By Elana B. Multi award-winning writer, advertiser, speaker and internationally published author
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at some time in life. Many people feel anxious or nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking an exam, getting married, or becoming a parent, changing jobs, or coping with illness. There are others, such as actors, who get nervous meeting a director, producer or casting agent. Managing your audition anxiety is the key to your success. You want to be at peak performance. That means when you stand on stage, you are confident and relaxed. It is, after all, all about the audition for many creative artists. Fail an audition miserably…try better next time—if you are asked back. So what can you do to boost your chances for success when auditioning and help relieve anxiety and jitters? There are many options that can aid in calming these nerves.
7 Tips to Calm Audition Jitters and Anxiety:
1. First off, the best way to curb anxiety is to be prepared. Waiting to audition can be excruciating for some. So when you are rehearsing, do not just practice your lines. Practice breathing exercises. Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. While doing this, picture the entire scene like a script in a movie.
Int. Casting Room – Day:
See the room and everyone in it. Mentally prepare by taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly. Go through the audition in your mind, see and feel yourself glide easily from the front door through your final exit. This builds confidence and reinforces your skills. Remember to continue your breathing exercise. Deep calming breaths in and exhale slowly.
Next, smile professionally. Whether you are in the waiting room or taken straight in, it is important to remember composure and professionalism.
On stage or in a casting room, introduce yourself and remember to tell yourself that you have got this. You have been practicing. When finished. Remember to thank whomever you are meeting with.
2. Do not interpret your fear as a sign that you do not have talent. There are well-known actors who still get anxiety when speaking publicly and auditioning. Performance anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the United States. It’s often called “stage fright,” but it doesn’t have to involve a stage. Anyone whose job or activity brings them to the attention of an audience can experience stage fright aka performance anxiety.
Beautiful Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables, Letters to Juliet, Mamma Mia, and Dear John) recently told British Glamour magazine that she is in therapy to deal with panic attacks and anxiety. Even incredibly beautiful and talented people feel the same anxiety many people have, whether it is auditioning for a part or an interview for a new job. But Ms. Seyfried didn’t let that stop her and she is an inspiration.
3. Practice facing your doubts. Everyone has those… “What if” thoughts. What if I forget my lines? What if I burp in the middle? The “What if’s” of your imagination can overwhelm anyone if you give in to them. Don’t suppress them, but don’t give in to them either. Especially avoid the mind-numbing, “What if I can’t avoid my nervousness?” rant.
The reason you feel this way is because anxiety and excitement are two sides of the same coin. Both are states of arousal and while one is welcome the other is an unwanted intruder. That is why finding coping mechanisms that work for you is imperative to successfully kicking anxiety and nervousness in the backside.
Anxiety is a wheel that spins. As the next event comes on the horizon your brain remembers how you have handled this type of stress in the past and thinks ‘I’ve been here before, and this is how I react’. To break this cycle, it’s useful to use relaxation (yoga) or meditation techniques so you don’t get too anxious.
4. Finding a pose and posture that is comforting and reassuring at the same time. Finding a personal pose that really calms and centers you is vital. There are two types of poses: one therapeutic and one “public persona pose.”
The 1st, therapeutic: There are a few yoga poses that help ground and center you. You can learn to do these while practicing your lines in your head…as long as you keep your breathing right. Crista Nezhni, a Yoga instructor, has instructions on how to perform these yoga poses.
Look up and practice these yoga poses to decrease anxiety:
• Downward Dog aka Adho Mukha Svanasana or Down Dog
• Cat Pose aka Marjaryasana
• Child’s Pose aka Balasana
• Corpse Pose aka Savasana (especially with guided meditation)
The 2nd, your personal persona pose: Find a pose that is relaxing and yet makes you feel strong and confident. When you exude confidence, other people feel it. Think about a strong leader or speaker. Do you see this individual walk out on a public platform with slumping shoulders or nervously biting his nails? No. Does that mean that this person does not feel anxiety or stress being in the spotlight? No. It means that confidence and preparedness have become a synergistic mojo. It means that this person has a handle on his anxiety and nerves for the public. With almost everyone, it is a practiced and learned technique.
5. If you feel you are in a rut, only you can change that. While practicing for your audition, try running, doing yoga, or squeezing a stress ball. If it is a serious part, practice for a while getting the words right, but use a funny accent. Being comedic or singing your lines is a great way to memorize, yet break up the monotony, and have a little fun. Of course, once you have the lines nailed…practice them correctly so you don’t go in for an audition as a tough, well-muscled Ninja and end up singing your lines with a high-pitched Indian accent, not unless the part you are trying to get is in a comedy. You can even wear a silly costume and practice. No matter what, try not to let outside influences affect your audition / performance.
6. It is important to get plenty of rest before an audition. If you go to an audition without having proper sleep beforehand, you might find yourself stumbling over the lines that normally would glide off your lips. You need an adept mind and calm nerves and this can’t happen without a proper night of rest.
7. Find a way to reward yourself for getting through each audition. Whether your audition earned you a job or not, after an audition there is pent up energy still coursing through your veins. To help manage the let-down from the adrenaline rush of auditioning, remember to reward yourself for the effort you put forth.
• Get that dessert you deserve.
• Go exercise while listening to your favorite music.
• And, don’t forget to jot down what you learned from the experience. Keeping notes about each audition can help you learn from mistakes and help alleviate some of the stress and pressure that you might feel. It can also help guide you when you note the positive comments you may have received. Look at each audition as a learning experience. The more we learn the smarter we are. Easy math. So no matter what, you should feel good just knowing that each audition you are learning more about your craft.
Remember…if you are feeling nervous or jittery, just breathe and focus on positive and constructive ways to help you remain calm and prepared. Don’t dwell on what’s to come. Think of one of the most regaled characters in movie history, Scarlett O’Hara, and what she famously said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”
About the author: Elana B. is a multi award-winning writer, speaker, and internationally published author. As a writer and ghostwriter she has written hundreds of stories from shorts to books to screenplays. As a healthcare enthusiast she has studied nutrition, health and wellness.
A gifted storyteller, Elana B.’s new children’s series, Too Terribly Busy and the “Too Terribly” Series of books, teach in a fun, creative way some of the most important lessons in life. Through this entertaining series of books, children will learn morals, manners, and how important it is to achieve goals, as well as conflict resolution. Sneak peek of the first story in the new series: TooTerriblyBusy-SP1.
More by Elana B. and other helpful articles:
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