How to avoid waiting room mind games at your next audition
How do you feel when you’re in the audition waiting room? Do you feel calm and relaxed? Or do you feel stressed and nervous? Maybe you feel excited? Or perhaps you rotate through all those feelings?
If you feel great about your pre-game, waiting room mindset, STOP READING NOW. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
BUT….. if you feel that sometimes that pesky brain of yours can get in your way, or if you struggle with nerves, read on. I’m going to share some tips and tricks to master that waiting room self talk.
Party with those nerves!
Brene Brown defines vulnerability as: uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure….. pretty much the definition of an audition. The more you put on the line, the more physical sensations you will have, it’s a guarantee. So if you struggle with nerves, know there is nothing wrong, it’s just an indicator that acting and your audition matters to you.
However, physiologically nerves (aka fear) and excitement show up in the body in the same way. Those butterflies in your stomach will show up whether you are nervous or excited, the only difference is how you label it.
For the most part we call nerves “bad” and excitement “good.” So can you reframe those nerves as excitement?
I love Committed Impulse, the technique of actor and acting coach Josh Pais. He suggests becoming a neutral observer of your body. It is all just energy, so can you look at your physical sensations in a neutral way? Can you experience what is happening without judgement or a need to ‘fix it’?
For example, for me, it might sound like, I feel some energy in my stomach. My breath feels high up in my chest and I feel some tingling in my hands.
Instead of, “I think I’m gonna puke. I can hardly breathe or feel my hands!”
Carl Jung said, What you resist persists. We only get into trouble when we try to stop those nervous feelings. Josh Pais says that if you don’t try to push away those feelings and instead stay with (or “party with” to quote Josh) those physical sensations, they will move through you or shift to something else in a mere 12-15 seconds!
Love and Gratitude
If I’m in the waiting room and I start falling into the trap of “compare and despair” I just start sending everyone love. I silently wish everyone (myself included) a great audition and send them love and light. It feels good and instantly relaxes me.
I also focus on Gratitude for the opportunity. There are literally thousands of actors, who would LOVE to be in your shoes right now. Getting into that casting office, having a chance to show your take on the character and being “in the mix” for the project is a huge WIN, so celebrate that! You can’t build on success you don’t acknowledge.
Mantra, Mantra, Mantra
I love a good mantra! Nature abhors a vacuum so sometimes when your mind gets busy feeding you all sorts of unhelpful information, (Her outfit is cuter than mind, Why didn’t I wear the blue dress, She is totally perfect for the part, Wow she sounds so friendly with the casting director etc) I find it easier to quiet my mind by focusing on a mantra.
I LOVE the brazen and freeing quality of Jack Plotnick’s Mantras. (He has a fantastic FREE acting book and mantra list that you can download from his website.)
Some of my favorites include:
I release and destroy my need to get this job
I release and destroy my need to impress them. Fu*k them. I can hate them.
I release and destroy my need to be an “Actor.” Let them be the “Actors,” and have all the responsibilities that come with it. I’m just here to be myself and have fun!
This, or something greater, for my highest good, and the highest good of all concerned.
Don’t forget to B.R.E.A.T.H. Enough Said. Oxygen makes everything better, E.V.E.R.Y.T.I.M.E.
Have you seen Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on the importance of body language? She states that if you stand in the power pose. (Like superwoman, legs apart, hands on hips) for 2 minutes you will unequivocally change your body chemistry and hormonal levels.
Your testosterone will increase by 20% and your cortisol (the stress hormone) will decrease by 25%. You will quantitatively be more confident and will have increased your risk tolerance!
Now I don’t stand with my hands on my hips, gazing at the sky, like superwoman waiting for casting to call my name… BUT I have been known to stand like superwoman in a casting bathroom stall for 2 minutes and it definitely gives me a wave of confidence in the waiting room!
Auditioning is …weird!
I have met actors who sincerely seem to LOVE auditioning so that was my goal for years. I used to think that the only way to book the job was to love auditioning. But now I realize I can be good at auditioning but I don’t have to love it. For me it was an unrealistic expectation. My ideal career is audition-free and straight offers 100% of the time.
I now acknowledge and accept that auditioning – the time commitment, inconvenience, hair and make-up prep, financial commitment if I got coaching, is just part of an actor’s job description. I can then let all that go and focus on gratitude for the opportunity and having fun in the audition room. Fun is why we’re all actors in the first place right?
Which of these techniques are you going to try at your next audition? Let me know in the comments below.
PS. For other pro-active tips on how to book TV/film work, check out our free ONLINE master class: Book TV/Film On Your OWN: 3 Insider Strategies