I want to join an acting class, but I'm too shy. What should I do?
I was in your position.
It was 2009 when I joined acting class. I probably had the acting bug years earlier, triggered when I used to do plays at my Saturday Greek school or even earlier than that, pretending with my brother that I was in a tv-series and trying to re-enact that in the garden.
I joined a class in 2003 while I was still at university, but at the time I was using money my parents gave me and felt guilty about doing it - needless to say I lasted a month.
Fast forward to graduating university in 2005, I was so focused on getting a job, I totally forgot about acting. Then life happened. I got a job then in the summer of 2006, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, acting was never going to be at the forefront of my thoughts and rightly so. In late 2007 the worse happened.
Come to early 2008, I was reading the paper on the way to work and saw an advert “acting for the camera class”. I saw the number and the website, saying I was going to call. Later that evening I checked out the website, I was ready to take the leap, or so I thought. I’d see that advert in the paper again, promising myself I will join. After a while of not seeing the advert, I said to myself if I see it again, its a sign that I should do it. I didn't see it at all. I still had the website, I memorised it. I gave a call, I was coming down to start lesson. On the way there, I thought I should turn back. I got there, saw the teacher, introduced myself and was immediately given a scene to learn, no intro, no background, that’s it - I guess I’m doing it then (the exit door did look really tempting though :) )
I started doing the scene, with my assigned scene partner, it was being recorded. Funnily enough, all the fears and doubts left while I was doing it, while I was reading the scene. I would love to say the my shyness totally left at this point but no.
"As soon as the scene ended, I was left wondering what were other people thinking, did I do a good job"
Here I am first scene, first day and I’m putting an insane amount of pressure on myself. As the weeks, months even years past, I became more comfortable when I was in front of the camera, I was able to see what I had done wrong, able to critique myself, but the fear and nervousness, was still there.
I know what I’m doing, I know my material, what marks to hit, yet I’m still feeling nervous right before I start and just after I finish, I don’t get it. I google to see if other seasoned actors feel this way, maybe it goes after time - nope.
You just learn to deal with it, the anxiety, the sweat, the throwing up before performing (like a ritual one said) and it wasn’t just limited to actors, singers, dancers, performers of all kinds felt that way.
So I’m just stuck like this?
I asked myself, what if you didn’t feel this way, how much time and energy would you save that can be better used for the performance, how much less stressed would you be, there has to be a better way.
"I had a new goal and a new question that would make acting take a back seat"
Does it really have to be this way - do you always need to be nervous before you audition, or take to the stage, or before you take your mark. What if it wasn’t this way?
Needless to say this became my work and is what I do today.
However I have to say, if you really want to do it however are shy, I advise you to start it, you never know what may come out of it.
And as you are doing it, if you ever want to get over your shyness, to make things easier, to make your performance come alive, let me know,
Until next time,