Suzanne Lyons discusses the importance of networking and offers great information on creating relationships within the Entertainment Industry.
No matter how good of an actor you are or how well you have prepared, once you enter the waiting area and then the audition room, if you don’t know how to “be” in that war zone then your audition work could suffer. Sitting in the holding area with a dozen or more actors, waiting up to an hour or being rushed in with little or no preparation and sometimes getting confusing direction can be very disconcerting and are not usually conducive to actors’ doing their best. Here are several actions that can be taken to help you feel confident, prepared and empowered.
Arrive early: Never be late or even on time because you won’t have options if the session is running on schedule. Be early so you can get settled and focused and have time to adjust your hair, makeup and/or wardrobe, and prepare the audition material. When you are early, you have options.
Ask questions: When you need clarification on the material or what is expected, ask the assistant who is supervising the sign-ins in the waiting area so that you can get the most from your preparation. If you are not sure how to pronounce a word or the product name, ask. If something doesn’t make sense, ask. It’s better to ask questions before rehearsing than to get corrections from the session director in the audition room and have to adjust your work right before auditioning.
Find Out the “Tone”: Every commercial has a style or “tone” that should be factored into the preparation. You might get answers like natural, comedic, quirky, over-the-top, fun/playful,serious, warm, upscale, authoritative, vulnerable, earthy, edgy, over-the-top, understated, etc.
Do your audition preparation: If you haven’t obtained your copy in advance, do your preparation: investigate, motivate, and find your connection and interpretation. If you did receive the copy and worked on it in advance, review your choices and work on your connection. Find a place where you can rehearse in a full voice.
Rehearse with your partner: When you are doing scene auditions, either the casting assistant will assign you a partner(s) or you should check the sign-in list and determine the actor(s) with whom you will probably be paired. This is especially valuable when auditioning with children. Rehearse with your partner(s) or, if there is no dialogue, spend time getting comfortable with them.
Work on several interpretations: Locking in only one way of doing an audition can be problematic. First, it usually creates a fairly shallow interpretation. Second, if the session operator wants a different approach, it can be hard to shake the work you have locked in. Finally, if asked to do the copy or scenario a second or third way, you won’t have it. Work on several approaches.
Deal with your nerves: Every audition is a precious opportunity to work, make money, create contacts and fans and move a career forward. When actors fixate on these expectations before auditioning, it normally creates anxiety and pressure. Don’t focus on disempowering thoughts and questions This “noise” is normal. How you deal with your questions, concerns and expectations will determine how much power those thoughts have. What you think influences how you feel, and how you feel impacts your audition.
Stay relaxed and focused: After you have done a thorough preparation and while you wait, don’t continually run your lines and review your choices, either out loud or in your head. It’s been my experience that when actors do this, they create anxiety and make themselves insecure. Don’t let the frustration of having to wait negatively affect your mood, energy or mind-set. Do whatever works to keep you focused, confident and positive, e.g., meditate, sit quietly, read, laugh, walk around by yourself, etc. Don’t chat with other actors unless
rehearsing or getting comfortable with them. When you know that you will be next, review your choices, lines, objectives, motivations, etc. – but only once or twice more.
Energize and prepare to commit to your choices and instincts and to enjoy the audition. It’s your time to be an actor.
Actors don’t have tangible products to sell. Each is their own product and they must believe in and have confidence their talents and themselves or there is nothing to sell. Confidence is essential for everyone but it is crucial for actors and performers. Vanity, arrogance or egotism is not confidence. They are usually facades for someone who lacks it. If you are honest with yourself, you know the difference.
Confident is just who some actors are. Others may have had support from family and friends and/or from of multiple successes. For most, the lack of confidence is an issue that needs to be worked on. Lets start by considering the value of building your confidence. I believe:
- • Experience creates confidence. The more you do anything, the more experienced and skillful you become. So the more you properly study, rehearse, audition and work, the more confident you are about your craft.
- • Confidence produces freedom. With real confidence, you do not worry about what others think or failing thus you have the freedom to be courageous and you.
- • With Freedom, your talent can shine. When actors get auditions, sign with an agent, receive good feedback or reviews, get callbacks and book jobs, etc., it helps them to feel confident. Unfortunately, these events are dependent on the acceptance of others. In that case confidence can come and go without these “wins”.
Here are my suggestions that are helpful in building your confidence:
Train with professional acting teachers.
When you honestly know that you have a solid acting training, you can believe in your craft.
Take improvisation workshops.
In professional improvisation classes, you learn to trust your instincts and commit. Once, you get over your fear of making mistakes, you experience that they are fun and that great moments come from messing up. This progression helps you to learn that no matter what happens in class or in life, you can handle it. This type of training goes a long way in building confidence.
ALWAYS BE prepared.
Whether putting up scenes in your classes, auditioning for jobs, or working as an actor, always be as prepared as possible. When you are unprepared, most will feel insecure about their work.
Acknowledge yourself for your successes.
Most of us are quick to find fault with ourselves and what we do. I strongly suggest that you ALWAYS take a few minutes to acknowledge yourself for what was accomplished or when you have done your creative best whether or not you get the job or the positive feedback you desire. This is really important for building self esteem. When you can be totally supportive of yourself, you will not be dependent on others to feel successful. And while you are at it, acknowledge others. It is great for them and reminds you to always do it for yourself.
Learn from mistakes.
We are human and we all make mistakes especially when we are moving into uncharted waters. Most learn more from their mistakes than from successes. So I suggest you look at mistakes as lessons and as gifts instead of emotionally beating yourself up when you make them.
Avoid negative, jealous, angry or bitter people.
Those we surround ourselves with affect how we feel about ourselves. As much as possible lose all the disempowering people in your life.
Have a full life:
The more fun and stimulating activities we are involved with the less pressure most actors attach to having to prove themselves.
Stay out of debt.
Too much pressure is put on booking work when actors have money problems. When your financial life is somewhat in balance, you go into auditions without the pressure of needing the money.
Enjoy your “survival” job.
If you have a job that you dislike, that can create negative feeling about yourself.
I truly believe that if you follow these suggestions to help build your confidence that it should have a powerful affect on your ability to feel good about yourself, thus do your best auditions and get acting work.
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Auditions can be tough to come by. You want to do well to have a better chance at booking the job as well as leave a favorable impression so that you will get more auditions with the casting director. Read more