How To Deal With Nerves At Auditions
The audition is simultaneously the most hated and the most constant aspect of your acting career. When your agent calls/emails to notify you that you have an audition, you celebrate! That is until you arrive at the audition and you want to vomit and are freaking out while silently measuring yourself up against the competition. Auditions will never go away so instead of actively hating them, the best thing you can do is to get comfortable with them. Here are my tips to help keep you confident, calm and focused at your auditions!
Take care of the small, nagging concerns.
Something that I always have trouble with during auditions is dry mouth. Even if I am super hydrated, being anxious/nervous dries me up. My fix? Gum and chapstick. By chewing gum prior to entering the room (and spitting it out before I go in – don’t chew gum during your audition) and applying chapstick, it provides my mouth with a little bit of relief so I’m not constantly worrying about my lips/mouth being dry or my breath smelling like the coffee I had right before I came to the audition that will offend my scene partner and make me want to talk with my mouth half-closed.
What are your concerns when you walk into an audition other than the audition? Is it sweaty armpits? Dry skin? Funky breath? Whatever it is, identify it and carry supplies with you so that when you are at the audition, those small, nagging concerns are the furthest thing from your mind and you can focus instead on your performance.
Believe it or not, casting directors are rooting for you.
Before reading any further, remember this: the casting director selected you to come in and audition. They work long, hard hours to find the right person for a gig that will make the client/producers/director happy and make them look good. So when you walk into the audition room, they WANT you to knock their socks off. They want to be able to recommend you for the part.
I find many actors are so nervous that they’re not going to read the role the “right way” or make a mistake, especially when faced with a cold read. Don’t worry about being “right”, worry about being good and making a strong, developed choice. If it isn’t “right” but they liked your read, they’ll often ask you to read again and give you direction to see if you can change up on the spot. Bottom line: they WANT you to be amazing. So go in there and be amazing!
The casting agent isn’t there to help you, you’re there to help THEM.
I was listening to The Actor CEO podcast recently and actor Alveraz Ricardez was being interviewed about his decision to jump into the deep end of acting. He gave this advice, and I think it’s INCREDIBLE. You can check it out here: http://actorceo.com/81/
You are called into an audition not to book a gig, but to fix the casting agent’s problem. Remember they are the ones in need, not you. You are going into the audition room with an objective as the character you’ve been called in to play. Don’t even think about it as going into the room to audition, you’re going in to complete your objective (pay for your dinner bill using your new credit card you love, hiking in the forest with your boyfriend you’ve been seeing for 3 months who you really like, asking for a divorce from an abusive spouse, being interrogated by a detective and you know you’re guilty, etc.).
The best thing you can do for your auditions is to shift your mind set. So many actors go into the audition room wanting to book the job. That isn’t why you started this work – it wasn’t to book a job, it was to tell stories and to tell them truthfully. If you go into that room silently begging for a job, they will sniff that out in a second. REMEMBER: You are there to fix their problem. They need YOU. Not the other way around.
Outside of your performance, the casting is completely out of your control.
I always say this to myself if I feel nerves creeping up on me. I might give the best performance they have ever seen, but I might also be 4 inches taller than the male lead. Or I might be too blonde, or too white, or too heavy, or too sexy, or too …. Fill in the blank.
There are so many other moving parts when it comes to casting and every single one of those moving parts is completely out of your control other than one thing: your performance. So even if you get a super awesome gold start on your performance, you might just not be right for the role for 1,000,000 possible reasons. Don’t take it personally, it’s business. And as long as you’re consistently showing up prepared and giving great performances, you will continue to be called back in for new projects and eventually you will book a job.
When you get anxious or nervous, gently remind yourself that the only thing in your control is your performance. And if you’ve prepared well, that should give you some confidence and help alleviate that anxiety.