Relaxing The Actor: Auditioning


PattyJeanRobinsonIf you’re like me, you find auditioning somewhat of an anxiety driven task. Figuring out all the little details, (parking, do these shoes work, why does everyone look like me), as well as the big ones, (you know… LINES, where the heck is the room).  It kinda makes me lose my mind. I’m looking forward to the day it doesn’t do that, as I hear it’s possible.

In the meantime, what does one do?

1. Breathe That’s right, take a nice, deep breath from your diaphragm. I find that taking a deep breath often puts me in the moment and helps ground me. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know how important breathing is in the unwinding process. So breathe, it’s gonna be okay.

2. Be present There are many factors to this. We often hear that phrase in classes, don’t we? We need to be in the moment of our character. When improvising on stage/set/in class, we have to train ourselves to hear that white noise of, “ohmygodwhatdidIsaywhatamIdoing”, and move on to focusing on what is happening in front of our faces. Take in that moment, and say to yourself, “Here I am. I am totally nervous. I know that. But I’m here, and check out her shoes. Look at the receptionist, she looks bored. The camera guy looks tired.” Being present and aware of what’s around you helps take the focus off your anxiety. It helps you do the task at hand.

3. Self-Compassion Sounds like a duh, right? Or maybe even a little weird? Remember when you were little and you had someone to comfort you when you were upset? There was a hug, a lot of love and understanding, and “it’s gonna be okay” was said to you. Do this for yourself before and after your audition. If you can’t give yourself a hug in the middle of an audition, you can stimulate that soothing response by patting yourself on the arm, knee, and just say to yourself, “I know you’re nervous, and it’s okay. Poor dear.” I know, I know, that sounds weird and wonky, but a little self-compassion goes a long way. If you want to know more about it, I highly recommend a book called Self-Compassion, by Kristen Neff, Ph.D. and you can go to her site:

4. Journal At the end of the audition, when you’re safely back in your car – write out what happened, what you felt, and let loose ALL THE THINGS. Once it’s out, just let it go and walk away. Move on with your day. Later, you can go back and see if there’s something you want to work on. Maybe it’s your technique of memorization, maybe it’s that you wanted to make sure you said ‘thank you,’ to everyone in the room. That way, you don’t have to chew on every moment and let it govern you for the rest of your life.

5. Shift Your Outlook This is part of our job, right? It’s a tool. It’s technique, and it’s something that takes practice. When you’re first starting out, or getting back into acting, an audition always feels like it’s SO BIG. Get yourself out there and look at each audition as practice. Don’t look at it as, “if I get this job, it’ll feed me.” Take the pressure off. I even have friends that sign up for auditions with the intention of practicing. Start looking at it as a time to play, a time to try something new, a time to practice a skill. When you change your outlook, it could very likely change your practice!

What tricks do you use to help yourself relax for an audition? I always love learning what other people do, so please share and share alike in the comments below.