You know those people who tell you “You need to get out of the studio more…”? The ones who say, “You need to give yourself a different type of a challenge, break out of your routine…”? The pesty people with only your best interests at heart who prod you to “get outside your Comfort Zone…”?
Chances are, they’re right.
And if they’ve said these things will improve the quality of what you’re already doing…they’re probably right about that, too.
Last night, for me, was the culmination of weeks of creeping dread. I don’t get stage fright. I’m never nervous about being on camera. And as long as I know my subject, I have no fear of public speaking. But that’s me, about me. If I blow something, I can usually ad lib my way out of it easily. But I do freely admit to a fear of Failure.
Add to that the risk of tripping up a fellow actor (who needs that key word or phrase to do his/her next lines), or a hard-working tech crew (who really has to hear that line delivered where it’s supposed to be in order to have the next light or sound cue ready), or indeed the audience (who shouldn’t have to puzzle out what happened in the story if you suddenly skip over a few pages of the script)………now that’s scary.
Now mind you, none of those things are happening with my current foray back into stage performance (Raleigh Little Theatre’s excellent production of “The Woman In Black”). At least not to any noticable degree. So far, the worst we (and our audiences) have had to deal with is a fog machine with a mind of its own.
The show, which opened last night in front of its intended audience, has come together wonderfully, just as director Haskell Fitz-Simmons and everyone else assured me it would. It has become the fun I had hoped it would be when I hesitantly accepted friend Jack Hall’s prompting to audition, after some 20 years off the “legitimate stage”. And I’ve made a new friend in Clint Lienau.
But more than that, it has really helped my daily voiceover work. The first thing I noticed was that the nightly rehearsals and readings, instead of causing further vocal fatigue as I’d feared, actually strengthened my voice and gave me more stamina. Case in point: for years my best times to record were late morning/early afternoon. I could hear my voice “thin out” or grow strained if I had a session late in the afternoon or at night. But in recent weeks, the addition of show prep has required me to sometimes come back to a voice recording job after three hours of rehearsal, in order to meet a job deadline. Instead of being too worn out, the voice seemed to actually be stronger. I also note the experience has refreshed my storytelling abilities and attention to written copy.
Another point: as wonderful as having my own studio is…my own little world…there is something encouraging and re-affirming about being around other creative people. That was a great discovery for many who attended the recent Faffcon 3 for voice talent, but even involving yourself in a local group, even one with no direct link to our business, can be absolutely refreshing and recharging.
Getting up on a stage after a long time and trying to remember pages of lines may not be the right thing for you (and if you DO decide to come back to live theatre after that long a time, take my advice and do NOT pick a two-person show to memorize!), but take a look around and find something.
Whether or not it puts money in your pocket for the time spent…it’s a great investment in your own emotional well-being.
…even if you DO end up having a ghost, the fear of forgetting your lines, or a rogue fog machine to contend with.
— over and out —