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Getting Over Stage Fright: Advice for Actors

No one is born a great actor. It is a skill that must be learned and perfected through practice. The same can be said for getting over stage fright. Even the most seasoned actor can get stage fright. It’s a very real and common phenomenon that can affect anyone who steps foot on stage or on screen. The good news is that there are ways to overcome stage fright. With a little bit of preparation and some mental exercises, anyone can conquer their fears.

Here are some tips to get over stage fright:

Understand Your Fear

What is it about being in front of people that makes you anxious? Is it the audience, the lights or something else? Once you understand your fear, you can start to work on overcoming it.

Actors are often required to face their fears head on. Whether it’s acting out a scene that requires you to confront a real-life phobia, or simply playing a character with intense anxiety, actors must understand fear in order to convincingly portray it.

So, what exactly is fear? Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat. It’s characterized by anxiety, increased heart rate and often avoidance behavior.

The best way, in my opinion, to understand and conquer your fears is to face them head on. This can be done by gradually exposing yourself to the thing you’re afraid of (in a safe environment), or by simply taking some time to reflect on your fears and why they might be holding you back.

In the case of stage fright, you just have to take a deep gulp and get out there!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Where have I heard that before?

The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to experience stage fright. Run through your lines as often as possible so that you know them like the back of your hand.

For actors, there’s no such thing as over-preparing. The more you run your lines, the more comfortable you’ll feel with the material. The more comfortable you feel, the better your performance will be.

So how do you go about running your lines?

  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Then, start from the beginning and read through the entire script. As you go, highlight your cues and mark any staging notes.
  • Once you have a good understanding of the material, it’s time to start running your lines out loud. If possible, find a partner to read with you.

When you have your lines down pat, you’ll be able to get out there and perform with minimal stage fright. Please know that even the most successful actors aren’t perfect, so you shouldn’t let any fear of making mistakes haunt you.

Visualize Success

Before you go on, take a few minutes to visualize yourself giving a great performance.

This means picturing yourself in successful roles and imagining the thrill of applause. It also means having faith in your own abilities and talent and knowing that success is possible with hard work and dedication.

Creating a mental image of success can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. It can also help you to overcome any self-doubt or negative thoughts that might arise during the course of pursuing your career. When you visualize success, you’re opening up the possibility for it to become a reality.

Stage fright can be a debilitating condition that may prevent you from achieving your full potential. However, with practice and positive thinking, you can learn to control your nerves and give a great performance.

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Ilana Rapp is a media-savvy Generation Xer with instinctive wit, quick humor and a taste for deep human emotions. As a former (child) actress with Broadway, film and television credits, she is adept at, well, lots of things.