Self-Analysis September 2016
As an individual I feel I am pretty in tune with my areas of the strengths and weaknesses in all aspects of my life as well as performing arts, and strive to work on these in order to improve and grow as a person and obviously a performer. I have been struggling with the decision as to whether I should apply for Musical Theatre courses or straight acting courses for a considerable amount of time now and just as I think I have made a decision something will try and sway me again! After much deliberation and research, including talking to industry professionals, I have realised that I need to play to my strengths and be clear as to the pathway I want to get into the industry. From what I know, it seems an acting course will suit the kind of training that I want and the kind of acting I see myself doing after graduating; I can see myself benefiting from more in depth training that really delves into character and the technique and thoughts behind acting, and have the luxury of really exploring the plays and thoughts behind the performance fully, which I don’t think I’d get on an MT course when the focus is split over three disciplines. As well as this, I know that dancing is not a strength of mine and that I will never be a chorus girl who will be needing the intense dance training on an MT course, as once I am graduated I would never be put forward for those kind of the parts, whereas if I did an acting course and kept up with my singing there would be no reason as to why I couldn’t be cast in a musical that was acting based. After a great deal of research I also discovered that most good Drama Schools have singing as a compulsory part of the syllabus anyway, as well as basic dance and movement which I know would suit me far more. Despite this, I am still enthusiastic about working to improving my dance skills and technique as it is yet another skill that it is important for any actress to have, whether they want to go into musical theatre or otherwise!
Although I am more confident in my acting ability and am desperate to pursue this, I know my own self confidence and tough self-criticism does hold me back a great deal. I think it is difficult to self-evaluate oneself on your acting ability as unlike singing or dancing there is no definitive way to measure someone’s skill or technique, it is a lot more subjective but it is also a lot more black and white as to whether you believe an actor’s performance or not. Despite all this, I know from my previous achievements and feedback from my previous performances in productions that I am capable and produce truthful and natural performances. This has shown me that despite my doubts in myself at times I obviously have the skills needed to pursue my acting further.
My strengths within the Acting disciple would probably be character driven work as I really enjoy using the text to delve into the characters and discover the reasons as to why they are doing and saying certain things. My ambition over the last few years has been to focus on my naturalistic acting and getting real truth and emotion in my performance and I think I am really starting to achieve this: I’ve found the more in tune you are with a character and text the more believable the acting will be. Although I feel like I’m starting to achieve this more and more, I am determined to keep working on this and be as truthful and natural as possible on stage no matter what the role!
I feel that I have not done any comedic acting recently and this is definitely an area I think I need to revisit as I used to be really confident with it when I was much younger and don’t want to lose this skill. I think I need to explore some comedic monologues and try and involve myself in groups such as improvability so get used to these kind of situations as I know they are often used as exercises in auditions for drama schools in the workshops.
I have had a great deal of singing experience after having been involved in several choirs and close harmony singing groups over the years, as well as having private singing lessons where I have worked on technique and developing my voice and performance skills. I feel this is one of my strengths in performing and something that I will continue to work on and develop my voice and acting through song over the next year and in particularly in preparation for my drama school auditions. I think some of the areas that need the most work in my voice is my upper vocal range, for the more legit styles and golden age period; I have been given a range of various vocal exercises in order to strengthen and improve this part of my voice. I am starting to lose my confidence in my singing ability in recent months and hope that the more I work on the areas of my voice I am the most self-critical and insecure about the happier and more confident I will be. I know I used to have a quite strong belt voice however, I also think that this is weaker than as it was as I haven’t been singing at the standard and discipline I should have been to maintain this skill, so I will also be working on this in my lessons.
As a great deal of my drama school auditions are for acting courses I will also need to have some unaccompanied songs in my portfolio for these auditions, and therefore will need to work on the softer more lyrical side of my voice that would suit folk songs.
Dancing has always been the discipline that I have struggled with the most which I think is down to several components. Firstly, my lack of experience in dancing due to never attended formal dance lessons at a dance school meant I always felt extremely behind everyone else who was more naturally gifted in it and had been dancing from a young age. As well as this, the fact that physically I have always been very inflexible has meant that I have struggled more in classes which has then put me off as I have always found it very difficult to pursue things that I don’t feel I am any good at! I have always had a massive issue with doubting my abilities and having an overwhelming fear of going wrong and not being good at something, which has added to my self-consciousness and stopped me from participating and then subsequently made this cycle start again meaning I never improved or conquered this.
The Physical side of it is something I am beginning to learn to manage, accept and deal with as I am fairly sure it is a genetic thing as most of my family have extremely short hamstrings and are also not very flexible, mainly as a result of doing a great deal of intense cross country running from a very young age which is known to tighten the tendons and shorten the hamstrings making the muscles less elasticated.
While I have tried working on this in the past I often ended up rushing the process and overdoing it all, resulting in injuring myself and resetting all my progress. However, this time I am making sure I work on limbering in a more controlled manner to ensure I do it safely and properly; so I have taken up Yoga and Body Balance classes to start this off and start making improvements.
Before breaking up for the summer I started ballet and Tap classes outside of college to gain better technique and confidence in those styles and I feel it has really paid off. I can now do steps in tap that would have completely thrown me before and I have much more confidence in ballet and a much better of understanding of the technique behind all of the exercises and steps. I think one of my biggest problems is the fear of going wrong (due to be a perfectionist) which holds me back especially when I am around people I know or that I feel I need to prove myself to – however, in these classes outside of college I could reinvent myself a bit more and approach it all with a new attitude and I think it really helped me!