Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Things to remember when performing!

I’ve been feeling quite nervous about my upcoming gigs so I thought I’d write down some tips I’d been given and some things I’ve learnt.

  1. Confidence Matters – People inherently trust and follow confident people. If you look nervous onstage then the audience will be nervous and won’t follow you.
  2. It takes time – It can take some audiences time to like you, just because they don’t warm up in the first three mins doesn’t mean you can’t win them over.
  3. Deep breath – When you get onstage, give yourself a moment, don’t rush into it, instead get used to the lights and the staging and where the audience are (but don’t take ages).
  4. Slow down – Most people speed up when they’re nervous, try to consciously start a bit slower at the very start, you’ll speed up naturally after that and then slow down too when you get a bit more comfortable.
  5. Don’t point out negatives – Don’t point out negatives (unless it’s part of the act): eerie silences, a joke not working, if you’re pacing around – it only draws attention to the fact that you’ve pointed it out. Most people won’t have noticed.
  6. Ad Lib – Don’t worry too much about getting back on material if you find a nice direction to go. The material is your guide and your back up plan.
  7. You have balls (even if you’re a lady) – Most people will never get up onstage, what you’re doing is harder and scarier than they can imagine, and they wouldn’t dare do it. So you’re brave, you’re taking a risk, and that’s better than them
  8. Sometimes it doesn’t work – I’ve seen Perrier winners land material and get no reaction while I have seen TV comedians deliver lazy, dull material and get amazing praise.
  9. Your fellow standups are your biggest asset – Audiences don’t know what it’s like. Talk to your fellow acts, mostly (if not unanimously) they are kind, considerate, helpful, reassuring, nice people who have a passion burning inside them.
  10. The bedroom audience can be bad – Sometimes you can practice and practice in your room until you lose the will to live. It reinforces your act, but doesn’t make it better, only gigging will do that. Don’t feel bad if you’re not feeling it in the bedroom (so to speak).
  11. Have one drink before and two drinks after – It calms the nerves a bit which is never a bad thing (so long as you’re not shitfaced), and have a drink after you’ve been on. It’s easy to leave straight away afterwards but it’s about engaging in a community and learning. No better way than over a pint.
This is what I’ve got after 4 gigs. I hope I remember them!