Visualization, Part II: Visualization for Actors

I am so excited about sharing some tools for visualizing and manifesting with actors as I can’t think of a more perfect craft for which such tools will be immensely helpful!

So, the scientific evidence is in! Mindfulness meditation can affect and change your brain significantly including how the brain grows,  with this, meditation and visualization can have powerful positive effects on your creativity.

In addition to helping you improve in an audition setting, meditation and visualization can help you:

1.If you feel creatively stuck.

2. If you feel anxious about an upcoming audition or performance.

3. If you feel unsure about your specific acting career-path (e.g., “Should I focus on theater and move to NYC? Should I stay in LA and work in film . . . ?”).

Let’s start with #1: If you feel creatively stuck, the first thing you can do is find a quiet spot to relax (turn off your gadgets, of course!) and do some breathing; just concentrate on your breath. That’s all. Think only of your breath, and let all other thoughts fall away. Then acknowledge (to yourself) that you are feeling creatively stuck and you need some guidance: you are, in essence, learning to access your inner-wisdom–or, as some call it, “higher power” or “higher self”–whatever words resonate with you.  When you quiet your mind and ask for this help, something inside you will shift and allow the answers to emerge. You will find that, by doing this work, it will help you become more aware and focused. It will help you see opportunities that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. You might spot an advertisement in a trade paper (or in the Cast It newsletter! :-) )  that leads you to an acting opportunity, etc. If you don’t believe me, try it; you’ll see!

#2. If you feel anxious about an upcoming audition or performance, start with the first steps (listed above in italics). Then, once you are in your deep relaxation, think about the specifics of what is causing your anxiety, e.g., are you worried about an audition room filled with other actors or “competitors”? Are you worried about how you will perform on stage the next day? Think about whatever the scenario is, breathe, relax, and imagine yourself doing the best you’ve ever done–imagine feeling confident, happy, and connected to the character you are playing (or auditioning for); see in your mind’s eye what it is like to “kill” the audience (or Casting Director) by making them laugh or cry or feel moved by your work. After a few of these relaxation sessions, you will start to see amazing results!

#3. If you feel unsure about your acting career-path, let’s go back to the relaxation exercise listed above in italics, then ask your “higher-self” (or your inner wisdom or whatever name you are comfortable with) for guidance. You might phrase the question (in your mind) as, “Please guide me in my career path and reveal to me where I need to focus”.  You can also add, “Whatever it is I am shown to do, I am willing to do”.  It is important for actors to know who they are in the “marketplace” and to be realistic about your ability (e.g., if you are 24, you are not going to get cast as “Medea” on Broadway), but at the same time, it is also important to “dream big” and see yourself reaching your highest potential as an actor. Meditating and visualizing the career you want for yourself  will jump start this process in very profound and exciting ways! This form of request to your sub-conscious, will give you clarity about your career-path in due time.

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Joanna Colbert began her career as a casting director in association with Juliet Taylor on Interview with a Vampire for which she conducted a nationwide search resulting in the discovery of Kirsten Dunst. Colbert then went on to work at Universal Pictures as the Manager of Casting and then Senior Vice President of Casting, overseeing such blockbusters as The Mummy series, American Pie, Meet the Parents, and Bruce Almighty. She formed Joanna Colbert Casting in 2001 and Colbert/Mento Casting in 2006. Her credits include: No Strings Attached, the Step-Up series, Cedar Rapids, The Mummy, Everything Must Go, Hollywoodland and The Good Girl. Colbert is currently producing several projects, including a documentary about casting and its influence on film titled Casting By, a feature film titled Atticus Run, The Black Version tv series and Kate McClafferty’s blog, 356 til 30.