Publicity shot of the Library of Congress Performance of American’s Journey Home.

The mother of all skill is repetition!   To have the confidence you want on stage or in the audition room, you have to be willing to go the extra mile. Be willing to rehearse and practice more than others and go beyond what your body and mind think is enough.  When you go the extra mile and drill your work over and over, that is when your skills become sharp and your confidence grows.

This past year I was asked to perform my current solo show The American Soldier plus a new solo show that I was commissioned to write and perform for the Library of Congress,   (An American’s Journey Home).   The deadline was tight and the work was intense but I knew that in order for me to have the confidence I wanted on stage, I needed to rehearse after my scheduled rehearsal.  I had to go the extra mile.

After rehearsal with my director I felt exhausted physically and mentally, and that little voice inside me would start to talk to me “Doug, you have done enough, you need to rest.”  However I knew I could not listen to that voice and that I needed to spend additional time rehearsing in order to perform at my best and have the confidence I wanted on stage.

I would rehearse with my director for about three to four hours and after he left, I would run the whole show again, sometimes even twice. That was where I gained my confidence as a performer.  Extensive rehearsing can change the physical wiring of your brain to help support exceptional performance.  Like lifting weights develop biceps muscles.

It is also where I discovered moments in the play that I never found in rehearsal.  Your mind starts to switch from right side dominance (the logical) to the left side of the brain dominance (the creative). Practice shapes your brain how you want it to perform.

Our minds are designed to steer us away from anything dangerous or anything uncomfortable, it’s how we’re designed and how have survived as humans.  So you’re never going to feel motivated to do anything that your mind deems uncomfortable or difficult.

Instinctively, we always want to choose the path of least resistance.  The next time you hear that voice inside you telling you to stop and that you have done enough, push yourself to go through it and you will reap the benefits.

Tips on how to gain confidence. 

  1. TV  or Film Audition – Once you feel you have it in you, drill the material again for 30 to 45 minutes non stop.  You will find that you will discover more about the material and character.  The more you rehearse it, the more your logical (right side) part of the brain turns off and the more your creative (left side) part of the brain turns on. 
  2. Theatre scene – Rehearse your scene once or twice through after you feel like quitting.  Push your rehearsal endurance and you will develop the confidence on stage that you want.
  3. Monologue – Run it for 30 minutes without stopping.  The reps in repetition will give you the confidence you need to perform it under pressure.
  4. Water – Drink plenty of water during your rehearsal.  The hydration you have in your body, the more hydration you have in your brain.  Dehydration causes you to feel more exhaustion.
  5. Eat healthy – Eat something healthy.  Don’t eat super sweet foods like candy or candy bars because this will crash your sugar levels.   Eat a protein bar or a piece of fruit.  You simply want some food energy to help you push through.
  6. Record your TV and Film audition scenes – Record your scenes with your iPhone so that you can listen to the other characters lines while you work on yours.  You basically have a scene partner on your iPhone.  I make a funny voices for the other characters and then record mine with my voice and listen to it over and over until my audition.

“Under Conditions of Stress, you do what you learned under training”

– Charles Poliquin, Olympic Coach 

 

Video testimonials of American’s Journey Home