How to Nail Your Next Audition
Have an upcoming audition? Here are five simple tricks to help you walk out of your next audition feeling like a star!
Let’s be honest – nerves can be killer in an audition. It can feel like an awful spiral. First, you start to sweat. Then you notice your hands are shaking. Then you feel your throat getting tight. Pretty soon, you feel your entire performance slipping due to nerves. Don’t sweat it, just smile. Many studies, like this one, suggest that smiling facilitates stress recovery. Holding your face in the biggest smile you can manage for a few moments can help take the edge off next time you’re drowning in pre-audition nerves. Don’t just smile before the audition – smile during your audition, too! (Okay, maybe don’t smile if you’re auditioning for a serious role..) When you walk in to the audition room, greet the director/casting committee with a big smile and a polite “Hello! Nice to meet you!” When your audition is finished, smile again and say, “Thank you very much!” Not only will you feel more confident in the audition, but it will also help you leave a good impression with the casting committee.
2. Take Care of Your Body
This may seem obvious, but taking care of your body is very important during the auditioning process. Your body is a complicated machine and can react in strange ways to things like lack of sleep, lack of water, or new environments. Taking the time to make sure you are eating or drinking enough and getting enough sleep will pay off in your next audition. In your audition, you want to be able to focus entirely on your performance. Taking care of yourself properly will eliminate several potential distractions and will help you feel “in-the-zone” for your next big monologue. Furthermore, your body will respond to stress better if you are taking care of yourself. Try to get several good nights of sleep (not just the night before!) and stay well hydrated for several days before your audition, and it will definitely pay off.
3. Plan Your Audition Outfit
Another strategy for removing distractions from auditioning is to plan your outfit ahead of time. Wear something you feel absolutely comfortable in. Your audition outfit shouldn’t make a statement. When you are auditioning, you want your acting to speak for you, not your clothing. Don’t wear anything that is hard to move in, or anything that will require adjustment (loose pants, low neckline). Even if your acting is amazing, constantly adjusting your clothing can negatively impact your performance, and can ruin your focus in an audition. Think of what color you want to wear – I choose colors based on what hides sweat stains the best. When I inevitably start to sweat in an audition, I don’t want to worry about wearing a color that will easily show it (like gray). Furthermore, plan on having layers. If the theater or audition space is warm, wear just your tee-shirt. If it’s cold, throw on a sweater.
4. Practice Your Material
A good audition starts long before the actual audition date. You should aim to have your audition material memorized, even if the particular audition doesn’t call for memorization. The extra work you put into memorizing your material will pay off in the audition. Don’t wait until the day before your audition to memorize the material, either. Try to memorize your material at least a week before your audition, if not as soon as possible. This will give you time to sleep in between practicing your audition material. Sleep is a very important part of storing new information in long-term memory. If your audition is well rehearsed and well memorized, you will feel more confident in the audition. This is another example of removing distractions from auditioning and eliminating everything that will keep you from doing your best.
5. Be Yourself
At the end of the day, casting a show should be entirely based on the director’s vision. The director already has an idea of what types of characters they want in their show, and an audition is the process by which they find people who can fit in their vision. Rather than thinking about how you can change your acting to fit a part, try to give the most sincere, authentic, uniquely “you” audition you can. A good philosophy to have is that an audition is merely a time to show a director what you have to offer, and then let the director decide if that’s what they want in their show. Once I adopted this philosophy, auditions became much easier because I wasn’t worried about fitting a certain role. Don’t let the thought of “what do I have to be?” get in the way of “this is what I am.” I even began getting more callbacks and roles after adopting this philosophy, probably because it allowed me to focus more on my performance and appear more confident to the casting committee. Directors are looking for people who can sincerely and genuinely play a role, so don’t get stuck trying to be something you aren’t. Just go out there and show the director what you are.
You’ll notice that all these tips share a common theme – removing distraction. Whether it’s distraction by nerves, the temperature, or drowsiness, you want to eliminate everything that gets in the way of your audition. So for your next audition – sleep, drink, eat, study, smile, and most importantly, be YOURSELF!