There’s an old saying: We’re born with two ears and one mouth and should use them in that proportion. I think those wise words were crafted with nervous actors in mind.
People often talk too much out of nervousness. I’ve seen actors become so anxious, skittish, and self-conscious in professional settings that they talked themselves out of jobs, representation, and future opportunities. There’s tremendous power in your ability to focus your mind, settle your nerves, and remain quiet.
Early in my career, I worked with a well known star who was many years older than me. We had a lot in common and became friends, in spite of an age difference of more than four decades. This gentleman had been a series regular on a TV show I watched as a child. He was friendly, gracious and humble. He was also willing to share his vast knowledge and expertise on the business of show.
Over lunch, he would tell stories of his old time show biz glory days in Hollywood and New York. I soaked up his war stories and business advice like a sponge.
He became an unofficial mentor. I learned a lot from my famous friend. But I would have never learned anything if I had been running my mouth, talking about my own auditions and jobs, and trying to impress him.
I let him talk and let myself listen. In the process, I let myself learn. If there’s someone around you can learn from, get in the habit of listening more than you speak. In the long run, you’ll have a lot more to say.
Scenes for Teens
Acting Scenes for Kids and Tweens