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How to Get Over Audition Nerves

OpinionAdvice

Brian Stamper

Brian Stamper

·9 min read

Your palms are sweating, heart racing, mind all over the place, obsessively reading over each line, all while praying that you don’t mess up/get negative feedback/get dropped by your agent AND quit your run at show business forever?

*Sound familiar? *

Here’s the deal: everyone gets nervous. It doesn’t matter if you’re an actor looking to score that big gig or an A-list director shooting a big budget film. Nervousness happens to all of us, and for someone looking to start out in a nerve-wracking business, it can be quite intimidating. Auditioning is already an awkward concept, but it is all about how you handle nerves that allows you to deliver a good first audition.

Here are some basic techniques that we, at Casting Depot, recommend using during, and after that first audition.

  • **Make an Audition Playlist**

    Athletes do it. Public speakers do it. Regular gym-goers do it. And yes, even actors do it. Create a playlist of your favorite songs to listen to in order to get into the zone and help you feel at ease. Remember, the key here is to remain focused -- turn off your text and email notifications and don’t check social media. Allow the music to take over and quiet your mind.

    Take Deep Breaths

    You’ve heard it before. It actually works. You need to find your own breathing technique; a popular one is a 4 second inhale, hold, and 4 second exhale. Another is breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel free to count your breaths, verbally tell yourself to “relax”, or even move your body with your breaths. If you’re doing this in the audition room and you’re afraid others might be weirded out, embrace it! Let them think you’re weird. If they do, good. Let them be intimidated by you.

    Be Prepared

    This might seem obvious, but many walk into an audition feeling unprepared - or worse - they realize their unprepared once they start auditioning. Yes, it’s important to rehearse the scenes as many times as you can. But, it’s equally important to visualize your audition start to finish. Close your eyes and imagine walking in the door, fully prepared, slating your name for casting directors, then getting lost in the moment of the scene and completely forgetting that it’s an audition. Now imagine walking away feeling great about it, like you nailed it. This is a powerful tool if done correctly and effectively.

    Walk in with Confidence

    If you’re an actor, you must act like a confident person, right? Successful actors walk into many situations, especially auditions, with a string of confidence. Body language goes a long way. Hold your head high, don’t slouch, and make direct eye contact when speaking and spoken to. Speak directly and properly. In fact, just act like you already have the job. Even if you feel nervous, you will make casting directors comfortable, which will make your nerves slowly disappear. Body language is key when making an impression on others, but having a confident mentality will help you as you walk in.

    Listen!

    A lot of actors/actresses forget this key ingredient: simply listen. In the audition room, it is your job to fully immerse yourself in the scene and listen to the lines as if it’s your first time hearing them. In your mind, you need to be thinking, “What did that character say to me? How do I feel about it?” and, “Why do I feel this way?” instead of generic human thoughts like “How do I look? Do they like me? Am I messing up my lines?” If you’re thinking that, you’ve broken character and are not focused on the scene at hand. Casting directors can spot focus a mile away. Make sure you are fully dedicated to your character in that exact moment, and let your talent take over and do the rest.

These are all useful tools to consider to help calm your nerves and hopefully lead you to nailing that audition. Remember, the acting business can be insanely competitive and crazy, but casting directors are constantly looking to find that next wave of talent.

Preparation is huge, but it’s important to keep a soothed mind while you’re preparing. Additionally, it’s important to make a stellar first impression once you’re inside and meet the executives face-to-face.

Calm yourself, prepare correctly and efficiently, show them your confidence, and kill your audition! It’s a learning process, so remember, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get a call back to move forward on your first few go arounds.

There are plenty of people that want the same role, and it’s always a tough decision to make. Follow these routines and perfect it. You’ll feel better about it each time, which will hopefully lead you to making a statement to casting directors that you’re the one for the role.