Focus is one of the most important aspects an actor must learn.
With the right focus comes determination and endurance, allowing you to overcome any obstacle you’ll face in your acting.
Focus is the ability to see a task get accomplished. I have learned it’s so necessary to have it, not only in acting, but also in life.
Heck, it takes a ton of focus to write this blog.
“The Why” Examined
When literally everything seems to distract you from your goal and you’ve got a million and one other goals to accomplish, that’s when focus is needed.
When you’re in an audition and your mind and heart are both racing, and there’s so much to consider, that’s when focus is needed. I want to tell you about how I became focused in my acting and how it translates to the daily.
When I had my first audition I was nervous and could feel the anxiety churning within me. As I read my lines and interacted with the reader and panel before me I became conscious of my nerves and it really showed.
My ability and confidence were both put to the side, resulting in a mediocre performance. And it was all due to the fact that I wasn’t focused.
The same thing happens to me when there is a lot of work to be done and I think about all of it and become overwhelmed at the amount of tasks that need to be completed. In those moments I lack the focus needed to complete the tasks.
For me, focus has been a bit of an issue. I can get quite bored with what I am doing if there’s no variety, and so if I need to sit down and complete a task that is time-consuming or flat out uninteresting then I find myself getting off track.
Emotions also played a huge part in distracting me during auditions. Unpleasant nervous emotions would threaten to plague me before and during my audition. Ironically, I would focus more on trying to be less nervous than the part I was auditioning for.
But after I recognised that I needed to focus in work and in my acting, I tried different techniques and found that if I am able to focus on a single task, complete it, and then move on to the next task, I find I am able to accomplish a lot more.
This can be the same for auditions.
When preparing for an audition we can tend to psych ourselves out, putting more pressure on ourselves than what was actually there in the first place.
“The How” Examined
By focusing not on things that would naturally make you more nervous but solely on your role and what you can do, you can accomplish what you set out to get done.
On the one part it’s all about focus but also focusing on the right things. I find if I’m able to focus on the right things then I am able to be productive with the time I’m given.
But if I focus on the wrong things then I tend to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
One thing about auditions, the auditioners are looking to see how relaxed you are among everything else. And the way to be relaxed or seem relaxed is by focussing on your role, knowing your lines like the back of your hand, and by not choosing to focus on the things that will stress you out.
When I focused on things like “how I was going to do” or “if I was going to get the part or not”, I ended up being so self-conscious and not objective oriented that I would naturally become nervous.
It’s really bad to focus on those things before an audition, but even worse if you focus on them during an audition.
That’s why it’s crucial we know what we are doing and why we are doing it. With these seemingly simple things in mind, we are able to draw focus onto things that are more important.
And so when I was able to focus purely on the character and make confident decisions, giving myself time to prepare, I was so much more relaxed and comfortable with the pressures of auditioning.
With focus, you can punch auditions in the face.
Not only in auditions either, but in every aspect of acting, whether it be researching a role, developing a character, or when on set, every moment focus is called for.
So I would argue that focus is one of the most important things for the actor to learn, and how in work and auditions it’s critical to focus on the right things and endure to the end.