One Question #4 - Stage Fright
I'm excited this week.
Sunday I'm taking my family on an 8 day cruise. My wife and I have been on a couple of them by ourselves. But the kids are now 12 and 16 and we think they'll have a great time...although it's school Spring Break week next week and I'm not sure what we're in for with a ship crowded with hundreds of kids on break with their parents.
I'll fill you in on the details when we return...if we survive.
This weeks "One Question" asked for advice on overcoming stage fright.
Everyone gets a little nervous before a show. Even people who have been performing for years. A few butterflies in your stomach is a good thing as it pumps you up and makes you sharp for the show. And, in nearly all cases, the nerves settle down once you are a few minutes into the performance.
But, if you're so nervous that you are freaking out before going on stage and sitting in a corner sucking your thumb and mumbling "mommy" over and over, that's not good.
Here are my three biggest tips to minimize or almost eliminate stage fright.
1). Know your routine inside and out. Nothing will give you more confidence on stage than knowing your script. And (I've mentioned this before) I mean by having it committed to memory. I've never been a big fan of having routines on cheat sheets somewhere on stage. I think that only acts as a crutch and makes is easy to get lost if you're relying on being able to find your place on a piece of paper hidden somewhere on stage.
When I have a script in my memory, it's very easy to stay on track with it, as each part of the routine flows into the next. If I get distracted for some reason, it's easy to get right back on track again.
2). Take the focus off of yourself. This is a huge tip and a big reason performers "go blank" on stage. If you are worrying and thinking about "will I remember my lines" or "what if I screw up" or "what if my jokes aren't funny" or "will the crowd like me" or "is that my wife sitting with my best friend out there?" you lose room in your brain for remembering your act.
No one cares about you and what you're thinking. All they care about is seeing a good show.
If you are prepared and put all of your energy into doing your best to entertain your audience (by putting them first), you'll have a lot less stage fright and memory lapses.
HAVE FUN as you perform. That's why your doing this, right? To entertain and have a good time.
3). Rehearse your act in the same way you plan on performing. This is another great secret few utilize. When you rehearse your show, don't just do it by running it through your head thinking you'll be able to pull off a great show once on stage. You won't.
You need to practice as if you were on stage.
By that I mean with the puppet on your hand and stand, talking OUTLOUD and running through the whole routine. As a ventriloquist (or any performer) you generally are acting and playing a character. For a vent that means acting the part of the vent and the puppet. If you want to play the part of the characters, you MUST rehearse OUTLOUD playing the parts of the characters.
You must rehearse your show as you wish to perform it, or chances are you won't remember it - leading to stage frightand nervousness.
Well, there are my top three "cures" for stage fright. Put them into practice and I think you'll find they'll really help.
As a shameless plug, these tips were taken from my audio CD program "Destroying Stage Fright Forever." If you want to hear a lot more techniques on this subject, you can pick up a copy of the CD on my website here:
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Until next time...Keep venting!