Performing is hugely physical, very tiring and mentally draining. Actors, clowns, dancers and singers push their bodies to the limits every day – and, just like athletes, it’s important to keep in peak condition.
Exercise helps relieve stress and tension. Many performers find yoga and meditation useful as a way of clearing the mind and de-stressing before the challenging working day ahead. Use breaks as a chance to remove yourself from your fellow performers and go for a walk (remember to tell the production manager where you’re going!) or calm yourself by practising ten minutes of meditation.
Cut down on booze
Performers are sociable creatures – as proven by the thousands of hungover actors you’ll find fast asleep on the train back to London from the Edinburgh Fringe each summer. Don’t stay out drinking after every show – save your energy for the wrap party (where the producers will more than likely take it upon themselves to pay for your drinks!).
Wave goodbye to refined sugar
A typical day on set is a backbreaking 12 hours long, so lunch comes as a welcome relief. If you’re lucky enough to be shooting a funded feature film or TV drama, the food on set will be provided by professional caterers. You’ll usually be well supplied with hot food, a salad bar, pudding, tea and coffee – and you won’t be far from a never-ending supply of biscuits and sugary snacks: perfect for a quick burst of energy but equally good at bringing you crashing down an hour or so later, right in the middle of that perfect take.
Sugar isn’t good for those Hollywood teeth – and it won’t do your performance any favours. Why not bring your own snacks to set? A Tupperware full of raw vegetables and hummus, a banana or a handful of nuts and seeds will all make healthier snacks and prevent that mid-afternoon slump.
Win ‘em over
If you’ve got a role in a low/no budget short film (don’t knock it – these roles often lead to bigger and better things!) the food on set will probably be a vat of spaghetti bolognese which the producer cooked the night before. Actors and crew who understand the catering limitations and turn up with a bag of apples or homemade flapjacks to share kill two birds with one stone: they won’t be hungry come mid-afternoon, and they’ll have earned the undying gratitude of the producer (useful when hunting down that next elusive job!).