Dealing with the nerves
One of the things that I am constantly reminding the students is that we, as actors, need to be aware of so many things. "Awareness" is the one word that I I repeat most, in classes.
This weekend we had "skills" classes. With our morning group, we looked at the first edit of their first set of showreel scenes. I asked the students to observe their performances and be honest in their self-appraisal. It proved to be an enlightening session, for this proved to me that their awareness of the technical side of the craft is improving.
One of the moments I would really like them to become aware of, is that moment that the door opens at a casting and the casting director looks around the room. How we appear to the casting director, can have a huge impact upon their impression of us. They are not just deciding on our acting ability, but whether we are going to fit-in, or stick out on a set.
There comes a time when you have to tell people 'how it is' and hope that they have the maturity to accept this. Some of our students will need to think about how they 'come across', when they are sat in 'standby' mode. People will be constantly judging them and an unfortunate idling expression may mean the difference between someone liking you, or not. It's all about awareness.
We chatted about things that we had already covered. It did not surprise me that some of our third term students had all of the correct answers to some of the questions that I asked about, 'How to prepare' for a casting. They know the answers, but when I asked them why they needed to do certain things, they were a bit stumped. Revisiting old ground and reminding students just why we give them certain tools is an important part of the process.
A few years ago, I employed an actress for a whole season, at a theatre in Lancashire. One day, I was directing her in a scene, where she had a rather large monologue. I tried to help her during the rehearsal, to get an understanding of how to break the speech down. I demonstrated a particular technique, to which she replied, "Oh I don't need to do that. I did it at drama school. It was an exercise that we did one day".
In my reply to her, I tried to explain that when you leave your formal training, you leave with a toolkit. Your training has introduced these tools to you and demonstrated how you could use them, should you need them. It is your responsibility to master these tools, if you wish to improve. Certainly, you should utilise them, if you have them. If I am paying someone to be an actor, I expect them to do your homework.
We constantly remind our students that the hard work, sometimes, is proving, at an audition, that you are capable of bringing a performance to the production. The real work begins, before you arrive on set. You don't turn up on set to rehearse. You turn up with your performance and you take direction.
That means that you utilise whatever tools you have, to ensure that you produce a performance that reflects that which is prescribed on the script.
Our afternoon group are half way through their first term. They worked with script, in front of camera, briefly, for the first time on Saturday. They are half way through an exercise, which I will feedback on, once completed.
Until next time...
This is our company Blog, re-capping previous weeks sessions.