presence

Do you have a sensitive nervous system? [quiz]

When I ask you “Do you have a sensitive nervous system?” you may not know your answer right off the bat. So let’s do a quiz… Imagine that you’re getting up in front of people to perform or give a speech, and the stakes are reasonably high. Answer the following four questions: How nervous do […]

Conversation requires speaking and listening

Yesterday in the United States, people gathered with their families or people they cherish to celebrate Thanksgiving. To express gratitude, and to engage in – or perhaps avoid – conversation. I’ve been thinking a lot about conversation recently, and about what constitutes true conversation. Here’s one thing I know (and I bet you agree): Communication […]

Get present anytime

Do you struggle with being present? Do you wish you could learn be present more often? What if I told you that you are completely in control of your presence, and you can get present anytime? You can. And guess what… I’ll explain to you how to do it in the next few minutes. Keep […]

Give It Away

You’ve heard that thing about the tree falling in the forest, right? It goes like this: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Commence deep philosophical conversation. I want to apply this same question to communication: “If a person speaks and no […]

Ease up on that emotional pressure

Last week on the blog, I introduced an idea I call “actor voice.” Actor voice is when a performer or speaker doesn’t sound authentic because they are stuck in a vocal pattern. I named a handful of different vocal patterns that are possible to get stuck in, and today I want to elaborate further on […]

Better OUT than IN

You woke up this morning and you feel crappy. You’re sad, you’re out of sorts, and you don’t feel like going to work (/school/rehearsal/wherever you need to go). What should you do? Option A: Stay in bed. Option B: Get up and mope around feeling sad. Stare blankly at the mirror while you brush your […]

Learn how we learn everything (aka the Unconscious Competence Model)

Recently I’ve been teaching something called the “Unconscious Competence Model” in my classes and sessions a lot. I like to alternately call it the “how-we-learn-anything/OMG-this-explains-everything” model, because it describes how we learn anything new or acquire a new skill. I believe that when we dive in and hack this process it gives us a much better understanding […]

It’s time to become a smoothie

I’ve been going through a very big time lately. I told myself that 2016 was going to be my Year of Transformation, and boy oh boy stuff is transforming. A lot of things are falling away, new things are emerging, and in general BIG CHANGE is happening in every aspect of my life. One of the […]

The Three Keys to Performing

I work with and teach a lot of actors, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what a complex task it is to perform. On one hand it’s the most natural thing in the world. On the other hand though, to appear natural in front of an audience is perhaps the hardest task ever […]

Being Versus Doing

My junior year of college I studied abroad in London at the British American Drama Academy. It was awesome and I had this amazing dame of a teacher Sheila for Shakespeare class. One day after I’d been working on my monologue in front of the class, Sheila said to me “Elissa, go find the book […]