I was never told that becoming a performer would be easy. I knew walking into it that each performance would take hard work and dedication to achieve solid results. So here are my top five tips for being in the performing arts and life in general.
Tip #1: Expect the Unexpected
This is probably the most important out of all the tips I could hand out about this one topic. In live performance, anything can go wrong. The lights could go out. Your co-star forgets his entire monologue onstage. You have a wardrobe malfunction causing your costume to nearly slide off your body and show off your undies onstage.
By the way, the last one is no exaggeration. I’ve been there.
The only thing you can do is to treat the situation like it was meant to happen. The lights were supposed to go down for added dramatic effect. Your costar is at a loss for words due to overwhelming emotion. Your cast is going in a “Chicago”-esque direction with the scene.
Whatever the situation, it was meant to happen. Never confess otherwise.
Tip #2: Bend Their Expectations
Directors usually have an ideal of what they want their characters to be like. This is all based on the delivery during auditions. Unfortunately, if you don’t fit the bill, chances are you won’t be casted for that part.
Now before you close this article claiming “this is no help at all” hear me out.
You don’t always need to match their expectations, but be good enough to bend them. Make your intentions and actions big enough to where they won’t forget you. And even if they still don’t cast you for the part you want, don’t worry.
They’ll still remember you.
Tip #3: Take Critiques With A Smile
There will be times when you get a response that you didn’t want to hear. Maybe the director thought you made the wrong song choice. Maybe they don’t agree with your choices.
In any case, it’s best to take each criticism with a smile, even if you don’t agree. If you lash out at them saying they’re in the wrong, they will remember that.
And chances are you may not get casted in anything afterwards.
The same goes for when you are casted. If the director says you did something wrong, just say “thank you” and fix it. No arguments. Just do it. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Directors look for performers who are easy to work with and can take direction well. This shows that they are open to making mistakes and yet are willing to try new things. Those are the performers directors love to work with.
Tip #4: Never the Worst, Never the Best
It’s good to get constructive critisicm, but unfortunately there are people in the world who love to pogo-stick on your hopes and dreams by claiming that you aren’t good enough.
“He likes me better. You tripped onstage? You’ll never have a solid career. The Director prefers someone taller.”
…Okay, some of those are a bit exaggerated.
Now I’ve been in situations like this before. Not just on the stage, or in the audition room, but in real life. And every time I’m belittled or praised I always think this:
“I’m not the worst in the world, but I’m not the best either.”
This mindset keeps me pleased with my mistakes, but it also pushes me to worker harder to become better.
Tip #5: Never Stop Learning
And you won’t no matter how hard you try. The point of performing is to learn from both mistakes and experience to improve your skills. It’s a neverending education for the passionate performers.
You’re always going to learn something new and it’s a benefit to both yourself and your directors. Maybe the new dance move is just what they needed in the choreography. You learn how to act like a mime and suddenly your facial expressions cause tears in the audience.
Learning doesn’t degrade performance, it enhances it.