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The key to unlocking your best work as an actor is something many acting courses merely skim the surface of. Fortunately, it’s a practice you can teach yourself. If you want to produce your best work, you have to be in your best mindset. Whether you are about to audition or step on stage, your mindset houses the creative well from which you give. So, to continue the metaphor, make sure your well is clear.

Weaving self-care and mindfulness into your acting arsenal is a must. Your emotional health is a core component to not only creating characters and booking jobs but to your longevity in the industry. Of course, it is easier said than done. Below will elaborate on this subject and provide some tips for getting into an optimal headspace.

 

Clear your mind.

While you cannot give from an empty cup, you also cannot give from one with holes in it. Do not let the blemishes of your own mind inhibit your ability to perform. 

To hit this home, please entertain yet another metaphor. As cheesy as it sounds, think of yourself as a blank canvas open for any colors and shapes to be painted on. If the canvas is already filled with your own issues, there’s simply no room for the character. This leads to…

 

Stay out of your own way.

Depending on the scene, actors may sometimes think a negative mindset is beneficial to their work: “Oh the character is anxious, so it helps that I am, too.” And while that may work for you on occasion, it’s not sustainable. The only healthy place to come from is a positive one. Acting teachers love the phrase “choose the positive motivation!” for good reason. No matter where a character might be, the actor should ideally be calm and in control. Do not let your own negative thinking get in the way of your performance. 

 

Center yourself prior to the performance.

From yoga to breathing exercises to playing spirit-lifting music, there are countless ways to get yourself into a healthy mindset before acting. Find what works best for you! Ultimately, bring it back to the fact that you are about to do what you love. Relish in the happiness of living your dream.

 

In these times, actors are responsible for more than ever, making room for more potential mindset monsters. Take the self tape process for example you are expected to be your own camera operator, lighting designer, director, editor… the list goes on. By the time you get everything set up and hit your mark, stress may have taken over. Stop and listen to yourself.

Give yourself a beat before performing to check in with and see where you are coming from. If you are grounded in anything but a relaxed or positive space, take the time to center yourself and come back to it. Account for this check-in when you’re planning, so you have the luxury of time to enter a good headspace. After all, your mindset is the key to unlocking every door.


Written by Robert Peterpaul

Robert Peterpaul is a writer and actor, who can be seen in James Franco’s film King Cobra, T-Mobile ad campaigns, and Amazon Prime’s New Dogs, Old Tricks. Other career highlights include: working on NBC’s Access Hollywood and America’s Got Talent, BUILD Series, writing for the Huffington Post, and his family’s nonprofit the Thomas Peterpaul Foundation, which aims to end pediatric cancer. Robert currently serves as the Weekend Editor for HOLA! USA and writes for publications like Backstage. He’s studied at the Barrow Group, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, UCB and earned a B.A. from Marist College (go, red foxes!). Robert thanks you for reading and hopes you’ll follow your bliss! www.robertpeterpaul.com