Staring Fear in the Face as an Actor


Most of the time, just on the other side of fear is liberation and elation.

Throughout our acting journey we get to face sooo many scary experiences.  What scares you most in your acting career?  Is it performing, the audition process, thinking no one will want to represent you, going in for a producer session, or the thought of you not “making it”?

It was time…I CHOSE to face a BIG fear of mine right in the face.

For at least 5 years, the notion of taking an improv class kept knocking at my door and I wouldn’t answer it. Then I decided to open it to take a peek inside and see what it was all about and if it was for me.

At that time in my career, I wanted to be and feel more free in the audition room and on set.  I was ready to get out of my own way. At this point, I had earned tv and film credits to my name so I was capable of being cast, but when you pay attention to your instinct and that feeling inside, you know where you could benefit from being stretched to help take yourself to the next level.

I felt Improv would be the perfect playground to learn how to truly learn active listening and to react in truth.

No one wants to watch us as actors just saying lines.  The audience and loyal fans tune in and pay those pricey movie tickets to see us truly LIVE out the story – watching how we handle all the ups and downs we get to go through.  This is how we inspire and speak to the hearts of others.

SO I took the plunge and signed up for Improv 101 at UCB in Los Angeles.  Taking an improv and scene study class was how I got bit by the bug for acting in the first place before moving to LA.  UCB though?!? That was taking it to a whole nother level.

Classes just like learning anything new were a challenge at first, but then I was saying “Yes, And” to everything with all I had.  I began to really feel the importance of the commitment to the character I was playing and how that dictated my thoughts and responses.  With each class, the challenges began to become FUN.

Oh My…Grad Showtime.

I remember the nerves coming up on me like no other when I entered the infamous UCB Theatre to perform in front of family and friends and those who graciously wanted to come and watch too.  During warm-up up on stage with the class, I was working through the usual mind game that loves to challenge us to just relax, shine and bring forth our best.

A teacher once shared to walk the stage when performing in a play and on set for TV and Film to get a feel for your surroundings and make it your own.

Time was ticking fast to start time for the show that evening and I had had enough of the chatter in my mind keeping me from feeling happy, confident and in my power.  So before they opened the doors while the class sat in the green room, I took a moment to go backstage and enter the stage to get a feel for it. I felt proud to be performing on a stage of many greats.

There’s just something about that moment when the soles of your shoes hit the stage. I just tapped right back in again.  I took a moment to just stare out into the spotlight where the audience would be and I was instantly ready and excited to perform.

That Sunday during the grad show, for the first time – I wasn’t in the audience watching and saying, “whew they are brave, no way not me.”  Instead, the time had come – I had met that stage with my own two feet and proudly(with nerves a going) performed at LA’s infamous UCB Theatre. Something I once thought I never would do and now so deliciously glad I did!!  Celebrating with classmates and friends afterward was icing on the cake.

Inspired to take on that BIG scary thing you really want to do and know you would benefit from too now?  Give yourself that WIN – overcome fear and move you and your career forward.

I’d love to hear a scary experience in your acting career that you stared in the face and then felt like a million bucks after it because you conquered it!!

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