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  • John Vessels

So, how did it go?

Actors: At the end of any exercise I usually ask, "How did that feel?" And almost invariably I get back, "My breathing wasn't good." or "I didn't hit that note I was trying to hit." or some variation on "I fell short of the goal." Then I'll say something to the effect of, "Oh. I thought it went pretty well. Here's what you succeeded at."


Self assessment is a difficult business for the performer. We get so driven in the pursuit of impossible perfection, that we short-change the acknowledgement of successes in our work. Assess accurately. Appreciate the work that remains to be done. Remember to honor the progress you are making. By increments grows the artist. We are putting old habits to rest and coaxing new habits into our creative and technical processes. Some weeks we quickly pick up concepts. Some weeks they come more slowly. But with work--with practice and with contemplation--we are moving forward.


If you can--and you CAN--record your lessons. Hang onto them till the end of a month or two. Listen to where you were versus where you are. You will hear growth for which you didn't necessarily give yourself credit in the heat of battle. Develop the skill to note that growth as you sense it happening. And give that growth its due.


Accurate self-assessment requires your willingness to state both the still-developing and the thriving aspects of the work you are doing. By all means, keep yourself on track with the reminders of the work to be done. But also give yourself the encouragement that recognizes your growth and positively invites you to continue.

Self-assessment is only accurate if you assess your short-falls AND your successes

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