MAX SIMON has been doing really well over the last few weeks. Three weeks ago the whole group agreed that his performance on that night was really good. “It didn’t feel so good to me,” Max responded. “I didn’t feel like I was really in it!”
The group was adamant. “It was terrific,” they told him. MAX did his best to accept their assurances.
The next week, in a new scene with a new scene partner, MAX again did excellent work. This time MAX was all smiles. He felt really good about his scene.
Last week, MAX didn’t feel good about his work. “I didn’t think I was really ‘there’ tonight,” he told us. But the group thought that once more he had done excitingly good work.
The next morning MAX rang me. He had replayed his efforts of the previous night and had a fresh look. “It was fine,” he told me. I could hear the smile in his voice.
WHAT CAN WE ALL LEARN FROM MAX’S EXPERIENCE?
It’s perfectly clear, isn’t it!! It would seem that MAX’s skill level has reached a point were he can deliver a scene on a fairly consistent basis. Three in a row demonstrates it was not a fluke. But it’s also clear that the way HE FELT about what he was doing was fluctuating wildly.
Could it be that we have a ‘mean’ or ‘average’ level of happiness in our lives? Is it therefore possible that if we experience a significant peak in our happiness, wellbeing or confidence that the most likely outcome is that (in the time that follows that peak) those feelings will return to or at least towards, the mean (the average). Thus, after a peak our feelings are bound (in due course) to drop.
Correspondingly we must assume that if our feelings drop significantly that in time we MUST start to feel happier because there will be a tendancy for our experiences to return to the ‘average’ or ‘mean’.
IT SEEMS PLAIN, that MAX’s feelings moved in relation to his level of happiness, wellbeing or confidence. THEY DIDN’T MOVE in relation to his skill level because that was very constant.
Psychologists discuss that everything has a tendency to ‘regress to the mean’. So, it seems highly likely our feelings will, too. This makes it plain that how the actor feels about a performance is seldom connected to a practical measurement of the skill. The actor must have another way of measuring their own performance outcome.
The Rehearsal Room has a technique that reliably does this. Three weeks ago when MAX felt he had done badly he was asked to go down the post-shoot checklist. He could tick all the boxes. That’s why the performance was good. He had used all his skills satisfactorily.
WHAT ARE YOU PREDICTING MAX WILL FEEL ABOUT HIS WORK NEXT WEEK?
(The graph doesn’t relate specifically to Max. It is a random illustration of the possible relationships between achievements and feelings)