Do you get the jitters before auditions? If you’re like most people, the answer is “Yes!”
Auditions are always a little scary no matter how many you’ve been to. In a one minute song, you’ve got to make the casting team want to see more of you at callbacks. That’s high stakes.
Very often in high stakes situations we have highly inconvenient reactions. Shaky voice. Dry mouth. Fidgeting. We go red in the face.
A bad case of nerves can wreck an audition. If you’re not careful, nervous habits can become so distracting the director won’t remember all the great things about your performance.
While nerves are normal, don’t let your anxiety get in the way of showcasing all you have to offer.
A stress-free audition begins in your head. I hear from students all the time that they leave auditions feeling like they could’ve done better. They get down on themselves if it’s not perfect.
Negative self-talk will sabotage your audition every time.
“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about
yourself.” –Maya Angelou
1. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Mistakes are fine and normal. Directors aren’t only looking at skill. They want to see how focused students are and how quickly they recover from mistakes.
If you mess up, stay in character and move on. All will be forgiven.
2. Arrive early to your audition. We do not perform our best when we’re in a rush. Give yourself plenty of time to check-in and get to know the audition room.
You’ve rehearsed your audition song hundreds of times at home. But the audition room doesn’t look anything like your living room!
New places can be unsettling. But the more time you spend in a place, the more it’ll feel like yours.
Ask where the bathroom is. Look at what’s on the walls. It may seem strange, but spending quality time with the audition room really helps you feel more comfortable.
3. Right before the audition do relaxation exercises, meditation or whatever tools you use to get centered.
When I need to clear the channels, I breathe in through my nose for four counts and out for four counts.
If self-doubt is familiar territory it is especially important that you stay in the moment. We all doubt ourselves sometimes. But at high stakes auditions you’ll want to shift your self-doubt to confidence on the spot.
Avoid focusing on getting the part. Instead, focus your mind on the work you’re about to do. Sometimes the best thing you can do is not wonder, not imagine, and not obsess.
“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the
course to victory.” –Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs
of a Geisha
4. After auditioning, it’s only natural to analyze everything you did in the audition room. But don’t let your mind work overtime worrying about it for weeks. Let it go.
For me, this isn’t easy. Whenever I have an audition, presentation or meeting at work I replay what happened in my head for days.
Stop picking on yourself.
Keep yourself from stressing out and throw away whatever you brought to auditions before leaving the audition room. Trash extra resumes, nametag, and script if you were given one to read. What’s done is done.
“What occurred to me first is two simple words…Maybe
as simple as any two words in the English language –
over and next. And we don’t pay enough attention to them. When something is over, it is over. And we are onto the
next. And if there was to be a hammock in the middle,
between over and next, that would be what is meant by
living in the moment.” –Norman Lear in an NPR interview
A lot of the stress from auditions comes from internal obstacles that keep us from feeling capable.
But some issues that make us nervous are easy to get over. Like not enough practice.
5. Being prepared for your audition is the most reliable way to eliminate stress from your next audition. You’ve got one crack to make a good impression. So on audition day you want all your skill and competency to pour out.
Practice your audition from beginning to end, not just the song you’re going to sing. Practice walking into a room, giving your name, age and song title (called slating), singing your audition song, and leaving the room.
Too many times students come into an audition and seem sorry for taking up the director’s time. They have bad posture. Make faces when they mess up. And sing so softly you can’t hear them.
Let go of self-consciousness. Casting directors want you there and they want you to do well. Seriously. They need to cast the show and a great audition means they are closer to putting on a good show.
Getting nervous before auditions is something even the most experienced actors admit to feeling. But you can’t let your nerves get in your own way and keep you from showing your best work. A stress-free audition happens when you
Move on from making mistakes.
Arrive early to the audition.
Stop doubting yourself and focus your mind on the work you’re about to do.
Throw away extra resumes, nametag, and script before leaving the audition room.
For more help with auditions text StressFree to (760) 807-8654 and receive information about Center Stage Production’s next musical theatre workshop, A New Perspective on Auditions and Callbacks from Behind the Casting Table. Sitting on the other side of the table is something every actor should do. Students will take turns being casting director as the class auditions, holds callbacks and casts a show.