Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Is Love? (And What does it have to do with Acting?)

The term "acting" seems to have a negative connotation.  The best actors do what all actors want to be able to do: Stay in the moment; deliver powerful performances; wow the audience.  As theater-goers we love to witness it, as actors we train long and hard to learn how to deliver it.

So where does love come in?  When you recognize the actor's job is not to trick or deceive, but rather to engage through honesty, dynamic energy, and vulnerability, then you are getting close to what it means to be a really good actor.  You begin to realize the enormous and challenging responsibility, and the incredible opportunity, of being a truly fine actor.  You start to be able to uncover and define that draw, that compulsion, that drug-like magnetism that is acting.

You still didn't answer my question.

Oh, right: What's love got to do with it?  Several things.

When you are in love—or even when you think you're in love—you put your best foot forward, right?  And when you get more relaxed around the person, you feel free to let down your guard.  Or maybe the thing that hits you over the head like a ton of bricks is when you realize you don't have to put your best foot forward when you are with this person.  Maybe her presence affects you so tremendously you are automatically the best you.  You don't have to try.  She lifts you up and you are just...plugged into each other.

Okay, so that's the first way love is like acting: Your energy is so up and pure that you respond honestly and fully, moment-to-moment, in each other's presence.

The second way love is like acting is the way it focuses you.  She is all you think about.  You don't need food (until you are starving), you don't need sleep (until you are exhausted).  Love seems to charge you up and drain you at the same time; it drives you forward and it can knock you off your feet. 

Thirdly (and perhaps most importantly), isn't just about everything you do about love?

This is gold for the actor.  Think about it: Behind virtually every scene in nearly every play—even in the midst of those knock-down drag-out screaming-at-each-other scenes—it all comes down to that one thing.  It's all about love.

So, dear actors, try that the next time you work on that scene, especially one that seems to be about anything except love.  Talk about playing opposites!  In fact, pick one place—one instant when the other actor is not looking at you—when you can let the audience see you thinking I love you so much—then cover it again; shield and protect yourself, and proceed.

Until next time, here's to your empowerment!

—Tom

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I QUIT! Which Actor Dream Killer is to Blame?

A Break from Acting for the Wrong Reasons

I wouldn't read this if I were you.  You might not like what you find.  Then again...you might just be inspired to dive right back in.

So goes the seemingly endless paradox that is acting.  No matter what (or who) killed it for you, you are most assuredly running away from the wrong thing. 

What was the last straw for you?  Was it the endless auditioning?  Was it the fanatical director?  Backstage drama?  Theatre politics?  Who or what was it that sucked the creative blood out of your soul to such an extent that you made the decision to wrap your creative self into a blanket, tie weights around it, and plunge it into the nearest river?  Ah-HA!!  YOU did it!  All sadness aside, maybe it was simply the nonpracticality of an acting career with spouse and kids.


You Are HERE
 

So where are you right now?  Not asking about which room in your house.  I'm just wondering if you are
- On the brink of stepping out;
- 40 years out of it, toying with the idea of What Might Have Been;
- Feeling the ache to get back into it harder to deal with; or
- Still in it, and painfully close to "taking a break" from search for the Big Break.

Well, maybe

(stick with me here)

just maybe

I can help.

Come with me over here for a moment.  I want to show you something.

Look, an exploding heart.  Oops!  Sorry, I should have warned you.  But the truth is sports writers, backed by leading scientists and medical experts, agreed the human heart would most certainly explode if a human were even able to force his body to run one mile in less than four minutes.  As human beings we simply are not built (and therefore not capable) of achieving such a feat. 

So it was thought in until 1954, anyway.  But Englishman Roger Bannister knew in his heart--er, um, somehow knew he could accomplish it.

Think about this for a second: Up until that time, no one on the planet had ever done such a thing.

Yet, after Sir Roger Bannister broke this "unbreakable" record in May of 1954, he broke his own record about two months later. 

And guess what?  Numerous others were suddenly able to do the same thing.

Why?  What changed? 

Quite simply, Sir Roger Bannister changed our minds for us.  What was it Einstein said?  "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."


If you'll allow me to rephrase it: 
Your world, including your present set of circumstances, is a product of your thinking.  If you want to change your circumstances, you must change your thinking.
 

