Confidence is hugely important for an actor. You need to have a lot of self-belief if you’re going to put yourself out there and find work, but even more fundamentally you need it when acting if you are going to convince others with your performance.
While it’s certainly true that some people seem more naturally confident than others, it’s not just down to a mix of genetics and having the right upbringing! Whoever you are, no matter how naturally confident you feel, you can learn to believe in yourself as an actor if you take the right steps.
Know your stuff
People often say you have to “fake it ‘til you make it”, but wouldn’t you rather not have to fake it? This is very much the philosophy behind method acting – we don’t want you to fake anything, we want you to learn how to unlock your potential and harness what’s already inside you to create something real.
This is how you increase your confidence as an actor too. The goal is not to learn how to mimic what you imagine confidence looks like! We want you to put the work in to gain the skills and experience so you will feel genuinely confident in your abilities. After all, if you know you’ve got the chops, why wouldn’t you feel confident about it?
Faking confidence (if you can pull it off) might well open a lot of doors for you, but when you’re up on stage or in front of a camera, if that confidence isn’t based on something real, it will soon show. Being exposed for a fraud won’t do anything for your long term confidence, so make sure you really know what you’re doing and your confidence will continue to grow with each success.
There’s a reason the Scouts have “be prepared” as their motto. They believe that if you always know “the right thing to do at the right moment” you will be able to cope with any situation. This is the root of confidence – believing you can handle any situation you find yourself in. So how do you do that as an actor?
Preparing for an audition or performance includes the obvious things, like learning your lines, researching your role and looking the part, but there’s more to it than that. Method acting means learning how to produce genuine emotion on demand, so that whatever feelings you are required to portray as an actor, you know you can call them up when needed.
Having a repeatable process for doing this means you can deliver the goods every time and you’re not leaving anything to chance. Method acting training teaches you how to develop that repeatable process so you can always be prepared for whatever is required of you as an actor.
All the training in the world will…help you a lot, actually! But it’s also important to get out there and get experience. Building confidence means having the courage to go outside your comfort zone and show yourself that you can not only survive out there, but thrive.
For an actor, this means getting out there and actually acting in front of people over and over until it no longer seems so scary. However nervous you might be before a performance, getting through it and to the applause at the end is guaranteed to help build your acting confidence.
Whether you have to start small in local theatre productions or amateur short films or are lucky enough to get professional work right away it all helps. Putting yourself out there and doing it, succeeding and then doing it again is the way to build genuine self-belief that will help propel you to each next step in your career.
Learn from the best
Copy successful people and you’ll have the confidence of knowing that what you’re doing works. After all, if something works for Robert De Niro or Christian Bale, why wouldn’t it work for you? Knowing you are using a winning formula is one of the surest ways to boost your self-confidence as an actor. And what is that winning formula? Why, method acting, of course!
80% of Oscar winning actors this century have been method actors, which really ought to tell you something. And if they can do it, so can you! These Academy Award winners have provided a blueprint for acting success that you can learn to emulate. Do that and you’ll be absolutely justified in believing you have the necessary skills to give a great performance. And once you know that, then guess what? Everyone else will be able to see it too!
Gaining confidence in yourself and your acting abilities certainly isn’t an overnight job, but with the right help and the willingness to learn and apply yourself you can become as confident as anyone.
Looking for a way to really build acting confidence? Why not apply for our 2016-17 Ultimate Acting Programme starting in October? The deadline for applications is 8th June and auctions are taking place on 15th June. Need to know more? Please feel free to get in touch with your questions.