Overcoming negativity for peak performance

One of the most enduringly useful tips I learned from my favorite voice-over coach, Ms Marice Tobias, was the idea that “whatever is true with me emotionally in the moment will come through in my performance.”  I had an illustration of that concept not long ago that I want to share with you.


A few days ago, I auditioned for a “Denis Leary” type of read for a food product.  I recorded at home, felt pretty good about it, then MP3’d it to my agent.  The this morning I got a message from my agent that the casting director had decided that she’d ONLY consider talent who could come in and read in-person this afternoon.  Sure, I could do this, and was feeling confident.


Then an hour or so before I had to leave for the in-person audition, I began working with a new preamp I just got.  Connecting the preamp then began to completely vex me (why the hell don’t all mfr’s use the same terminology for inputs and outputs?  But I digress…).  Try as I might, I just could not figure it out – which any red-blooded he-man will tell you is a devastating defeat for the fragile male ego.  A man who cannot figure out how to use his tools is a loser, unworthy of affection, and to be shunned by other red-blooded men.  In other words, I began feeling like the Anti-Denis Leary!  I could feel my heart sink, and that brash confidence one needs to pull off an attitude read like this had vanished.


As I was walking out the door, another wave of negativity washed over me as I realized that after 4 pm, most of the street parking in the location of this agency in downtown Chicago became tow-zones, and I’d likely have to pay $18 to park in a lot just for an audition!  Arrrrgh!  So I drove south on Lake Shore Drive, feeling like utter crap, knowing that I would completely blow this audition if I was feeling this way behind the mic.  I was totally “in my head” and literally had tunnel vision.


I knew that I had to get out of this frame of mind if I were to have any chance at this audition.  So I began to consciously think about events in my life where I felt supremely confident.  Just then, I snapped out of it by noticing how beautiful the skyline and lakeshore looked in the light of the setting sun.  A broad smile broke out spontaneously as I felt the joy of the beautiful scene before me.  I started feeling much better.


And then, I actually managed to find a spot to park on the street for $2.50, and headed off to the agency.  As I walked up to the high-rise building where the agency was located, I realized that the place I was going to was familiar – I had not realized exactly where I was going because my agent had used the agency’s acronym rather than the full name I know it by.  A pleasant surprise!  The casting director there is a lady I have become closer to over the years, and especially lately now that we’re Facebook friends.  Feeling even better…


So whereas just an hour before, I was in a very bad place emotionally to be able to give a good read for this script, due to some luck – but also to a conscious effort on my part – I was able to get out of it.  I gave two good reads for 2 different scripts, and the casting director was very complimentary.  In fact, as I was leaving, she told me “I knew you’d be great with this script.  In fact, you’re my top choice for this.”


So the moral of the story is: whatever is true inside of you will come through in your read.  Don’t settle for a sub-par performance from a negative state of mind.  If you’re in a bad place in the moment, you CAN get out of it.

AUTHOR: tomtest-wpadmin     CATEGORIES: Blog
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