What the hell are you saying, Tom--that this is all MY FAULT?

Hey, don't blame me. I warned you not to read this.  Rather than "fault," how about use the word "responsibility."

Look, we can argue about the degree to which each of us creates his own reality, but that's not the point.  Frankly, it doesn't matter so much who is to blame for getting you where you are.  What matters is what you will do about it.

Your Key to the Door Back In

You've read this far, so you might as well read what I have for you, right?  After all, even if I had the power to do so, I am not going to brainwash you; I am not going to take anything away from you.  So read on, my friend, and chew on this for a bit.

Do this.  


Pretend just for a moment that what you are about to read is the truth.  Even if you initially bulk at it, swallow it for now.  Deal?

The thing likely out of kilter in terms of your Acting life is your definition of Success.

How easily are you able to--right now--speak or write a fluid sentence that describes your definition of success?


Wait--don't let your eyes glaze over.  Here, this will help:
You are a multibillionaire.  That's right, you have something in the neighborhood of $45 billion dollars.  All yours.  Ta-da!  After you quit your crappy job, travel around the world, buy all the luxuries and niceties that make living easier and more enjoyable, etc., well... you have to do something that means something.

There.  Since you are no longer hampered (stay with me here) by the need to make money to live, WHAT NOW IS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?

Forget the fact that some of you are still stuck on having so much money (the guilt; arguing with the Practical Mind; feelings of self loathing or helplessness, whatever).  Just let that be a given that money is no object.  Period.  


That being the case, what ultimately is your definition of success?

You see, the fact is you might very well have been living someone else's expectations.  After all, do you really want to be a movie star?  Is Broadway "it" for you?  Come on, what is it YOU want to do that will make a difference?

Yes, you did lose something.  Or lost sight of something.  And it's easy to assign blame on a person, people, situation, circumstance.  The truth is, those things only serve to reinforce the doubt and fear that are a natural part of the human experience.  So don't focus on "fault" but rather on the responsibility you have to your true self, your higher Self.

Reason for the Dream

It is one of the other great paradoxical facets of acting: On the one hand you want to escape yourself (I just love being somebody else); on the other hand...

All You Have Is YOU.

Yup.  Sorry.  You cannot be somebody else.  So stop looking on YouTube for how someone else did the role.  Trust yourSelf, your past experiences (as limited as you might think them), trust everything that is a part of you--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.  All of that makes up your ego, so never check it at the door.  It is your egotism you want to check at the door.

Now, it is true that once you embrace who you are, it is quite possible for you to appear to be somebody else.  And I don't necessarily mean because of makeup and costume.  After all, it has been your experience that one actor can wear a mask and completely transform himself while another actor can be readily identified in spite of an entire get-up. 

And yes, it is easier for some actors to play roles quite the opposite of themselves, while others find it so much easier to be type-cast.

Whatever and whomever it is that threatens to keep you at bay, when you identify what really gets you jazzed... once you can pinpoint the part of the art that fires you up... the easier it will be to achieve the dream.  So don't blame anyone else.  Look, you were very probably so excited about getting on the bus, you did not even notice the ticket you bought.  No wonder you ended up here. 

Knowing what you now know, it is time to be brave enough to move forward with what you have. 

And beware: It is so easy to get caught up in all the "things" you'll need.

Everything you need, you already have.  "Yay! I don't need any training!"  Well, okay, no, I didn't mean that.  Look, if you need to take a class and get some training--fine.  Once you know that and go for it, the money will fall into place.  All I mean is do not get caught up in the myth that you have to be in X city to be "discovered."  Remember: Identify the Dream, your Dream.  


You can only truly give of yourself when you own who you are.  And at that point, my friend, the stepping stones--no matter how far it seems you are from reaching the dream--you will be constantly creating the right time and the right place.  You just won't be able to see the path until you've reached that point.

Always go back to basics:  

  • What do I love?  
  • What is important?  
  • How will I give?  
  • What do I value?
Oh, and about the money thing... If you have guilt around getting paid for your art, get over it.  Some things are worth volunteering for.  Some art is worth giving away.  What you have to give is unique and incredibly valuable.  It is not a bad thing to enrich your bank account while enriching your life. 

