Atypical Acting Tips for Life #1
Let me start by saying, I'm by no means an expert on commercials. I've only been in one, after all (see above- "Bonvoy!").
I'm super thankful for the experience...
And for the check that will be coming for it...eventually.
But, as I was musing on the experience, I thought you might appreciate some of the things I've learned through the process of auditioning for commercials to being on set for one.
If you're not an actor, don't click away yet;
these tips aren't really about acting,
and I think you can put them into practice in your every-day.
Talk to people at your in-person auditions.
I know, I know...often it's waiting-room-awkward-quiet, but these other actors are the people you may want to work with, right?
collaborate with… maybe be friends with...
Who knows, you might just meet someone who could advise you, or someone who could use your advice.
“But what if they’re prepping?” you ask. Sure, let them be. Respect their quiet inner solitude, but chances are, if you see a gal standing around lost in the glow of her phone or looking as bored, anxious, or out of place as you might feel, there’s a good chance you could make her day by acknowledging her presence and distracting her from the nerves.
Stop thinking about how uncomfortable you might feel (ahem, talking to myself here) and think about how you could help her.
The Apostle Paul instructed followers of Jesus in Philippi to consider others better than themselves (2:3). Consider their needs as more pressing. Consider their interests first.
Can we agree, “Easier. said. than. done”?
If you haven’t read the whole chapter, I highly recommend it. Verses 6-11 are a poem beautifully describing Jesus’ example of living with a servant mindset. Paul says our attitude should be the same (5), but I believe we definitely need some divine help to get past those insecurities and fears that block the way.
So here's me trying- little by little. I decided a long time ago to always meet people at auditions, at first to ease my own awkwardness more than theirs, to gain acceptance. Then the motivation was friendship and connection building- and growing a stronger network so I could get more work. None of these things are bad, but they are still self-focused - (How could this person potentially meet - or not meet - my need?)
At a recent in-person commercial audition, you could hear a pin drop in the studio lounge though the room was packed with people. After some internal battle, I started a conversation with the girl next to me, who just so happened to be a now local improv teacher/actor/writer/coach.
That conversation led to me auditing a class at the acting studio where she teaches and to grabbing lunch with her a week or so later. We had a great lunch full of honest conversation. I'm looking forward to taking her class at some point- and to getting to know a new friend.
Now I've got to follow up and intentionally consider what's going on in her life and ask myself how I can serve her. Maybe I'll be sharing more about her in the future.
You never know who'll you'll meet...and what role they could end up playing in your life.
And, just in case you're thinking, "That's easy-peasy for you; you can get up in front of hundreds of people;" it's not.
After years and years of working on this skill, I'm not as frightened as I used to be...but I'm still an introvert by nature (and glad to be) and insecure by default. There are still days where I just want to stay in my own head...but I can’t think of a single time that I have regretted getting out of my head to engage with someone.
So maybe you're actually in a waiting room and it's waiting-room-awkward-quiet save for the flipping of magazine pages and a tv talk show -
Or maybe you’re at a red light on a corner occupied by a homeless man, helplessly averting your eyes because you don’t have loose change -
Or maybe you’re standing in line at the grocery store staring mindlessly into the space between you and the tabloids...
We’re surrounded by people with needs and feelings to be considered. Take a chance and say, “Hi!”
(I included the example of seeing the homeless person because it’s one I’m in frequently. If it tugs at your heart strings, here are two helpful articles you may want to check out: 7 rules for talking with the homeless and 5 things to say and not to say.)