10 Tips for Pre-Show Preparation

It’s minutes before showtime. You are in your dressing room—or the converted storage space that passes as one. You’re nervous, excited, joking with cast-mates, flirting with crew members, hoping your agent showed up, and wondering where everyone’s going for the after-party. All of a sudden, you hear the stage manager call “Places!” Suddenly you realize your makeup’s not done, your costume’s missing, and you can’t remember your first line. What is your motivation? What show are you doing? What do you do to keep panic away so you can get on with the shoot?

That is the nature of the business—show business, that is. So much goes into putting on a production, and yet the final product has to come across as effortless in order for audiences to get drawn into it. That is why entertainers of all types have to be relaxed, warmed up, and focused before a performance. Dancers stretch, singers vocalize, actors run lines. Models and mimes make up their faces; stand-up comics and circus performers say a prayer.

Some people sit quietly by themselves, some meet for group circles, some peek out at the audience, some even put on their lucky socks. The rituals and exercises that players employ as they take the stage are always intriguing and often integral to a successful production.

Whether they are gossiping in the green room or concentrating behind the curtain, performers anticipate the moment the show begins with a mixture of euphoria and fear. Physical, vocal, and mental warm-ups are only a part of the picture.

Here are 10 tips for making the most of your pre-show preparation:

— Prepare your mind and your body ahead of time

— Make sure to get enough rest the night before

— Try not to stress out

— Don’t overeat before a performance

— Do controlled breathing and relaxation exercises

— Arrive early so you are not rushing to get ready

— Run through your lines

— Check your costume and props

— Walk the stage area

— Participate in group warm-ups

Just like the theatre, film and television sets have their own unique atmosphere and energy before a shoot. Sets are being built or dressed, cameras and cables are in motion, and the general pace is fast and frenetic. Actors working in these mediums need to adjust their preparatory routines to properly hit their marks and make the most of their time in front of the cameras.