Remember: The more you enrich yourSelf, the more of You you have to give.

Here's to your Empowerment.

--Tom
Change the way you Think
Change the way you Act

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It Is What's Keeping You Down

or Why Did EmpoweredActor Go Away?

Well, first of all, although EmpoweredActor.com has been dormant for quite some time, it never really went away.  In fact...sheesh, I can't believe it's been so long.  I would swear to God it has not been eight years since Empowered Actor began to take shape.  Some of it is almost like a slow-motion car wreck--well, no; that's not fair.  So much of it was good... Good lord, I take back the car wreck comment. 

But wait... This article is more about you than me, as promised in the headline.  The answer to the sub-headline can wait.  Now understand something: At this writing in the middle of April 2014 there are a whopping 14 "Members" of this so-called blog.  That fact alone threatens to prompt me to hit the X to close the browser and just go back into hibernation.

And THAT's what's been keeping you from doing what you need to do.  Make no mistake, it is Fear you allow to knock you off track.  


It can seem reassuring to wrap yourself in the cold comfort that a circumstance, situation, or another person is the cause for your place in the scheme of things (You Are Here).  I invite you to drop that wet blanket, and come with me.

It's ironic (and telling), but the last article I wrote here (...Or Will You Be Crushed?)  portends exactly the darkness I was to enter.  Damn, I thought I was headed upward.  The challenge I speak of in the article is the Challenge of Self.  "It's scary stepping up to the calling in your life," I wrote.  But you are still reading because you want to know how to get out of your own way.

Ah, well, the answer is deceptively simple.  Uh, or deceptively hard.  Boy...it's difficult to say, it's... well, deceptive.  Okay, well, I suppose it's both.  Yes, it's a paradox.  It is an ongoing struggle because, again, it is the Challenge of Self.  You can only get out of your way by responding to that call within.  To ignore it or try to fight it off only invites disease.  But to respond to the call, you have to be able to hear it.  I think so many people have boarded up access to their calling long ago. 

Now...for those who can hear the call, how muffled and distorted is it?  I mean, you might think you're listening to the right voice but--oh, there's the rub: Do I hear the voice of my Higher Self, or is it...just...me?  Wait, huh?  Ugh...

Yes, it is difficult to tell sometimes whether you are responding to intuition, or if you've just gotten really good at fooling yourself.

But keep searching.  And learn to listen to the voice that you may learn to distinguish.  Your clarity and understanding will come in waves, along with the fog and darkness of self-deception.  Literally, I suggest you track the "suggestions" you get from within as they come, as well as whether you followed or didn't heed its advice.  This manner of tracking and reflection will rapidly boost your ability to discern.

How the hell does this tie to acting?  


Are you serious?  All right, then.
 
Cast as Warboys in Miss Maxwell's Spider Web, a play performed at the National Archives once upon a time, I received one of my greatest acting lessons.  I was to enter downstage right and confidently toss my hat successfully all the way to the upstage left coat rack.  Well, through rehearsals and performances I never made it.  I didn't practice enough (I was apparently afraid to) and consistently stayed firmly planted in my own way.

Until one night.

I entered as usual (doing what I believed was acting) and ran smack into myself.  I tossed the hat.  And made it.  And I was stunned.  You know, I mean, it was really effortless.  Well, the true and spontaneous delight of the audience was a reflection of the blatant honesty of my surprise.  In the magic of that oh-so-brief moment, the audience knew...everything.  They knew: 1) I was supposed to have done this every performance; 2) Until now I had never achieved this goal--in fact, they knew I had resigned myself to never making it; and 3)They had witnessed My First Time.

Yes (and remember this), all of that was conveyed in such a brief moment by the power of honesty.  


I tried to cover it up, of course--the honesty of my surprise, that is.  But it was no use, the truth had been revealed.  Unfortunately for the audience, the magic of theatre was over for the night.  I went right back to doing what I thought was acting.  (It is my cold comfort to tell you the rest of the cast did the same.)

Still not clear?  Still not sure what "It" is in this article title?


