I hate to be a broken record, but really, is there anything that doesn’t come down to presence? That’s what we all want in auditions…to be present, to get into the moment, to show who we are, including our talent, to not block it, not go into our heads…we want this desperately. We feel terribly when we know we fall short.
And yet. And yet it is in the trying to not feel what we feel, to not be who we are…it is in the controlling or trying to control our own reality that we send our own presence right out of the room.
The first mistake actors make is to try not to be nervous. We think there’s the perfect audition state, and in searching for it, we try not to feel so many things…basically, anything uncomfortable. The trick is to be open to feeling whatever it is. To give in to the body and its nerves and to accept it, work with it, let it be the grist for the mill…because the only other possibility is to go into your head and not be present. It’s mindfulness applied to acting. Putting attention on what’s uncomfortable, breathing into it, and then expressing it if it’s still there when it’s your turn to go.
I had terribly audition anxiety. TERRIBLE. My casting ratio went through the roof when I stopped fighting it. Now I’m like, hey, hello nerves. They still come, I still get ramped up, but I’m not scared they’ll take me out of myself. They are just a part of who I am.
The other common mistakes–which are more about how you prepare the text, how you look at it, what the role is for…those are more about training and education. They are more easily fixed, in a way. But first, you have to be present. And it is possible to grow that. It really is.