Question is for everyone; noobs and the experienced.
Do you still get butterflies/nervous when you have to perform in your acting class? Could be a small class like 5 people or 30; doesn't matter.
Do you feel intimidated (and want to hide) when you see actors in your class that you feel are way better than you?
I always get nervous on the very first class. I also get nervous during auditions as well. I try to not think of it as a negative thing though, but more like "Hey, Im alive, and I'm following my dreams".
Just tell yourself that you'll be fine, theirs nothing to worry about. You're not going to die, and if the other actors think badly of you, then you can tell them to suck it :P
"As a man thinketh, so he is."
Act "AS IF" you are confident.
Or, as my teacher said, 'fake it til you make it.'
Who am I trying to impress? No one. This is my place to fuck up so I don't in the real world.
I used to confuse being nervous with being excited.
It is like a sporting event, you hear all the great athletes say if you don't get butterflies or a rush of excitement before, then they settle in an deliver. Many say when they don't have that feeling, they lost the love for the game.
Best advice I hear is acknowledge the emotion you are feeling, focus and use it to drive your scene.
I've found that I only tend to get nervous if I'm focused on what someone else (the auditor, other students, the teacher) is thinking. If I'm focused on my own goals (building the character, making stronger, more interesting choices, etc), I'm never nervous and it goes back to being fun. It's that old thing about doing doing instead of showing: do the work instead of worrying about what you're showing to others.
Of course, that's easier said than done, right?
Anxiety comes from wanting something from others, it can be anything from approval, acceptance or any other random thing. You have to change your mindset, and stop the but I'm shy or that's how I've always been nonsense. You are what you think and if you keep thinking that you're shy or that you always get nervous then you keep reinforcing that behavior. Each morning when you wake up and at bed time tell yourself, that you never get anxious when performing a scene and that you always naturally radiate confidence, do this before you perform the scene as well. Continually doing this will penetrate it into your subconscious, it may seem crazy, but let's face it you already do this when you think to yourself, I'm going to get nervous or I always get nervous before a scene, and then the night before doing the scene you find yourself repeating that same thought, I know I'm rambling on but yeah, reverse your mindset, truly believe otherwise you'll be stuck in that nervous cycle forever. You cannot just fake not getting nervous, and remember to apply this to your regular life as well. One last thing, don't walk into the room wanting stuff, that's not what this is about, don't walk in there wanting to be liked, or accepted, or whatever else pops into your head, just focus on the scene, the rest just falls into place, people are naturally attracted to confident people.
My anxiety mainly comes from wanting approval from my peers and afraid of being judged. I never outgrew that high school mentality event though I'm much older now. I have heard some people say that they are MORE afraid of performing in front of their peers than at an audition because they feel that their peers are more judgmental. That's not my opinion but I have heard other people express it.
I am also curious how anxiety in real life can seep into acting as well. I think Anthony Meindl is a bit of the belief that you need to fix certain things in your life because they overlap in acting. I'm not taking his class btw but I feel like this can be true.
I actually have very bad social anxiety in real life; I feel uncomfortable even talking to classmates in acting class, making friends, even distant family members like aunts/uncles etc. I don't even date because I do not want to talk or eat in front of a guy I am extremely attracted to. So in a way it could be reality affecting my acting.
However, I'm actually ok with having anxiety in real life and don't feel a need to fix it as long as I can overcome it in acting.
My teacher told me that if I REALLY create the story in my mind and am really immersed into it then all the self-consciousness should go away; it's only there because I am self-focused. (I am also VERY self-focused in real life). So hopefully it will go away once I become better at using my imagination since my character obviously not be thinking the same thoughts as me.
Jackie, after reading this, I have to respectfully ask, Is this business for you? Acting is about more than memorizing words off a paper. its also about bringing some of your own personality to the character.
And no matter how good you may be at carrying out material, the people who pull the strings, ie THE CD's, directors, producers; actually have to like you as if you're someone they would want to be friends with, or at least someone they wanna have a conversation with. Thats all this town really become after while, producers running around making movies with their friends.
If you're as introverted as you say, and you give off that vibe, nobody thats a shotcaller is gonna mess with you. They'll say "not a bad actress, but weird. Whose next?"
"I actually have very bad social anxiety in real life; I feel uncomfortable even talking to classmates in acting class, making friends, even distant family members like aunts/uncles etc. I don't even date because I do not want to talk or eat in front of a guy I am extremely attracted to. So in a way it could be reality affecting my acting."
How would it not affect your acting? Acting is more than simply portraying a character and saying lines. Acting is a collaborative process where you audition, sometimes multiple times, where you talk to other actors, producers, the director, and then you go on and talk to even more people about the film. People naturally enjoy the company of people that they are able to share experiences with.
But put what I said to the side, and let's just focus on the actual acting. If you're nervous in front of your peers, you're probably even more nervous auditioning, and even more so someday in front of a camera. I don't think you should ever send those energies into the character as some people like to preach, because if the character is not nervous then I don't want that anywhere near me. If in the scene I'm talking to my father about my mother's death, and I walk into the scene/audition nervous and shy, and then somehow try to spin that into the character, I'll just have a sick mess on my hands because I'm not focused in the moment and feeling the characters thoughts. Yes the character may be nervous about the uncertain future, but it needs to come from a genuine place, and not because I'm nervous. Do you see how silly that sounds, this whole nervousness and anxiety thing? How beautiful is it to remove yourself from the equation and produce artistry, yes there is a part of ourselves in the character, you are the character, the way you'll cry or the way you remember your mother (imagination/substitution whatever works for you) etc... but that only come's from someone who has full control over their body (our instrument) and comes from a clean state of mind and not from someone who walks in the room overly anxious. There's excitement and then there is anxiousness as someone mentioned in a post above. I think people sometimes confuse the two, excitement is more like I've prepared and now I'm just ecstatic over what I may produce. Anxiety is I've prepared but let me throw that out the window because I care about what these strangers think about me and I only live once but who cares, I want to remain a prisoner in my own skin forever.
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner” Lao Tzu
I apologize if went on and on, but part of the reason I love acting is because I'm consumed by human behavior, it's fascinating. Work on yourself and your acting will benefit. If you need more precise ways to tackle your anxiety, or stress send me a pm. I've read so many books on the most random stuff LOL and did read some on positivism and other stuff that will help.
Regardless a quick tip, is that anxiety and stress like I said comes from wanting something from people. You admitted that you want approval and that you're afraid of being judged. You need to get over that state of mind. Acting or no acting, no one should live a life afraid to be themselves. Either you live life trying to please people, trying to please strangers who probably could to be honest care less, or you could be yourself. That to me is insanity, this whole I'm not going to be myself because I must please the world. If they judge let them judge.
I hope this mess of words, somehow helps. LOL I need the grammar police up in here, some atrocities surely must have been committed. Haha!!
I love this!!
To answer the topic, I think the only time I was ever nervous in a class, was my very first class since I didnt know what to expect, but after that and to this day, nope, not nervous.
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