It's all they want, my friends.  It is that thing you keep turning away from.  It is you.  They have come to see you, you know.  You, not some mask of your oh-so-creative construction.  They just want to see you, honest and vibrantly alive.  For only in seeing you can they hope to catch a glimpse of themselves, which is why we go to the theatre.  And it is, of course, why you are in theatre: to find out who you are.  

So don't fool yourself that you get to be somebody else on stage.  Sure, it can be fun to dazzle everyone with glitter, smoke and mirrors--and there is nothing wrong with that.  The lights can be so beautiful, so mesmerizing.  But nothing -- Nothing -- can outshine the light of you doing what you were meant to do.

So please tell me: Why on earth would you want to be anyone else?


--Tom

Copyright (c) 2014 Tom Brooks.  All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leadership Lessons from the Goose (The How & Why of DragonukConnects)

By Brian Dragonuk 

Reprinted with permission for EmpoweredActor.com


Those of you who have been around for a while know the story (a little bit) but I want everyone to understand this.

In July of 1999, I was faced with my full time job closing its doors for good.  I had about two months of vacation/sick leave, personal days, etc.  Companies are not known for sending checks to people after they go bankrupt so I started looking for a way to earn money while taking the time I was owed and building a bank account -– just in case it took a while to find new employment.

So at age 47 I went to the open call for “The Replacements,” was hired for three weeks, stayed three months, used all the time I had saved up, and banked two full-time employment checks each week while I could. I spent 43 (working) days on that 1st set with between 300-400 Other “Extras” each day (I later learned 15,000 Different Actors worked 1 or more paid days on that set as Extras). While other “Veteran” Actors were quick to Brag about other jobs they had completed almost NONE would tell you “How they found that job”, “Where they learned their Skills” Etc. The Veteran Actors were So Afraid of competition that 1 even had a list of the “Scam Agents” and sent new people directly to them so they would get burned and quit the business.

Today, DragonukConnects is the Outgrowth of My Plan (Formed on that set) to Provide Free or Very Low Cost, High Quality Information to Everyone & Anyone that wants it – Every job /Audition notice, Training session, Networking Event that I can find information on – Is passed on to EVERYONE that wants it.

You have the Choice of Deleting that Information or taking advantage of it.

And Now the Goose

What follows is something I have seen many times in many forms. I have seen it mostly attributed to Robert McNeish, (former Assoc. Superintendent of Baltimore Public Schools) but it is also attributed to others as well. I Have Added “The DragonukConnects Connection” After each of his Points

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
The DragonukConnects Connection – I have said from the very beginning we are Stronger as a Group – Helping each other Grow, Pushing those ahead of us Upward and Growing ourselves into the space they leave behind. IF WE DON'T HELP EACH OTHER – NO ONE ELSE WILL EITHER

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to takeadvantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
The DragonukConnects Connection – I have said from the very beginning we are Stronger as a Group – Helping each other Grow, Pushing those ahead of us Upward and Growing ourselves into the space they leave behind. IF WE DON'T HELP EACH OTHER – NO ONE ELSE WILL EITHER

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
DragonukConnects is set up as a Networking Community Where EACH of you can contribute and “Lead The Flock”, From the Invites You can send to other Actors so they can join the Group – To your being able and Asked to Post any Jobs/auditions, Training sessions, networking Events you are part of and sending me Information about things that Might be useful in the Resource section.

Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
DragonukConnects has Always Tried to post every major Accomplishment any Actor or Crew Member has achieved. We post Complete Cast & Crew Lists for Every project we can, We encourage EVERYONE to Attend Premiers & Show Openings and Support Each other WHENEVER POSSIBLE

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another
formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

To me, this is 1 of the Most Important Functions of DragonukConnects. It was Established Far earlier then my own personal Battles with Leukemia, the 8 Months of Failed Chemo that led to the Hospitalization, More Chemo, Radiation, Stem Cell Transplant, Immune System Antibody Transplant, and Multiple Eye Surgeries to repair the Chemo damage that have happened over the last 5 years. Your Cards & Visits meant a lot to me and were a large part of my recovery.

I have seen it with others in the Groups as well -- before my Friend Gus passed – He spent Hours Talking About all the Cards & Letters he received from Actors he had never even met – Because of the Postings in the Newsletter.

