How To Be Calm Before and During Auditions

By Annette Lange

Acting is a vulnerable process. Fellow Actors, Dreamers and Creatives, you have most probably experienced this already. The ‘product’ you’re presenting is yourself. It’s risky, you have to have a tough skin, yet still be vulnerable – a tricky balance. If you are anything like me, you’ll love the acting, but cringe at the thought of the business behind it.

Like it or not, auditions are a part of this process. Rest assured, nobody expects you to be completely calm, don’t worry about the fact that you are nervous. Don’t try to control the things you can’t control, but, steward the things you can control.

1. DO YOUR PART: PREPARE

Learn your lines and learn them well. Depending on the audition, you’ll either get the script weeks, days or minutes before the audition. Whatever the case, use your time wisely. Read the script as much as possible, try to figure out the context of the story with the information you have.

Once you know the lines, perform them for your family and friends. I know, I know, performing it in front of people you’re close with is often more awkward than an audience of strangers, but if you can master that – then you’re on the safe side.

This will enable you to go to the audition with confidence. If you try to cram lines of the prepared monologue into your head in the last minute, you’d have reason to worry. Spare yourself this unnecessary stress that’ll only make room for insecurities.

2. THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Make sure you plan to be there at least 20 min earlier than your scheduled time, so that when you get stuck in traffic or can’t find parking, you won’t have to rush. This will prevent a lot of stress, and will also give you time to calm down before you actually go into the audition room.

And, well, it also shows you’re professional. It’s a bonus if the casting director can see that you are dependable and easy to work with. Being late causes you to stress, and is a disservice to the people holding the audition.

3. BREATHE

If you notice you heart racing before the audition, try to breathe in through the nose, and exhale through the mouth in double the amount of time. For example, if you breathe in counting to 4, breathe out counting to 8.

Another trick is to press your back against a wall and slide down as if you were sitting on an invisible chair. Hold it there for as long as you can. This helps activate your muscles & blood circulation. Another random thing you could add is raising your hands above your head. This releases chemicals that calm you down when your heart is racing so fast you can’t seem concentrate on your lines.

4. NOBODY WANTS TO HURT YOU

Nobody wants to trick you. Remind yourself that no one is out for your misfortune or wants to see you fail. The casting director has a vision for the project you are auditioning for. You are given this opportunity to succeed, and you have the right to be there. Be patient, they have probably been sitting in the same room for hours on end, and it is likely that they are simply tired.

5. FAILURE IS WHEN YOU STOP TRYING

Remember, failure is not a bad thing. If you feel like the audition went terribly, don’t dwell on it. Look at what went wrong and try to do it better next time. Keep it simple.

The outcome of the audition does not determine your value as a person.

Fearing failure does not only cause more worries, but it takes the joy out of acting. Which brings me to my next point:

6. FOR THE LOVE OF ART

An audition is an opportunity to act – see it as such. You get to do and show what you love to do: bringing a character to life. Enjoy it, have fun with it. Your interpretation of the character is unique, so trust in that.  

Lastly… To you Actors, good on you for stepping out! Acting is not the safest route to go and that is why so many people let fear stand in the way. Pursue it for the powerful instrument it is, and be an inspiration.

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