Coping with Audition Nerves
by Katherine Mayfield
You finally got the audition slot you wanted. You've practiced your
monologue over and over, dressed your best, and given yourself plenty of time
to get to the audition. Now you're here, your appointment is in five
minutes and your heart is pounding, your knees are shaking, and you can't
breathe. How do you get relaxed, yet maintain your focus?
The first step is to realize that the folks in the audition room want you to
be good. If they can find the perfect actor for each role, they've done
their job well. So your job is to open up and let your best self come out.
I know this is extremely tough in a situation where you feel like you're
being judged. It can help if you think of your audition as a
mini-performance-as if the casting person(s) are the audience, looking
forward to being entertained, and you are the same actor you are when you've
rehearsed a role enough to feel totally confident when you get up on the
stage and perform it. This way, you're there to share yourself and your
talents and skills with the audience, instead of feeling like you're being
judged by those who are casting. Think about what it is that makes you love
to perform, and use that feeling in your audition.
The second step, which you have to take actually prior to the audition, is
that of being totally confident about your presentation, from the moment you
walk in the door and introduce yourself to the moment you say "thank you" or
"Have a great day" and walk out the door. Know what kind of impression you
want to create-and here, I'm not suggesting you put on a false front, just
choose what you feel are the best aspects of yourself to present. And KNOW
YOUR MONOLOGUE-the best monologues are those you've loved from the beginning,
and have worked on over and over until they're almost second nature. When
you know a monologue this well, you'll be discovering new things every time
you do it, and this keeps your focus on enjoying your performance, even in an
audition. If you pick a new monologue and audition with it the next week, of
course you're going to be nervous, because there's too much to think about:
lines, beats, character, other characters, feelings, etc. Knowing your
monologue well allows you to take a deep breath and tell yourself, "I know
this-I've done it hundreds of times. It's not such a big deal." A monologue
you know this well feels like your favorite old T-shirt that you love to put on.
If you can make a habit every day of practicing relaxation exercises such as
stretching, deep breathing, meditation or visualization, this will help your
audition nerves as well.
And finally, remember that you can do an incredible audition, and still not
get the role for one reason or another. That's a fact of the business.
Maybe you didn't look like part of the family they were casting for a film.
Or maybe the producer's brother had his eye on the role you wanted, and,
well, he's the producer's brother. You may never know why you didn't get the
role, but you always have to believe that you're good enough to play the
role, that you would have done a great job. If you dwell on your audition
and always tell yourself you're not good enough, this prophecy will probably
Let the audition go, the same way you let a performance go after it's done,
and look forward to the next one. Believe in yourself, that you have what it
takes-and let that show through in your audition. Break a Leg!
Katherine Mayfield is the author of
"Acting A to Z"
and "Smart Actors, Foolish Choices"
Copyright © Katherine Mayfield. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author.
Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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