Confidence and Becoming a Great Actor
Confidence… we all need it to be successful. No matter what we do in life, we depend on our ability to communicate effectively with great belief in what we have to give.
But one can’t gain confidence by demanding others to praise or approve of them. This same rule applies to anyone who is attempting to be a successful working actor. You gain confidence by demonstrating to yourself that you are worthy of it.
Confidence is something you can’t “get,” but it is something you can build.
False confidence is copping an attitude that you are superior to others. This attitude is not pro-survival for the actor because you really need to be moldable to do your job. In acting, strength is realized by being flexible and open to any criticism and notes. Great acting requires welcoming feedback and trusting the collaborative process between you and the director. If you feel you must protect yourself, your focus will be in your ego, and you will be gauging how safe you are, instead of freely trusting the process. You may even discover you are in your head, “watching yourself” as you act, and not living into the give-and-take between you and your fellow actors to deliver that great performance you so desire.
You see, often the things actors do to protect themselves are the very things that get in the way of greatness. Sometimes actors may fall apart, needing others to reassure them. Or the actor may even get angry and be difficult to work with because they are afraid of being bad. Even when their choice may be weak and there is a better choice suggested, actors can be so afraid to step outside their comfort zone that they may sabotage something good for something “safe.”
When we are focused on our own inadequacies, we aren’t being present to the opportunities being offered. There is always potential within us to discover an unrealized new strength. In every production, in every opportunity, something unknown, something extraordinary, lives within us that yearns to be ignited, if we would just step out of our own way.
Acting is a constant exercise in uncovering what lives within you, the good and the bad, and to fearlessly expose what most people would rather hide.
To be a great actor, you must be willing to step into the unknown, with honesty.
Trust is the most important quality an artist can possess. When you trust, you naturally relax and enjoy the process. When you focus on the love of the work, you open up your heart and find your creativity in it, you are an active participant rather than an observer. You begin to brave any criticism. When you invest your heart and thought into craft; when you have devoted yourself to study and have applied many, many critiques; when you know you are doing the work that all great actors do… you strengthen a believe in yourself that no one can take away.
The amazing thing is, it isn’t confidence that get’s in your way, it’s actually fear. You can work through the fear and transform it into positive energy. Your confidence comes from the execution of doing the work, over and over again. That’s how people build their confidence in class, through completing scenes and learning how to get better at script and character analysis.
Confidence is effectively interpreting a script and from that assessment executing strong choices. If you know your craft, no one can deny your skill and that exhibits great self-belief that you have something grand to contribute, simply because you really, really actually do.
When you have proven to yourself you have skill, there is a calm inside.
Confidence is being competent. It is knowing that when your time comes, you will be able to deliver because you practiced when it didn’t count. You can only gain confidence from working on yourself and showing up to the work. There is nothing without it. Though it’s nice to have others treat you with respect, there is nothing like earning it because you did a good job. That’s the real deal… and that’s confidence.