When working with aspiring performers, whatever their age or level of work, the first and most critical ingredient for success is good attitude. If the performer does not present themselves in the best possible light, how can they possibly expect to be successful in the performing arts industry?
Aspiring performers are often seen to work very hard to develop their skills and prepare themselves to shine in auditions. Whilst these performance skills (e.g. vocal skills or stage presence) are obviously fundamental to your success as a performer, the importance of presenting yourself with a good attitude and a positive work ethic is widely underestimated. Exactly what do we mean by a ‘good attitude’ and a ‘positive work ethic’? Well, we’ve broken this down into four key areas. Each area is crucial for success and some of the information below is stating the obvious. However, you would be surprised at the number of aspiring performer who forget about these small things and how much they mean to the people you are trying to impress:
1 – Manners: It sounds obvious and many of you will already have perfect manners at rehearsals and auditions but you would be surprised at the number of wannabes who forget the basics. If in rehearsals or auditions a director, musical director or choreographer enjoys working with you because you have a calm, collected and pleasant manner, you will make an enormous impression. For this to happen, you must remember that basic manners go a long way. So, don’t ever forget those Ps and Qs and make sure you recognise every piece of help and advice you are given.
2 – Attention: The attitude and work ethic of a performer is clear from how attentive they are when they are working. Not only should you be attentive in order to produce your best work but you are also showing respect for the director, musical director and choreographer you are working with. You may never get to know who the director is connected to or what contacts the choreographer has, so you should always try to present yourself as an attentive and hard-working performer. Fully engage with the material you are performing and take full notice of every instruction you are given and, finally, make sure you have good posture at all times unless the material or your character requires otherwise.
3 – Determination: The performing arts industry is renowned for being extremely competitive and full of struggling performers trying to earn a living. The performers who establish a stable and successful career in the performing arts industry demonstrate skill, energy and, above all, determination. Whatever stage you are at, determination and hard-work will help you get to the next level of your career. If you’re training, you need to show you have the determination to develop your performance skills and become a successful performer. If you’re auditioning for a production, you need to show the determination to get the part but, more importantly, you need to demonstrate to the audition panel that you have the determination to help make their show the best it can possibly be. The determination you put into your work will reap the rewards you deserve and will help you to present a good attitude and a positive work ethic to those around you.
4 – Energy: This is probably the most important area of the four because if you don’t have the energy to do any of these things, how will you possibly be successful? Sometimes, it’s difficult to find the energy to be a bright, bubbly character and to show full attention through a long hard rehearsal and to demonstrate you have the determination to succeed. At these times, you need to simply remind yourself of what you are doing, what you want and your passion for the performing arts. In addition, look after yourself – eat and sleep well – because when the tough gets going, you will need every ounce of energy. However, if you can find the energy to commit to your work, you will shine as a performer and you will achieve your aspirations.