As actors we all have a little bit of doubt once we book the job.
What if I won’t remember my line? What if I screw up? What if they don’t like me?
Take a second and BREATHE!!! You are enough, You are good enough and you are talented enough, YOU BOOKED THE JOB! Please remind yourself that.
My name is Mai Arwas and I have indeed felt all those things!
I was a guest star on the legendary Comedy Central TV Series, ‘Broad City’, acting along side the incredible Ilana Glazer and she was so calm and cool and I had to breathe so deep and keep reminding myself that I am enough, that I am good enough and talented enough – “Hell I booked this part, from the tape non-the-less, what am I so nervous about?” I kept telling myself and reminding to myself that
I AM GOOD ENOUGH!
So after being on Broad City, Transparent, many award winning films and even wrote and acted in my own films, YES I do still get doubt creeping into my mind when I book. Will it ever go away? I am sorry to tell you it won’t, however, I would like to share with you a few tools that will give you more confidence and will hopefully help you get that doubt to quiet down.
When you book the job, it means they like YOU, they wanted YOU, and YOU were the “solution” to their “problem”.
Now, whats next?
You should concentrate on developing the character you are bringing to life.
Memorize the lines, try different ways of approaching the character to open you up and prepare you for anything the director might want to do (they might want to re-direct you – and it’s okay, it’s their vision and you are there to fulfill it). You might want to get an acting coach to work with you, friends to read with you and help you memorize the lines inside out, back to front and upside down.
Here are a few ways that help me prepare, memorize and get familiar with the person I am bringing to life:
- Read it out loud.
- Have a friend or a family member help me read and memorize.
- Read each line 10 times or until you remember it, then go to the next and say both lines 10 times or until you remember it and do that through out the whole script (scene by scene).
- Another way that really helps me is really getting to know the person I am bring to life, reading the script as many times as I can and finding as many clues as I can about that person. What do others think of him/her? How they view him/her? That helps me understand the person a lot more and their way or thinking so the lines really make sense to me.
- Be specific and personalize everything, have an opinion about everything you say, everything you hear, everyone you talk about and everyone you talk to.
If you aren’t already, be 100% sure of yourself and comfortable in your own skin. Again, I would like to remind you, they chose YOU, YOU booked it! YOU are enough! YOU just the way YOU are!
A few ways that help me to remind myself that I am good enough and be present:
- Listening to guided meditations (Wendy Braun is an incredible human being that I actually took a whole course of hers called ‘Actor’s Inspiration’ and I love listening to the YouTube Channel Wild Awakening)
- Listening to motivational speeches (I love listening to Tony Robbins and Les Brown and a few great channels on YouTube: Motivation Madness, Be Inspired, Law Of Attraction Coaching and Team Fearless )
- Meditate for 5 minutes in the morning or before my audition.
- Going to class and ALWAY working my craft and being the best I can be.
Do your research and be familiar with who you are working with, the show or film and the people. If you are working on a TV show; watch prior episodes to be familiar with the show, if it is a movie; watch prior films the directors directed so that you are more familiar with the director’s approach. (A great source for this is ImdbPro or just Google it)
Lastly, after you have done all the work you needed to do, you are now on set… You are here to do what you are paid for, which is… ACT and more than anything, you should HAVE FUN, because isn’t this why we are all acting in the first place??? I AM! I have A LOT OF FUN!
LET GO, BE PRESENT and HAVE FUN!
Follow your instincts, play, surprise yourself and be unpredictable. Challenge yourself and your fellow actors, give the director and editor something to work with by being so present and available. Be open and vulnerable so that you can be affected by everything and everyone. Get out of your head and into your body.
When you are there, on set and you feel like you are getting a little stressed by how many people are there in the room, and how everyone is watching you… yeah YOU, yes it is stressful; On
‘Broad City’ we were in a tiny room and there were about 20 people in there, I was nervous, I was worried about the lines, I was worried about getting everything right so that the director will be happy and I won’t screw up. Wanting to look professional and look good. Well guys, our body radiates energy, energy is very strong and people can sense it. Ilana looked at me and said “I got you… let’s play” I said “Yeah” playing it super cool and she said “Hey Mai, we got this yeah? Let’s play, have fun and what ever you throw at me I will bounce back” – OMG That was the best thing ever, never did I have so much fun on set before that. I was on fire, she was on fire and it was just ON – I didn’t want it to end.
So if this ever happens to you, remind yourself that you are there to play, this is your passion, your love and this is what you CHOSE to do with your life, so have fun with it. Even with emotional scenes, it is fun! It is what you do!
A few ways that ground me:
- 10 deep breathes – concentrating on my breathes in and out.
- Listening to a song if I can.
- Finding an activity that grounds me.
- If during a scene you feel that you are in your head and stressing, drop your jaw, look at your partner and breathe them in, listen to them and keep breathing through you mouth. Take them in, look at their face in details, check in with yourself and how you are feeling, look at your partner take your time and when it feels right respond. It is YOUR time, take it and make the most out of it. If they ever rush you, it is okay! Say to yourself “It’s okay, thank you, I love you”.
When you are there, with your partner, on set, live your life. Everything you feel, your character feels, everything you do is the right thing to do, because it is you and it is coming from you and it is YOU that was cast to bring this person to life so just BE. BE there, GIVE it all you got, PUSH your boundaries and HAVE FUN (I truly believe that doing what you love for a living should be fun, we are here to be fulfilled, joyful and happy we didn’t come here to suffer and be miserable)
Remember, you are so much more then what your mind tells you you are, have high expectations of yourself and raise your standards, work as hard as you can every single day towards what you love and when you get on that set, no matter how small or how big your part is, be ready, be prepared and be the best you that you can be because that’s why they cast you! You can only do you!
EMBRACE THE FACE THAT YOU ARE NOT PERFECT AND
LOVE THE FACT THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH
Mai Arwas: Website & IMDB