Okay, so despite all the praise you’re getting, there’s a little voice inside your head. A niggling. You feel like you could be better and you’re ready to try. Awesome. What now? How do we get better? Some stops and some starts:
- Stop Listening To Your Family
Look, they love you but their opinions will either always be too much support a shit ton of dismissiveness. That’s how families are hard wired. Your mom is gonna tell you just how amazing you were and your siblings are just gonna go on and on about how you suck. Nod politely and sing ‘la la la la la’ in your head until they stop talking. You do not want to hear that shit.
- Stop Listening To Your Friends
They love you. Your friends love you. They’re just gonna tell you how amazing you were, anyway, cause they dropped thirty bucks on a ticket and hauled ass from Mississauga at rush hour to come to see you in this thing – most people talk themselves into loving it after all that effort – psychologically, that’s a thing. What the heck do they know about theatre anyway? Just say thanks for all the compliments and leave it at that.
- Stop Listening To Your Cast, Crew, and Directorate
They are currently drinking the purple koolaid and will be doing so, like, non-stop for the rest of the run. Nothing you are doing collectively could ever be bad. In fact, this is the best show this group has ever done. Ever. Your directors are going to be supportive AF also, either because they don’t know the difference or because they know the group needs to stay positive to do their best work. “La la la la la…!” Directors who give direct notes after opening are douches anyway. Trust me. Notes need to come from Stage Management.
- Stop Listening To Reviewers
Some of them are real a**holes but even the ones who aren’t, it’s really only one person’s opinion. They will miss a lot and they will see a lot but rarely will they produce criticism that will make you better.
- Stop Listening Your Own Internal Mean Voice
You know that bitch inside your head who honest-to-god thinks you can’t do anything at all? Ignore her. La la la la la!
Now that we’ve turned off a lot of stupid, there will be room for a lot of good.
- Start Being Honest With Yourself
Just take a long hard look a the show video. Be honest. Would you go and see you? Even if the answer is yes, we all know that all the time we can every time we try we can get better and better.
- Start Talking To The Geeks
There will be a small group of them and they may not be very cool and when they’re at the bar, they are theatre-geeking everywhere with play analysis and such. They may be huddled in the corner like thieves because the current climate around theatre….well, let’s say even healthy criticism is generally unwelcome and treated like unnecessary negativity. Befriend those motherf***ers. Lurk in the shadows with them. Buy them drinks. Listen. Learn. They will tell you what they really think about how you’re doing.
- Read. A Lot.
There are amazing books out there on acting technique. Not every approach will work for you but the very process of thinking about what you’re doing, will make you better. I don’t know why. It’s just true.
- Start Seeing A Teacher Or Coach or Going To Classes
Okay, look at your peers. Has anyone gotten better lately? Maybe stretching their vocal range a bit? Acting better? Go to that person. Make sure you tell that person that they are definitely getting better (they will appreciate that you noticed) and find out who the heck their f***ing teacher is. The danger with teachers and coaches is that once they have you, they wanna keep you; so,o to someone who has a track record of making better and better performers.
- Start Being Honest With Your Theatre Bestie
We all have a theatre bestie who does the thing for much of the same reasons we do the thing. Start being honest with them (be kind) and they will be honest with you.
- Start Doing Roles You Are Scared To Do
Go on. Close your eyes and jump. If you are scared to do a role, then that role will stretch you. Do it. You will feel amazing at the end of the process.
- Start Working Really Hard
Hence, the ant above. Practice, practice, practice.
- Start Going to Professional Theatre
You will watch other people do what you do and you will learn.
Ah! Enough on that, eh? Good luck! Go be awesome!