But it is also FAR, FAR MORE then helping someone Sick or Dying – Its sticking together in the Financial downturns as well. The Success or Failure of DragonukConnects in the Long run Rests with you and the Things you do today. We are 4,000 Members Strong and growing about 250 per Month.
 
If you are in College – Make sure the Faculty & Staff know about DragonukConnects (The other Students as well). Try to Encourage the Faculty to join as a Basic (FREE) Member (Resource Provider Sub-Group) So EVERYONE knows about the Classes and Projects being done there (Shows, Auditions, Student film Castings). Make sure someone is distributing the possible Jobs and Internships to the rest of the students today & for years to come. All are easy posts that can be made in 3 Minutes or less – IF the College/University Joins and Posts Them. It’s FREE Why not do it.

If you are Part of a Theatre Group – Make sure the Staff knows about DragonukConnects (The other Actors As Well) Try to Encourage the Theatre to join as a Basic (FREE) Member (Theatre Sub-Group) So EVERYONE knows about the, Auditions, Production Crew Job Openings, Admin & Mgt Job Openings, Interns Needed, Ushers Needed, Classes Given, and Every Shows full run. All are easy posts that can be made in 3 Minutes or less – IF the Theatre Joins and Posts Them. It’s FREE Why not do it?

If you are a full time or Part time Employee or Freelance with a Production Company - Make sure they Know about DragonukConnects (The other Crew Members as well). Try to Encourage the Production Company to join as a Basic (FREE) Member (Production Company/Crew Sub-Group) So EVERYONE knows about the, full or part time Job Openings they have, Freelance Opportunities that come up, Interns Needed And Even More Importantly the Resources they have that OTHERS might need/hire them as a sub-contractor.

You are EACH on the front line EVERYTIME you work, Attend a Networking Meeting or Training Class – Your Help in letting others Know about DragonukConnects and the FREE Services offered thru it – Will be a large
part of the Continued Growth in Auditions & Jobs postings carried by DragonukConnectsSomething that Benefits us all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

...Or Will You Be Crushed?

Yeah, it's 2 something in the morning, but I had to
write. 

When the inspiration comes, you must respond. 
(Remember that.)

I was feeding the horses -- it's not really important
WHY I was feeding the horses after midnight -- and I
saw a meteor shower.

It's a beautiful clear night, and the West Virginia sky
is ... amazing.

I saw the meteor streak silently across the sky (yet my
head added a sound effect of sorts, heh) and I thought...

  - - Okay, bear with me here - -

... I thought, What early man must have thought,
gazing at the sky.  The wonder...the Awe...the Fear

And so, standing there in the dark field in nothing but my
shorts and sneakers, my body feeling very alive in the
chilly air, I was inspired to write.

Because when you see such a sight as a shooting star,
if you just breathe and are silent, you will feel the
wonder and fear at the same time... shades of delight
tinged with the deep understanding that you are so
very very small



 yet here you are




Do you know what that is, when you look in the summer sky?

No, I'm not being metaphorical now.  I'm talking about
when you look into the clear sky (those of you who can
actually see the stars from wherever you are) on a
summer night


and you notice that...that, SMUDGE across the sky.


Know what I'm talking about?


Hey, if you happen to be reading this just moments after
I posted it, go outside and check it out.  This is not an
acting exercise (I'll get to that in a sec); I just want
you to go outside, and wait until your eyes adjust.

Listen.  Whatever sounds are around you, listen.

I hear an amazingly loud chorus of bugs, an unimaginable
variety of insects singing their little buggy hearts out.

Now look up.  Look across the sky...

Do you see the "smudge"?

It cuts right across the dome of the night sky, pretty
much in the middle, pretty much from horizon to horizon.

Raise your hand if you know what that is.

Good, good, some of you do.

At first you might think it's a stream of light, wispy
clouds...or maybe smoke.  But it's not...it's...

stars.

But not just ANY ol' stars.

That band of stars that make up the wispy smudge across
the sky are the gazillions of stars that make up our
Milky Way Galaxy.

Our solar system is positioned on an outer arm of the
multi-armed spiral galaxy...and when you look up on a
clear summer night, YOU ARE LOOKING INTO THE GALAXY'S
CENTER


like when you're on the Ferris Wheel, and you look up
(or down, or over) at the center spindle . . .


