How Do You Prepare for a Performance?

No matter your level of experience as an actor, preparing to step on stage or in front of the camera can be stressful. Often, it can help to have a pre-performance ritual or routine that calms any last-minute nerves and centers you. We asked some members of The Academy community to share the ways they like to prepare for a performance.

"I'm all about backstory and where I'm coming from right before the scene starts. While the crew is setting up the shot, makeup and hair do their touch-ups while I think about what my character is doing in the moments leading up to the scene. I think of it as gassing up the car; when 'action' is called, I'm ready to go."
-- Chelsey Crisp, 2003 graduate

"After doing all of my preparation on the script I listen to relaxing music, stretch, do breathing exercises and meditate. I do the same thing for auditions, too!"
-- Catherine Dyer, 1982 graduate

“Close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath. Imagine you have roots growing down through the stage boards, into the earth, reminding you – you are connected, and supported, and you belong.”
--Debra DeLiso, faculty

"Channel your nerves. The adrenaline you feel right before a performance is what gives live shows their edge; use it to your advantage and allow it to keep things interesting! Remember, you're not nervous, you're excited."
--Jasmine Haver, 2018 graduate

"It's not about being perfect. It's about living truthfully in the moment whatever that means on that day, in that moment, in that context."
--Tracey Beltrano, 2001 graduate

"I allow my emotions to surface by listening to music, privately with headphones, which either the character would listen to or happens to fit the theme of the character’s life or situation."
--Adam Chambers, faculty

"Before a stage show, part of my warm up is to sing an ancient Hebrew song from Psalms that goes from a very deep note to a very high one, so it opens up my vocal chords really well."
--Adam Meir, 2005 graduate

"I would put my grandmother’s old rosary from Poland in my pocket. Before going on stage, I would rub the rosary and think 'This one’s for you.'" 
--Betty Karlen, Los Angeles Company Director