10 ways to Smash Audition NervesCasting Tips
Many people struggle with nerves ahead of a performance or casting audition so here are my top 10 ways to smash your pre-audition nerves.
1. Have a Gin and Tonic
After all one can’t harm can it? Errr Hello! Do not on any occasion. Under any circumstances. Ever. EVER have any alcohol, a spliff or any other form of mood enhancing drugs, to help with audition nerves.
However confident you think a cheeky Baileys might make you feel, the smell alone, never mind your performance, will be enough to ensure that the only place the casting director will calling will be rehab and not your agent.
2. Do a short meditation to start off the day
These days you don’t have to go on a retreat to an Ashram or camp in a Yurt on a Welsh commune to find yourself. Meditation has become a part of many people’s lives; everybody can benefit from some inner calm and focus whatever type of person and whatever the age – and nobody more so than actors.
There are various flavours of meditation from Transcendental Meditation (for the truly dedicated with deeper wallets) to more simple mindfulness techniques, but whatever you do chose it will help promote calm, confidence and a feeling of being centred. There are plenty of great resources online, some of which even cover mindfulness for actors, so inhale deeply grasshopper and let Google be your guru.
3. Get there in good time
There is nothing worse than being late and dashing into an audition hot, sweaty and not able to perform your best, so I’m going to paraphrase Oleta Adams’ musical advice from 1991. “I don’t care how you get here, just get here…” nice and early.
And whilst I would not recommend that you take her advice and travel “…by sailboat, climb a tree or swing rope to rope.” I do recommend that you do ensure that you plan your journey carefully.
Check then double check your timings and then add at least 30 minutes for good measure. If you’re early… meditate!
4. Feel The Burn
Nobody is expecting you to do a ‘Mo Farrah’ style 10k, but some gentle exercise an hour or two before you go in for your casting session will release those endorphins and get you feelin’ pumped and energised. And if you can’t manage a short walk, run or swim then why not retire to a cubicle in the Ladies or Gents at the casting studio and do 30 seconds of squats and 30 seconds of running on the spot.
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins gets into a “Peak State” for his presentations through forms energized movement that he says can change your state of mind. Robbins will get himself in the zone about ten minutes prior to taking the stage getting his body “awake and alive” by jumping up and down, spinning around, fist pumping and standing with his arms outstretched – you might want to avoid his use of trampolines though.
5. Be like a Boy Scout…
…and be prepared! Make sure you have a look at any script at least 24 hours prior to your casting, providing its been sent to you in good time. Have a recap a few hours before your casting.
6. And breathe…
Tied closely to tip 2 don’t forget to breathe. Just before you go into an audition take a moment to centre your body, standing with your feet apart and remembering to breathe 4 counts in and 8 counts out. Do for 5 minutes.
The next 3 tips to beat your audition nerves come courtesy of legend that was Bing Crosby. In fact he was so smart that Microsoft named a search engine after him (unlike Google who named themselves after another rat-packer Google Davis Junior.)
But I digress. Bing told us we need to…
7. Accentuate the Positive…
So why not speak to a positive friend on your journey to the casting – someone that makes you laugh and will distract you from being nervous.
8. …and Eliminate the Negative
Try not to over think things. Don’t focus on what might go wrong, what will they think and who will be there – just be yourself and remember at the end of the day we are all just people. There is that bizarre trick of imagining them naked, but depending on who is on the panel, that might either repulse you or make you blush! In any event some centred meditation and breathing will help you Eliminate Bing’s Negative.
9. Latch on to the affirmative…
Think about all your good points and all your achievements. You must have got something right to even be there!
10. … and don’t Mess with Mr Inbetween
Don’t do too much before you have a casting, so pick and choose from the above and see what works best for you.