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The Downfall of a Stage Actor – Being Self-Conscious

When I first started out acting, it was on the stage. Like many actors, the theater is a safe haven of developing and cultivating your voice as a performer as well as obtaining valuable experience capable of ushering you into the world of acting. While there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of tips for stage performers, one of the most important of these is keeping your self-conscious behavior in check.

The self-conscious actor is unable to fully develop a character as his mind is continually second guessing his choices. This type of mental roadblock is guaranteed to prevent you from truly meeting your potential as a performer as well as dramatically hindering your performance in front of an audience.

Although eliminating self-conscious behavior is a long and very personalized process, there are several tips I’ve cultivated throughout my years of working on the stage and in front of the camera.

Realize the Source of Your Self-Consciousness

One of the biggest steps in overcoming your self-conscious behavior as an actor is to discover its true source. For me, I was afraid of standing in front of an audience; however, it delved much deeper than that. Why was I afraid of being in front of an audience? I didn’t want to forget my lines. Why didn’t I want to forget my lines? I would derail the scene and look foolish. Why did this matter? Because I was fearful. You see, the source of my self-conscious behavior was fear, and throughout my experience with countless actors, this is the primary reason someone experiences self-conscious behavior.

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Understand the Reality of the Situation

So your heart begins your race, your sweat glands work in full production and a dense fog begins to creep into your mind the moment before you go on stage or are called in for an audition? While these are all natural sensations to feel immediately before performing, I have found that an excellent way of eliminating my self-conscious behavior is to simply realize the reality of my current situation.

You’re at an audition? Great, you’re given an opportunity to perform in front of people who can help take your career to the next level. The reality is, you are one of hundreds, if not thousands, of actor’s they’ve seen. If you forget your lines or mess up the delivery of a dialogue, will this kill you? Absolutely not. No matter what, understand that at the end of an audition or performance, you will be alive. You will live to see another day, and your mistakes are in no way a reflection of your talent or dedication as an actor. Realize, this is not a life and death situation, and take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride.

Push Forward, Eyes Closed and Mind Open

No matter the amount of prep work you’ve put into an audition or for a performance, there can still be serious pockets of self-conscious behavior lurking within your mind. The best piece of advice for this situation: push forward, shut your eyes and keep your mind open. Understand and accept that you’ve put yourself into this situation, and you are given a blessed opportunity to perform your talent.