Intense but Relaxed – Acting with Confidence

Gabriel Byrne on auditions

“It’s important to present oneself as relaxed and confident..”

Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne commented that the audition process “is really a most inadequate way to determine if an actor is right or not for a particular role. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that most actors have to accept.

“Work on developing an unshakable trust in yourself and your talent. It’s important to present oneself as relaxed and confident even when you don’t feel it.”

From the book: How to Get the Part… Without Falling Apart! by Margie Haber

More Books: acting

[Photo from Gabriel Byrne: ‘Brooding? I don’t even know what that means’, The Guardian.]

Too much of a good thing

In her article Relax into acting, Colleen Wainwright notes, “It’s great to have a little fire in your belly. But if you’re reading this, my guess is that your problem, if you have one, lies in the other direction. Because too much ambition, ferocity, gung-ho-ness is death to good acting, bad for the health, and not particularly attractive in an audition situation either.”

She adds, “We’ve all seen it: that high-strung actor who’s so intent on saying his next line, he’s barely listening for his cue. Or maybe (ahem) you’ve actually been that person on stage, having a scene go by you in a blur, kicking yourself for letting the scene play you instead of the other way around.

“For the speed-meisters, the simplest, easiest ‘hack’ to help you regain control of yourself in the moment is literally to stop yourself ever so briefly before responding in a scene. Take a beat and take in your partner, or, if it’s a monologue, the situation; let yourself check in with how you’re feeling and how your partner is feeling before moving on.”

See her article for more suggestions.

Intensity vs anxiety

It isn’t that high energy is “wrong” – and it is sometimes called intensity or excitability.

Giftedness consultant Lesley Sword describes this in her article Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children as “an abundance of physical, sensual, creative, intellectual and emotional energy that can result in creative endeavours as well as advanced emotional and ethical development in adulthood. Overexcitabilities feed, enrich, empower and amplify talent.”

But there seems to be an enduring mythology about creative inspiration and performing as an actor, for example, that it benefits from an “edge” of nervous tension or even anxiety.

Creativity coach and author Eric Maisel, PhD comments in our interview Ten Zen Seconds (about his book) that this really is a false and distorting idea:

“It isn’t at all clear that tension or anxiety is what’s needed for peak performance and lifelong creativity,” he says.

“They may be unavoidable by-products of the difficulties that we face as we try to do large things and connected to our fear of failing, fear of making messes and mistakes, and so on, but they are not beneficial per se.”

Passion without anxiety

“You want enthusiasm, passion, love, curiosity, interest, and so on to inform your work and to exist right in the moment, in the performance moment or the creative moment, while at the same reducing (or eliminating) your fears, worries, anxieties, and so on.

“Creating is not an energy-neutral state: it is a high energy state, with, at its healthiest, enthusiasm and not anxiety driving its engine.”

From my post To create we need high energy – not anxiety.


Also see Overcoming Stage Fright and other Anxiety Relief Solutions, and Self-esteem Products / Programs.


Article publié pour la première fois le 23/10/2015