Ten top tips: Cameron Rhodes
Auckland-based director and teacher Cameron Rhodes shares his thoughts on how to make the most of every casting and performance opportunity.
Cameron Rhodes is a founding board member and tutor at The Actors’ Program and a vice-president of Equity NZ. He regularly directs and teaches acting and voice around New Zealand, as well as working in Australia, where he recently appeared in Rake and Secrets & Lies.
1.Grounding. A great technique to get yourself focused and ‘in the zone’. Take a moment to notice how you are feeling physically, what thoughts you are having and where you are emotionally. Keep an awareness of this, then also focus out, awakening your senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch. Keep the awareness of the inside and outside, and ground yourself in the environment by focusing out. You can do this in a few seconds, and it is great just before going into an audition or on-stage/on-set.
2.Breath. Extend this awareness to your breath. Take a few deep breaths, really relaxing your lower belly on the in-breath, and engaging the lower-belly muscles on the out-breath.
3.Voice. A short vocal warm-up can really help with feeling and being ‘in the zone’. Even if short of time, do it walking to audition or rehearsal, or in the car. Humming quietly up and down your range, a few yawns and a couple of tongue twisters can really help.
4.Visualisation. Having a ‘mental rehearsal’ in which you see the audition, rehearsal or performance going well can be a great way to help with nerves. Envisage yourself connecting with fellow performers and enjoying the event.
5.Positive self-talk. Give yourself positive, affirming messages, and be aware of any negative phrases. Let them go; you don’t need them.
6.Positive post-mortem. After the audition or performance, be kind to yourself, acknowledging what went well and what was a learning experience.
7.Risk. Try new things; play outside your comfort zone. Look for the turning points and sharp changes in a scene – the risky, unusual choice.
8.Gifts. If something doesn’t go to plan, this can be a great opportunity or gift. Sometimes a mistake can lead to amazing moments in an audition or performance.
9.Feedback. We all need feedback. Even if it seems a basic or silly question, asking for clarification or information can make all the difference.
10.Self-belief. Be your own best supporter. In the roller-coaster world of auditions, networking, downtime, being in the studio, on-set or on-stage, there are challenges, both exciting and difficult. Being your best support team can only help!