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Creating Epic Performances Every Time, Written by Fiona Maguire

Creating Epic Performances Every Time

DrJane

Your success as a voice over actor, as Andrea Toyias, Blizzard Entertainment, stated in The Buzz Magazine issue 16, p.8, will come from bringing “deep, profound emotions to life (is) by tapping into an actor’s most treasured and sacred asset……themselves… Their own personal life experiences.”.

So what prevents actors from being able to tap into their emotions? It is the same thing that stops people feeling and expressing their emotions in everyday life.

It is the unconscious mind’s belief that taping into the emotions is scary, harmful and even life threatening. This belief has been embedded into your unconscious mind by numerous ways that I explain below:

 

1. Your parents or caregivers teaching you that it is not right, appropriate, intelligent or safe to feel and express emotions.

What your parents, family and society teach you before the age of around 7 gets programmed / conditioned into your unconscious mind. You get conditioned to believe healthy things and unhealthy things about yourself and the world.

Not being able to feel or express your emotions is unhealthy. It not only prevents you from stunning performances, built up and locked in emotions causes stress and serious illness.

 

2. Not being taught how to feel and express emotions.

Did your parents express their emotions around you? Did they do this in a healthy way?

It is natural for us to copy the behaviour of the people around us, especially as young children.

I am constantly amazed how many people are not in touch with their emotions and do not know what they feel. However, they often still act out like 2 year old children throwing a tantrum.

 

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3. Or trauma.

Trauma can happen in one isolated traumatic event. Or a person can become traumatised when they have been placed under a lot of stress frequently over a period of time. Peter Levine, an expert in trauma, calls this Prolonged Stress.

I can imagine that if you are struggling to get work this can be very stressful? I have been an Entrapenure for over 21 years and I can relate to this.

If you have problems reaching down into the depths of your soul to pull out your deep emotions, that create epic performances, do not worry.

If you recognise yourself in any of the above examples of conditioning and trauma and are effected by it, again do not worry.

The good news is that the unconscious mind can let go of conditioning and you can be free from trauma. The great news is that this does not have to take years of therapy! In fact it can happen in about 6 weeks, to the extent that you never run the old conditioned program again. Imagine being able to access your life experiences in a healthy and insightful way… which enables you to feel and express a range of emotions, that bring your performance alive and a depth of authenticity to your characters…

 

Fiona Maguire has a degree in Psychologist, she worked in the NHS and social service as an assistant psychologist. She found there was a quicker way to help people heal themselves and she calls it intuitive transformational coaching.

 

So what prevents actors from being able to tap into their emotions? It is the same thing that stops people feeling and expressing their emotions in everyday life. 

It is the unconscious mind’s belief that taping into the emotions is scary, harmful and even life threatening. This belief has been embedded into your unconscious mind by numerous ways that I explain below

Healthy gut, healthy mind: The Gut-Brain connection, Written by Lena Christou

Healthy gut, healthy mind: The Gut-Brain connection

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We hear a lot about the mind-body connection, but what about the gut-mood connection? Recent studies show that the adrenal stress response is triggered by not only stress and/ or trauma, but also a pattern of eating. Eating refined carbohydrates such as “comfort food” and craving salty or sweet snacks may feel satisfying at the time, but by switching from refined carbs (that spike our sugar levels) to low Glycaemic Index (GI) options (that do not spike sugar levels) actually controls and modifies our stress response, lowering cortisol.

When we worry or suffer stress and anxiety our gut is “switched off” in order to prioritise energy and blood supply to our heart, arms and legs to fight what it perceives as danger. We are not designed to stay in this response for long, its an emergency reaction only!

Research suggests that diet is an important modifiable risk factor for mental health. A Mediterranean diet based on plenty of fruits and vegetables, pulses, good fats and fibre is consistently associated with reduced risk of depression and cognitive impairment.

As nutritionists, we do not advocate restricting calorie intake in those with anxiety disorders as studies show it increases cortisol and so will make their anxiety worse. In fact, it is cortisol that wakes us up in the mornings (and why too much wakes us up at night, triggering Insomnia) and eating breakfast upon rising actually lowers cortisol levels to keep us balanced emotionally during our day ahead.

Feeling in a heightened state of worry or anxiety also uses energy due to the adrenaline response, so you actually deplete vital vitamins and minerals. Omega 3 from good fats such as oily fish and olive oil is anti-inflammatory. Vitamins such as the B vitamins function to balance glucose, regulate mood and are important for nervous system function. Vitamin C is used for energy, and so during stress is eliminated from the blood stream at an extremely rapid rate. The more cortisol is used, the more vitamin C is used. Vitamin C is important in our immune system response and helps fight free radical damage. So, without it we struggle to fight infections. It’s one of the reasons we get poorly easier under stress. Magnesium is a mineral that depletes under stress but is vital to help us sleep, and relaxes our muscles, which is why tension and poor sleep is a major side effect of stress.

