Presence: What It Is and How to Get It

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You’ve been in the acting game for a long time and you want to be a star, but more importantly, you want to be remembered. When you look at the greats in our industry, you realize they all have one thing in common: presence! That thing that will help you win the role, the Oscar, the Tony, the Emmy. We often spend so much time honing our skills for a performance that we forget about honing our presence, the thing needed to make our brand skyrocket.

Over the years I’ve been an actor and coach, I’ve seen some actors I’ll never forget because their presence lingers in our hearts for years, long after we’ve seen them act for the first time. This is the main reason we constantly go back to see their projects; we know we’re going to receive that engaging light that causes us to feel like we can be the best version of ourselves on and off camera. A great performance is an amazing thing, but a great presence is what will create longevity and appeal. You have it, you’ve always had it and there’s no greater time than now to use it to your advantage.

In order to be that individual who shines brightly, you have to come to a place of complete acceptance within yourself. When you accept your true self, there are no apologies—you walk around Hollywood owning your awesomeness, having that thing I like to call “the magnetic draw.” This is what producers and directors truly want if they’re going to cast you. They may not know why, but the people you encounter are drawn to you, they want to know you, and they want more of you.

So how do you get there? Through a concept called “the vibrational actor,” which teaches individuals how to resonate with the essence of themselves to make them stand out with minimal effort. The reason it works so well is because acting isn’t really acting, it’s just being human, being aware, and being true to what you’re feeling every time you’re on stage or in front of the camera. When we truly learn how to tap that wellspring of theatrical magic, our power to excel becomes unlimited.

What is presence?

Sometimes we try and force things to unfold, but our presence is about allowing our true light to come alive effortlessly. An amazing example is reality television. People from all walks of life who may not be the “traditional” beauty or hunk—or might be just plain crazy—hop on camera and completely embody their authentic selves, leading to high ratings and recurring seasons. There’s no magic behind it all other than that they’re being completely true to their inner essence. This is a quality that most people desire and as an actor, you have the potential to show them how to have it.

How to have presence

Here are four things from my teachings that will help you find and honor your presence:

1. Be human

This is one of the most significant catalysts to taking your acting to another level. To be human is to feel emotion, something that can’t be faked. Once you feel it, your body will feel it, then show it, and voila!

Surround yourself with things that promote the emotion you want or that’s in congruence with your character. The beauty comes in the allowance. Whatever emotion is created, feel it and let it work its power on your acting instrument.

2. Know the situation ahead of time

Figure out who your CD, producer, or director is before an audition or project and give yourself a few minutes to get into a meditative state to send these individuals vibrations of love and light. This will give you the chance to build connections before the meeting even happens. I’ve done this for every meeting I’ve ever had and it has always made the environment one that’s conducive to thriving.

3. Look in the mirror and consider the positives

As actors, it’s easy to struggle with self-worth, especially when things aren’t working for us the way we think they should. But if you take the time every single day to stand in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eye, it’s just as easy to change that way of thinking.

For three minutes, tell the wonderful actor looking back at you how much you love them and how great you think they are. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but this kind of exercise show us that we’re always worthy of the best things in life, and are also worthy of praise from our own harshest critic.

4. Make a playlist

Music is our friend. For every role I’ve been fortunate enough to have, I’ve created a playlist of about 10 songs that truly help me feel the presence of my character and myself. Although words are powerful, music is in a category all its own. Just think of the magnitude musical scores have in film of TV, and translate that power to you and your craft.

Our awesomeness comes from within and if we can truly embrace that, it won’t be long until we’re gearing up to share our success with the rest of the world. Make your presence felt on and off camera, and your Hollywood dreams will reach you faster than you could’ve ever imagined.

Shaun Grant is a dynamic “entreperformer” that is a recognized authority in personal performance and transformation. He is the author of Prosperity Secrets: How To Live the Life of Your Dreams. He is also the creator of The Vibrational Actor and hosts his own podcast called The Actor's Area. Shaun has been acting, writing, and coaching for the past ten years. He teaches the concept of vibrational acting and vibrational consciousness to performers around the world. His soul purpose is to inspire, uplift and motivate actors through cutting edge mental and spiritual practices. He's at his happiest when his students experience successful breakthroughs in mind, body, and spirit as it relates to their acting careers. Shaun has acted in over forty projects, working alongside some of Hollywood's brightest stars, and has written and produced his own projects as well. When Shaun isn't acting, writing or coaching, he enjoys engaging in his love of travel and creating life-changing content through his blogs. Find Shaun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Shaun Grant
Shaun Grant is a dynamic “entreperformer” who is a recognized authority in personal performance and transformation. Shaun has been acting, writing, and coaching for the past 10 years. He teaches the concept of vibrational acting and vibrational consciousness to performers around the world. When Shaun isn’t acting, writing, or coaching, he enjoys engaging in his love of travel and creating life-changing content through his blogs.
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