How to overcome stage fright

I saw a study recently that said the thing most people are most afraid of – more than getting ill or losing a loved one – is public speaking! Nerves can set in anytime, whether you’re an aspiring comic trying your first open mic gig or you’re a seasoned performer. Even professional performers get nervous sometimes. But when your heart starts racing and your throat tightens up, there are some things that really help.

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What are you most afraid of?

Ethan Hawke has some justifiable fears, in Sinister (2012)

I recently saw a brilliant film called Sinister as part of the Film4 Frightfest (check out the trailer) and it made me think about the stuff that sends shivers down the spine. Some fears are definitely more rational than others. Lots of people are scared of the dark which sort of makes sense from an evolutionary point of view when you think about it, and explains why most horror films are so gloomy.

But just look at all the other stuff people are scared of. Tetraphobics are afraid of the number 4, and Xanthophobics are terrified of the colour yellow! And if you suffer from Papaphobia you should probably steer clear of the Vatican.

Some experts think we enjoy horror films so much because they show us what we don’t need to fear. Watching a woman give birth to Satan definitely puts your own problems into perspective.

Speaking of fear, do you know about the Wilhelm scream? It’s one of the best sound effects ever, and has been used in so many classic films. I love this compilation video: