Concentration is very important for actors. We use our memory and our concentration to re-create life on stage or in front of the camera. So how to improve concentration ?
Without concentration, it’s almost impossible to get things done as it leads to procrastination.
As actors, we are performers. We need to be able to perform under pressure and keep a strong concentration on stage.
Concentration is a skill that can be developped through training. Actors need to train their mind in order to be able to perform on stage. But the business of acting also requires a lot of concentration and self discipline as most of the time, you will be your own boss.
Sports psychology has produced a lot of useful research about concentration and performance.
Robert Nideffer PhD said :
« It is hard to imagine a variable more central to performance than the ability to direct and control one’s concentration »
Concentration is a limited ressource
You can’t use it on multiple things at the same time. And if you have to stay focused on something for too long, you might get tired and it will become harder to maintain your concentration.
Just as a muscle. If you it to much, you’ll get tired at some point. But if you never use it, it won’t grow. Concentration can be trained, just as a muscle. So you need to practice concentration and to get the proper rest so it will be easier to concentrate the next time.
Since concentration is a limited ressource, it is wiser to use it on relevant things.
What is relevant and what is not ?
Many authors insist that during performance as an actor, you should focus on 2 things only : your goal or objective for the scene, and your partner. You’re text is the last thing you should be focused on during performance. So it has to be dealt with earlier during the rehearsal process.
A good Meisner training will help you to improve your concentration on your partner. And a specific and meaningful goal will fuel your focus.
Improve concentration with relaxation
Concentration uses energy. Tension also uses energy.
Therefore, improved concentration is not the result of trying harder. In fact, concentration is better in a relaxed state known as the zone.
When you get in the zone, time seems to stand still or disappear. You move with ease and you have a complete focus on what you’re doing. This can happen naturally when you get involved in an activity that requires your complete focus.
You can find yourself in the zone at a moment of danger, when you have to use your physical abilities to save your life or avoid a threat.
How to improve concentration with hypnosis
Hypnosis for actors can help you increase your concentration. Hypnosis uses your imagination and focus in order to drive you in a state of focused relaxation called « trance state ».
How to improve concentration when you have so many things to do that you don’t know where to start ? Your concentration will improve the more you practice.
The first exercice will help you to enter easily into a trance state with your eyes open. You can use it anywhere to quiet your mind and improve your concentration.
The second exercice will improve your concentration by focusing your mind on your physical sensations.
Improve concentration with peripheral vision
For this first exercice, you just need to fix your eyes on a point in front of you. And with your eyes fixed, you aknowledge the objects that are in your peripheral vision, on your left, on your right, up and down. And by simply doing that, you will feel that your inner voice is getting silenced. This concentration exercice is often used by athletes and martial artists to get them in the « zone ».
Improve concentration with this hypnotic hands exercice
For this exercice, just place your hands in front of you as if you were holding a ball. Imagine this ball in your hands and start to feel as if this ball was growing. As you imagine that ball growing, allow your hands to move away from one another. You can feel as if the imaginary ball is pushing your hands. Then, imagine the ball becoming smaller, and your hands being attracted like magnets. You can play with that for as long as you wan’t !
How to improve concentration by reducing distractions
We are living in a world with constant distractions. We spend hours on facebook or email looking for the next casting call, and in the meantime we get distracted by cat pictures or wonderful pictures…
You can improve your concentration greatly by avoiding too many distractions. Train your mind to say no to distractions by limiting the distractions when working on your computer. Limit your Facebook and Twitter usage to the minimum and claim your mind back !