Acting Choke-Up

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On Tuesday, I would’ve been doing a four-week online acting workshop that would be my first class in years. I didn’t bounce, it was actually cancelled.

But I almost bounced.
There’s a lot to be said about my anxiety, and being a dramatic, all-encompassing bitch is definitely one of them. Dramatic might not be the word.

Let me explain.

I haven’t done any acting stuff for a while now – not only classes or workshops, but auditions, roles, even a headshot – so I’m rusty like one would be with anything that haven’t resumed in a while.

The thing with acting is that there’s two main components; the dialogue you have to memorise and the actual acting; putting those words into context for the character, the scene, the emotions and thoughts that go with it. You know what I’m getting at.

The first thoughts in my head were about my weight. Trying to stop my weight gain and be just a steady weight has been the most difficult thing these past six years, and a real diagnosis for that has been elusive. I don’t think I need to tell you how hard it is to do any acting or extra work as a not-slim person, you’ve probably already seen if it you watch anything ever. There’s only so many “funny token fat girl” or “grumpy slob fat girl” roles that can be filled! Big and going for any short films, even unpaid? Forget it.

That thought didn’t really last long as this was a class, and classes make you really see the pool of talent, regardless of age, race, etc. It’s not about competition (although it kind of is when your workshop is taught by a casting director, but I’ll leave that for another time).
No, the thing that was worrying the most was any homework or exercise where I’d have to memorise lines.
My brain these days is like Silent Hill. It’s foggy, rarely clear, and there’s a guy with a pyramid on his head.

 

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Okay Pyramid Head isn’t in there but look at this beefy boy.

 

Learning lines in a short amount of time is not my strong suit, especially times when it has to be word-for-word said. At previous workshops – like that one with the casting agent mentioned above – my memorising really crippled my performance, and if you can’t remember your lines, your anxiety-possessed brain shuts down where the scene was going and the emotions that go with it. So you just sit there, flustered and trying to get a grasp of what the hell you’re even doing.

That’s what was going on in my head. I was trying to do all the mindfulness crap of psych exercises before, but when your brain thinks ahead to interacting with others and all the subconscious planning that goes into any meeting like this, it’s hard to get your brain to stop or keep one aspect of your planning in a ‘gray area’.
Thanks to my friend seeing me virtually panic over chat, she reminded me that this should be fun and I’m doing something I enjoyed. After wiping my little panic tears and mulling it over silently for a few minutes, I knew she was right, and most likely would be kicking myself in hindsight if I didn’t sign up.

Then I got a call saying it was cancelled!

That’s okay though, it made me feel more confident in the next wave of workshop openings and actually feeling better about whatever I enrol in next, which should be in the coming weeks.

..That’s if it isn’t on during jury duty! But that’s for another day.

 

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