We asked last year’s Spotlight Prize nominees to share the advice they’d give to anyone preparing for a showcase this year. Here’s what they said…
Pick a piece that excites you. It’s great when it sparks something in you personally. One of my acting tutors always said with any script, you have to ask yourself “what is this like for me?” or “what in my life has made me feel similar?” and sometimes it’s easier to find those connections in certain pieces than in others. A speech you instantly recognise parts of yourself in is always exciting, and something that you are going to find easier working on by yourself. If you can, it’s great to do your monologue to someone else to get those real reactions, and this helps the monologue feel responsive. You recognise what you want from the other person, and where the shift is in the speech. I was very grateful that my best friend jumped on Zoom to give me a hand.
Choose a piece that you connect with, that feels like an aspect of you. Do your monologue to someone. Voice any ideas you have that you want to try out when filming. Don’t put pressure on yourself or overthink things – you got this.
Trust yourself, relax and follow your gut when choosing a piece. I think your best work comes from a place of ease. You have been chosen for the Showcase because you have the capabilities for it, so trust that you can do this and just commit to the choices that are true to you.
Go with your gut. Always. If you can see yourself doing it and you are wanting to share it, go for it. Breathe, believe in yourself and prepare. Always be prepared. Let go in the room and have fun.
My advice would be to begin looking for a piece as early as you can so you have a chance to wear it for a little bit, and if it doesn’t feel right you can essentially put it back on the rack. Find a piece that really resonates with you. I’m sure you’ve been told this, but it’s so true. You want to feel that the world will be changed after you’ve spoken. Don’t think about making it the most dramatic or emotional or something that has that ‘wow’ factor. It must be personal to how you feel. It’s very easy to become more concerned with who will be watching it and what they might think. You have a job to do, seek to impact who you’re talking to. This lifts the words into action! Prepare vigorously, then let go when performing, and be free enough to let the words take you wherever they may.
Pick a speech that you love, not one that you think other people might like.
Don’t do something to try and impress anyone, be it your mum, a teacher, or even the panel. Do something because you feel like the piece’s truth feels like your own to the point that you believe no else could quite do it the way you will. And just be you. It is sometimes hard during a showcase, but it will be enough. They just want to believe what you are saying and going through. That’s when you’ll hang around in their minds just that little bit longer.
Make sure you choose a piece that shows you off completely, that you love performing, and something you can have fun with. Stay calm, and don’t stress. If you have put the work in before then everything will fall into place on the day.
I would definitely encourage you to treat it as an opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience more than a competition. Have the most fun, try and get the most out of your auditions by asking questions, know your piece thoroughly and ENJOY it.
Probably the most typical one, but literally always play to your strengths. When you’ve only got one shot, show the best of you.
Figure out what you’re exceptional at and then do the complete opposite. Challenge yourself to feel as confident as you would if you were in your own wheelhouse, because there’s always going to be things that you’re unfamiliar with and enjoying the process of learning is half the battle.
Make sure you don’t forget that you enjoy acting and just do your thing!
I would say be kind to yourself. Trust your instinct. Choose a piece that you will enjoy working on and don’t question it. What really helped me was putting in the work beforehand to feel confident when I walked into the room. But don’t overwork it! I wanted to allow myself to be as present as I could be, in that moment, and available for any new discoveries. And finally, I’d say have fun with it!
Be mentally ready to go. Enjoy and explore every moment of the character. Have fun and listen to your partner.
Find something you genuinely really like and enjoy doing and something that clicks with you on some level. It’s so easy to look to other people to see what “worked” for them, but at the end of the day you are your own person and you want something that works for you.
“Silence then a few words” – It’s a short space of time, so find a piece that could be a version of you that grabs the audience and leaves them with something to momentarily sit with. Bish bash bosh. Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.
Trust yourself and your instincts. Find something that you’re passionate about or something that means something to you. I think you just know when you write or find the right piece that showcases you. I think it’s important to take ownership of the work and do it for yourself and no one else.
Main photo by Joanna Nicole