Therefore, we advocate increasing our nutrient intake during bouts of stress and low mood, and to do this we must be able to absorb these nutrients efficiently. Starting with optimal gut health ensures a functioning gut lining and healthy gut flora. Probiotic fermented foods such as Apple Cider Vinegar, sauerkraut, coconut yogurt, crème fraiche and tempeh all help populate the good bacteria. Prebiotic foods such as onions, leeks, garlic, raw cacao, oats and apples help feed the good bacteria in our gut, which together with fibre bind to toxins and eliminate them from our system effectively. Plenty of fresh colourful fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and fibre, healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and good proteins such as pulses and legumes and vegan protein smoothies are perfect examples of healthy options to include in your everyday food options.

 

“Berry nice” Protein Smoothie Recipe

1-2 scoops vanilla or strawberry protein powder

1 tbsp flaxseeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ ripe avocado

2 handfuls frozen berries

250ml nut milk

Blend til smooth

 

Protein Pancakes

1 cup nut milk

1 cup gluten free oats

1 tsp ground flaxseeds

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

½ tsp cinnamon

1 small banana

Frozen berries and coconut yogurt to serve

Blend all ingredients except berries and coconut yogurt in a nutribullet, or simply whisk until smooth.

Make pancakes by warming some avocado oil in a pan and add tablespoons of mixture in even circles, flipping when browned.

To finish, add the frozen berries to warm in the pan, drizzling over the pancake stack, topping with a dollop of coconut yogurt to serve.

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Lena Christou, a Beauty Therapist and a final year student of Nutritional Therapy at The College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is passionate about healthy living from the inside out.

 

We hear a lot about the mind-body connection, but what about the gut-mood connection? Recent studies show that the adrenal stress response is triggered by not only stress and/ or trauma, but also a pattern of eating. 

Liz Drury Funding Article

Liz Drury Funding Article

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Who would like some free money? Everyone right?! Well, did you know that you might be eligible for grant funding for your voiceover business?

Whenever I need to make a large purchase for my business, I always look to see if I can get any help with buying it. This attitude stems from when I was studying for my PhD in Archaeological Science, and I needed to make a field trip to Scandinavia to collect samples for my research. I didn’t have the money for the trip, so I applied for a number of grants – and I was successful nearly every time. I pooled together enough money for a three-week tour of Denmark and Sweden. Not to mention attending a conference in the States, and another one in Budapest…

I continued with this fundraising mindset when I was the chairman of my kids’ pre-school. I found them money to build a new playground, decorate the building, buy craft equipment – even pay the staff.

Then, in my pre-voiceover job at a local college I applied for funding for drama productions, and educational trips abroad for staff and students. I’ve also successfully applied for grants for my local theatre group to buy sound and lighting equipment.

I reckon that if you add up all the money I’ve successfully applied for over the years, it comes to over £35k. And I may well have forgotten some.

So, I hear you ask, what can a voiceover business get money for? Well, in the last 18 months I’ve had money towards buying a mobile studio for recording on the road; money to enable me to attend VOAtlanta; and half the cost of having a new website built (including the photography and SEO-optimised copywriting). I’m currently in the process of applying for a £500 grant towards the cost of having a new boiler installed in my house (because my office is at home, it counts as my place of work, and that makes me eligible). All of this totals over £3.5k.

How do I find these pots of gold Liz? Good question! If you want grants for a community group or project then I highly recommend www.fundingcentral.org.uk which lists many, many grants for all sorts of organisations. You won’t find funding for your business here though. For that, I’ve found the best way to find out what’s available in your local area, is networking.

DrJane

My local council run a business networking group, which is very low-cost to join, and they will let members know if there is any grant funding available for businesses in the area. To find out if there is something similar where you live I would contact the Economic Development team at your local council. You could also try your local Chamber of Commerce and nearest branch of the Federation of Small Businesses. These organisations usually have their ears to the ground when it comes to funding for business. Both of these are membership organisations, but you can often go along to one event for free to try it out.

You could also try attending Business Expos, as any organisation with money to give away to businesses are likely to be there. In recent years I’ve seen a couple of local universities/colleges exhibiting at these events, as they had been given grants to work with small businesses. That’s how I found money for my mobile studio.

If you’re really not sure where to find business networking events or expos near you, have a look on Eventbrite – there are lots of events listed on there, and many are free. I’ve been to a number of educational workshops – particularly on using social media for business, and by going to those, I’ve heard about grant funding. That’s how I found the grant for my website.

If you want to attend a conference in another country, find out who your local Department for International Trade representative is. My local rep helped me apply for the grant that took me to VOAtlanta.

Bear in mind that there are often minimum spends for these grants. The three I’ve had recently paid 50% of my costs which had to be a minimum of £1,000 (i.e. I had to spend £2,000 to get £1,000 back). Another thing to note is that grants won’t cover the VAT on anything you buy.

The larger the amount of money you apply for, the bigger the ‘output’ your funder will want in return. For small grants they generally want to see that your turnover will increase, or that you’ve developed a new product or service. For larger amounts of money, they’re looking for job creation (which isn’t really possible for us, though I did once show that I’d gone from part time to full time and therefore created half a job….).

One final thing – all the money I’ve had recently has come from European grants, and post-Brexit the grant funding landscape will probably look very different. Having said that, in many cases funding streams are protected for the next year or two, BUT if you have a project in mind I think it will be best to apply sooner rather than later.

Good luck!

 

Who would like some free money? Everyone right?! Well, did you know that you might be eligible for grant funding for your voiceover business? 

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