How Good Was My Acting Performance?

How Do I Know If My Performance Was Any Good?

How Do I Know If My Performance Was Any Good?

How do you know if the performance that you gave was any good? Critics liked it? What if no critics attended? Did the audience laugh? What if it was mainly friends and family - and what if it isn’t the kind of show that attracted constant laughter? What if I am performing on camera? - Quite often a film director will move onto the next shot without praise or comment to produce closure to that moment.

How do we know then if we are doing any good? 

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We all want to be good - well, ideally very good. But how can we know? 

The idea that we will ‘know’ when it’s good is something of a fallacy. Quite often actors have expressed their doubts about their own performance on a night that I’ve felt they really hit all the right buttons. 

The truth is rather unsettling. We probably can’t tell whether it’s any good. 

At least, not without reference points.  

What we don’t want to do, is to be asking ourselves, how is my performance - while you are performing. So, how do we deal with this? 

We must create a set of criteria - on which we can later reflect. This should be a list of things that happen, and then we must consider them without judgement.

For instance:

  1. The Fight - During the fight, how well did I manage to clear SIR ANDREW fully when I jumped over him?

  2. How well did I increase the energy and pace in each chunk of the monologue?

  3. How well am I engaging my diaphragm in each scene?

  4. Am I hitting the last word in every verse line with energy?

When we reflect, we must be honest with ourselves without being critical.

For instance:

  1. I did not clear him well enough. What can I do? I need to place my hands more firmly on his back and push down to clear him successfully.

  2. Yes, but I notice on reflection that if I start as low energy, I have a lot of work to do, if I start my increase at a higher level, it won’t be so hard.

  3. I noticed that I am in the scene with the flamingo, because I am sitting, I didn’t engage my diaphragm as normal. That’s something I will be sure to give attention to tonight.

This is the only way to know how you have done and to actively improve things. 

We want to be good, but focusing on how good doesn’t lead to being good. Focusing specifically on those things which improve a performance, LEAD to being good. Good is the end result of focus on the process. Focusing on process related feedback from yourself or from the director is the only way to know if you’re any good or not. 

If you’re looking for a coach to improve your next performance, we coach every level of performer from beginnings to award winners at Acting Coach Scotland. 

Best Wishes



Mark Westbrook is the Course Leader of the 2-YEAR HND Acting and Performance course at Acting Coach Scotland. To audition - get in touch today.

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