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In The Booth: Anxious & Worried?
Flip It With An 'Ode To Success'
By Danielle Quisenberry
Voice Talent & Edge Studio Coach
One of the things I've noticed over years of teaching, coaching and facilitating a variety of different art forms is that HOW you say it counts.
For instance, I notice that when I coach with non-judgmental language, clients relax.
When I focus on teaching the "whole person" - using neutral or supportive language - the results are more immediate and more profound than if I begin by negating the work.
This is true no matter what level of technique the talent has, and regardless of how early the student is on the path of voice-over or acting study.
That doesn't mean we don't acknowledge problems or seek to change beliefs and behaviors that don't serve progress. It just means that we do it without judging the status quo.
We artists are typically hard on ourselves! Teachers, coaches and professional talents are not excepted from this tendency.
We sometimes say things to ourselves in our heads or in private, that we would never dream of saying to someone we value.
So how do we soften the self-critic - to one that acknowledges our challenges without judgment?
It has been said that success is an inside game played with outward physical action.
The object of the "success game" is to focus on what you want, and to keep your mind off what you don't want - because whatever you fear or defend against will usually become your reality.
Thoughts are indeed things.
Thoughts are vibrations and waves that send signals which are broadcast out. Other people are picking up your signals. Our self-talk, be it negative or positive, has a vibrational frequency that other people read.
As Sanford Meisner says, we have the abililty to stay in the moment or to keep that self-talk positive.
Actors often joke about being or not being "in the moment," but it is true that if we are focused fully on what we are actually doing, we can't be listening to the negative self-talk that may be generating nervous tension or stage fright in the booth.
If you are "in the moment," great.
But if the nervousness has already begun, try this helpful technique: just witness what is occurring.
Take some time. A resourceful question to ask yourself could go like this ...
What is the probable effect of what I'm being, thinking or doing in this moment?
Answer that question, and then adjust your being, thinking or doing according to the outcome you most desire.
Witness your thoughts and feelings, and as with all techniques a coach suggests, evaluate the technique based on your own results.
Only you can determine which techniques are resourceful for you.
Anxiety is usually generated by some kind of fear.
Write down your negative self-talk or any fear you can articulate - no matter how silly you think it might be.
Then flip it to the positive and throw away your negative thoughts. 
This generates positive self-talk to replace that old script. You don't need it anymore!
Write out your new script and record it in your own voice. Voice it in the style of an inspirational read.
For example, below is a fictitious negative script, followed by a positive one. Read them, and then try your own.
Have fun! Be crazy good!
Celebrate your brilliance with a lot of smile and a full-body release. You deserve it!
On a tough day, a talent might be thinking something non-resourceful like this ...
I hate this production house .... The booth is like a football field-away from the engineer, and the tech people are always changing .... This is a really important job and could mean a lot of repeat business .... I've worked with this producer before and she always has me back but today I feel like she's testing me .... Putting me through my paces ... If I'm not delivering .... Why do they ...?... Maybe the first-choice talent wasn't available .... And that table in the back is so long! .... They never tell me who's sitting back there ....The producer, the ad guys, the “extra” writers, the client .... And his whole office, the intern's girlfriend .... Who knows? .... I never know anyone's name and I always end up trying too hard and saying the wrong thing .... I'm afraid they don't like working with me .... I hope that doesn't happen today .... Cause man .... I could really use the money!
Now flip the negative self-talk to an Ode to Success. For instance ...
I am always comfortable in the booth .... I work in a state of dynamic relaxation .... All my gigs go smoothly .... I bring my jobs in quickly and creatively .... My clients are always happy with my work .... And they like me - they really like me - I am so much fun to be around .... I am generous and at ease meeting people and asking their names .... I remember names easily and generate a wonderful rapport with everyone I meet .... I handle challenging people and difficult situations with grace and compassion .... My clients and I have fun collaborating every time .... The bigger the team on the other side of the glass, the more fun we have! .... I feel safe in a room full of advertising executives .... I am at home when I am taking direction .... I am free in my body and my mind at all times .... I belong here! I love being in the booth!
Put up your Ode in your home office and keep a copy in your audition bag. Pull it out anytime you need a boost.
And there are plenty of additional resources to help you through those negative days. For instance:
Check out Acting Success Now, Robert and Michelle Colt teach inspiring workshops.
Go to Learn how to adjust your vibrations. No, really! Watch the video on tapping out your cortices.
And if you haven't already, please read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I've read it seven times. 5 stars!
And always feel free to call, write or visit me at Edge Studio.
Danielle Quisenberry is an actor and voice talent, and a coach and producer at Edge Studio in New York City. A 20-year veteran teacher, coach and facilitator, she has a degree in Acting Performance from the University of Michigan, a certificate of Radio and Television Production Performance from Specs Howard School of Broadcast Art, and is a New York Innovative Theatre Award nominee. She has also been on the faculty or an artist in residence at many performance training facilities in New York City and nationwide. Her voice acting work includes credits with many major companies, and includes radio and TV commercials, Internet and software narrations, instructional films, telephony, live performance and interactive animation. She also teaches and performs as an International Standard Ballroom Dancer.


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