We are a team..Sh..
And you got to stop BAD habits and replace with NEW habits. It takes time, but you get there!
This is a big issue lately for me especially when you been smoking as long as i have.I don't smoke anymore but from time to time i still get the anxiety of withdrawals.Anyways one thing i learn which seems to help me is .Learn to ground yourself put focus in your body.Get outside of your head.Ground your energy as some one told me feel your feet.
Next time your alone clap your hands together then rub them together for a short while.No more then maybe 6 seconds.Then slowly pull them away till there about and inch or two apart.Your going to feel a tingly feeling .That's your energy in your and my case thats your anxiety.When you sit down or stand your looking for that same feeling.
"Feel your feet" plant those puppies firmly on the ground.it's not easy but it's not impossible either .Also your killing two birds with one stone.Grounding also helps develop presence hope this helps .Let me know if it's something that works for you .
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