Cool, huh?

And then a meteor -- God knows how incredibly small,
most of them -- goes streaking across the sky appearing
larger than a jumbo jet and faster than anything

And you feel so small

 yet inspired

 because you understand that though you are
nothing

 you have the power to change humanity

 if you
respond to the call within

 because THAT is why the dream was implanted



So will you step up to that challenge and Trust

or will you allow it to crush you, and wither away

    ?

I happened to be in my office this morning, pecking
away at this post, and the phone rang.

It was an actor -- well, an actor's mom, a complete
stranger -- who had an acting question for me.
 
It was a delightful conversation; enjoyable because
she is involved in her daughter's quest, and because,
frankly, I love connecting with you, you Empowered
Actor blog readers. 

My challenge is--well, one of my challenges is--to
keep it real, to stay connected in a meaningful way.

Heh...That's the actor's challenge anyway, right? 
To keep that connection going.

Anyway, she had nice things to say about the blog,
and about my Audition Success ebook, which apparently
her daughter bought some time ago, along with the audio
book, at The Actor's Expo 

It's scary stepping up to the calling in your life,
so it's nice when you have the support of family. 
I know some of you don't.

It's scary for me, I'll tell you...and thrilling, and
SATISFYING

And I love it.

You must follow your passion.  Why do anything else?
Yes, the road will be rough, so let your passion and
faith and smarts carry you through.  If you knew
all the seemingly insurmountable hurdles coming up,

you wouldn't do it.
  That's why the dream was

implanted.  So let's see what you do with it.

When the inspiration comes, you must act on it.

Here's to Your Empowerment

...now make an appointment with yourself to look into
the night sky over these next few nights, and see what
you can see...


Love you, friends.

Later,

--Tom

Copyright © 2010 Tom Brooks and
The Empowered Actor Initiative  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Take the (Bad) Edge Off the Audition - Part 3

Okay!Okay!  Ready for this?  We're going to take your bad
nervous energy, and transform it into that GOOD nervous
energy you need for a great audition.

Step 3: Use Your Model Experience

Take the great audition you thought of in Step 1, and
use it as a model for this upcoming audition. 

Here's what you do -- then I'll tell you why this
process works.

First... imagine that great audition in Step 1. 
Remember, it doesn't matter if you are making it up, or
whether you saw an actor in a movie have a great
audition, or if you saw another actor in real life have
a great audition.

The point is, now you're going to imagine that it was
YOU who had that great audition.

This should be fun, because you're using your acting
power, your imagination, to envision that it was you
who had that experience.


Really see yourself in that great audition.  Make it
like you are really THERE.  Take some time with this
and FEEL it. 

Next... Pretend that the audition you have coming up,
the one triggering fear, has ALREADY HAPPENED.  Take
those same feelings from the great audition into the
upcoming audition.  SEE yourself there, as if it's a
memory.  SEE yourself meeting the casting directors...
the smiling faces.  SEE yourself doing really well. 
FEEL yourself doing really well.

Have fun with this!  You need to get into it so much
that you're actually feeling good and smiling about the
great job you did.

Do this 3 times a day for at least 3 days (more, if you
need to) until the fear of the upcoming audition is
gone, until you are feeling confident about the
audition coming up.

If the fear and self-doubt creep back in over the days
before the upcoming audition, Stop.  Think about what
you are imagining that causes the feelings of fear. 

Then ask yourself, 'Is what I'm imagining something
I can control?'  If it is within your control, then
take care of it. 

On the other hand, if the problem is something BEYOND
your control, then forget about it!  Do this by going
back to Step 3, and focus on what you CAN control.

Why the Process Works

To understand how and why this process works so well,
let's recap what you've done:

  • Step 1: Think of a great audition
  • Step 2: Identify the specific fears you have about
    this
    upcoming audition
  • Step 3: Use your model audition experience to
    transfer
    your feelings of success to this upcoming
    audition...
    as if it's already happened
By taking these specific steps, you are overriding the
fear images by flooding your head with POSITIVE images
connected with positive FEELINGS.  This is not mere
"positive thinking"...you are actually reprogramming
your thought patterns.

