Remember when you were six and your mom told you to show off your celebrity impression for a room-full of distant relatives? While your Auntie locked eyes on you intently and your Uncle gave you that 'impress-me-or-else' look, your little heart started to beat fast. You probably ended up freezing up after two words and your mom laughed it off, covering with some quip about the cookies she made.
Fast forward to 2019, you're an actor who goes on (A LOT) of auditions, and as you face room after room full of complete strangers staring at you, this distant memory feels...not-so-distant. Just like that little helpless child inside of you, you often find yourself taking the mark in the audition room and being filled with shoulds (the past) and coulds (the future) instead of the elusive present moment.
So how do we re-wire our brains and stop the waiting room worrying-cycle? How do we make friends with the often scary unknown of an audition? How do we overwrite the voices in our head and surrender to the scene?
Here are 3 Tips for Staying present in your audition.
1. Remember to Breathe
No one likes waiting rooms. Especially actors. If you have found yourself with 'waiting-room- worry' then you too are a human. What do we do when we get stuck in our heads? We try to out-think our brains. This never works. Instead, change gears and focus on your breathing. Triangle breathing is very effective for calming nerves. Breathe in for 3 counts. Hold for 3 counts. Breathe out for 3 counts. Rinse and repeat!
2. Remind Yourself What's Really Important
Isn't acting great? Yes! It is! But it's not everything. Sure, it's a very rewarding (and sometimes maddening) career, but it is only one part of your life. I suggest you keep photos on your phone of the things that are truly important to you (outside of acting). Family, friends, places, mantras. Anything that reminds you that you're human. Look at these photos right before you go into the audition room and watch how natural and grounded you are!
3. F%^& It Up!
An audition is not a tightrope walk! I see so many actors who treat an audition as a chance to 'prove themselves'. You don't need to prove anything! You are proven, you are enough. So stop pressuring yourself to be perfect. Perfection is unattainable and not what they want to see anyway. They want to see an imperfect, flawed, person playing an imperfect, flawed character. We don't allow failure enough as actors and it leads to a lot of unhappiness. Then we don't book and the cycle begins anew. So next time you are about to go in, say to yourself with a big smile "I'm going to go f%^& it up!" And guess what? You won't.
Put these principles into play the next time you find yourself at a big audition. And if you need practice (and who doesn't) please join me for Improv Your Audition on May 18/19 where we use improv to discover our most truthful work (and get feedback from US/Canadian Casting Director Matthew Morgan)!
by: Tony Babcock (ACTRA, CAEA) - Actor, Acting Coach, Life Coach
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