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by Evette Henderson

The 3 Things That Can Ruin A Performance are: stress, hesitation and no or lack of commitment to choices. This is your enemy according to many directors.

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If you are stressed about your audition, life in general or your dog suddenly breaking out in red spots (pic above before red spots!)… it’s going to show in your performance (if you let it take over).

The trick is focus and being present. So that when you show up to your audition or on set you are completely present with the casting director, director and rest of the cast. Relate to them. You owe them that. How to do this is the opposite of stress: relax.

Take a few deep breaths to relax your nerves and slow the stress charging around your body before you enter. Focus on the exhale as this is when the diaphragm relaxes and creates a peaceful feeling. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 5, hold for 3 and exhale out your mouth for a count of 5, hold for 3 and repeat the process another 2 times.

If you hesitate in a performance I would put my dog’s life on it that the casting director will notice. And I absolutely love my dog so you know I’m serious. Even for a split second the camera will see. It picks up EVERYTHING! A slight head tilt to the left and suddenly you’re out of frame.

The trick is confidence and strong technical awareness.

Treat the camera like a secret lover. Like someone watching you from afar, their eyes never leaving you, but you daren’t make eye contact in case you get caught.

And confidence, like anything else in life, comes from knowing what to expect while remaining open to ‘anything can happen’. That’s why it’s important to go beyond your comfort zone constantly so that you get comfortable expanding your comfort zone.

Too often I’ve seen actors not make choices let alone clear ones. Trust your instinct! There is no right or wrong in acting, only more effective choices. Effective choices come from your prep work and the rehearsal process. You don’t know if something will work until you go there, so go there! And if it doesn’t work, so what?

Stress, hesitation and non-commitment of choices are a director’s nightmare.

BTW: my dog is okay now! 🙂