The reason Step 3 is so important and powerful is
because when you fantasize with strong images and
feelings, your subconscious thinks the experience
is REAL.  (In case you didn't know it, your subconscious
mind does not know the difference between
fantasy 

and reality.)

Your subconscious is that part of your brain that
controls your heart beat, your breathing...those
things you don't have to THINK about doing.  The
subconscious is also where your fears reside, and a
lot of times, they are only there because you
BELIEVE there is something to be afraid of -- even
when there is NOTHING to be afraid of. (In other
words: What you believe to be true IS true...EVEN

IF IT ISN'T.)
So when you IMAGINE with strong images and FEELINGS,
your subconscious THINKS IT'S TRUE.  This means that
your subconscious replaces the belief that 'I AM
GOING TO MESS UP' with 'I AM GOING TO DO GREAT.'

It's as if you have already had that experience of the
great audition!
  Since the fear is gone, you FEEL better

about it before you even do it. 


The fact is that actors who have less fear are cast
more often.  And even when you don't get the role,
you still know you did a great audition -- the best
one you possibly could, so you feel better about it,
and it helps keep your chin up for next time.

When you use this process, email your success story to me
...I'd love to know how it went!

Here's to Your Empowerment!

--Tom


Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2010 Tom Brooks and
The Empowered Actor Initiative  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to Take the (Bad) Edge Off the Audition - Part 2

You're right: Step 1 is deceptively simple. In fact,
it's so simple, many actors looking for a way to get
past the nerves probably dismissed or overlooked it. 
How could getting a clear picture of a winning
audition
in your head possibly work?  Well, in Step 3
(next
time), I will indeed tell you why this works.

In any case, by now you should have a firm vision in
your head of a winning actor in a winning audition. 

This can be from
  • Your own audition experience
  • Seeing another actor audition well
  • Seeing a movie that depicts actors auditioning well
  • A fabricated memory you have pieced together
    from any
    or all of the above.
As long as you have that 'great audition' firmly in
your head, you're ready to move on.

Step 2: Identify the Fear Factor

Think about why are you nervous about this particular
audition coming up. 

Really pin-point WHY it is that your anxiety level is
high in this particular audition situation. 

Don't allow your answer to be 'Because it's an
audition!'  You must be VERY SPECIFIC about this
audition.


Is it because it's one of your first auditions, and you
don't know what to expect? 

If that's so, you can always find out about the
audition ahead of time.  For instance, you can find out
if the audition will be in a theater on the stage, or a
rehearsal room, or in a church...You
can find out if
other actors will be watching when you
audition. 

Getting answers about how the audition will run can make
you feel a whole lot better, since it will take away
some of the unknown elements.  (Seems simple, but many
actors operate from the mindset that they are supposed
to be ignorant
, that the process is supposed to be hard.)


Or... Maybe you're so nervous because you just want to
do a good job.  Are you're afraid you'll screw it up?
Whatever you're nervous about, there is SOMETHING, or
someTHINGS that you keep picturing in your head.  Make
sure you know what those are, especially those pictures
or scenes that keep coming up again and again.

That kind of nervousness is the kind that can get in
your way at the audition, so we will work on getting
rid of it so that you can do your very best. 

The more you trust yourself, and the better prepared you are, the better you'll do

Here's what I want you to do...

Get a 3x5 card, or your journal, and write your top
three fears - those things that you keep imagining
that are really making you nervous.

Do not write long descriptions -- just list 'bullet
points.'  Something like this:
  • afraid of my hands shaking
  • worried that I'll forget my words
  • scared that everyone else will be better than me
Don't write more detail than that.

Now... Put this card away until the next Empowered
Actor article.  Don't keep looking at it -- just
remember where you put it, so we can work with it
next time.

And between now and then, don't mull over the fears
in your mind.  Just NOTICE when you start slipping
into the Fear Factor mode.  Don't beat yourself up
about your imaginings -- just think about something
else, something more pleasant that has to do with
acting that you like so much.

Until next time, Here's to Your Empowerment!

--Tom

Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2010 Tom Brooks and
The Empowered Actor Initiative  All Rights Reserved