Audition Anxiety

3 years, 6 months ago

Hey, actors on HE! (and non-actors :)) This post is longer than my usual, so bear with me!

I have an audition coming up soon for the acting track at my college. I auditioned over a year ago and didn’t make it. I tried to audition in the spring, however I had an emergency surgery that prevented me from even auditioning. So, here I am, hoping third time’s the charm. I’ve been in theatre since I was very young, so i’m no stranger to auditioning, but this audition is critical. If I don’t make the track this time I’m pretty much screwed. There wont be enough time for me to complete it by the time I graduate, and I can’t afford an extra year of school. I’m determined to make this audition, but it’s causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s still a few months away, but i’m losing sleep over it now.

I found an article online about audition anxiety that reminded me of something i’d find on here, because the author recommended a shift in perspective. Instead of thinking of auditions as a skill, he suggests thinking of them as a "screening process" where you let your own curiosity take flight and live in the moment.
http://www.brainsofminerva.com/2009/09/25/acting/acting-coach-seth-michael-may-on-beating-audition-anxiety/

So then I mosey on over to HE and immediately see the new post on love and fear. Which compelled me to start this discussion.

My focus on the fear of the audition is prohibiting me from preparing myself the best I can for the audition.

Time for a shift in perspective.
I’m going to try to stop thinking of what can go wrong and instead think of everything that can go right.
I will be prepared and well researched and practiced for the audition. I will take chances and explore and most importantly have fun! I know in my heart this is where I need to be, and if I open myself up, I know I will make this audition, and future auditions. When, not if, I make the track,I will unlearn everything I think I know, learn more about myself, collaborate with others, push boundaries, and create something beautiful.

I guess this post is mainly a pep-talk for me…but it certainly helped.
Actors- has this worked for you?
HEthens-your thoughts?

-Lexi :)

August 26, 2011 at 6:24 am

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Profile photo of mitch mitch (@mitch) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

Hey, thanks for sharing Lexi :)
I’m quite sure you will be prepared and well researched and practiced for the audition, take chances and explore and have fun.
Actors are lucky: they make a living by creating a person. If you’re a professional self creator, you’ll end up being among the best of the bunch.

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Profile photo of Randall Randall (@randall) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

You should indeed emphasize how fun it is to do and that you can do it. Most acting seems the most natural the more fun you have doing it. It will be less acting, and more real. So look forward to it, put up your biggest natural smile and shine!

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Profile photo of luigi luigi (@luigiblue) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

I’m not an actor but I am a director and I have worked with many actors. There is really nothing to worry about, the main thing I usually look at when looking at an actor is if they can actually become the role more than if they can act the role. I always do a little test to help explain the difference.

Step 1:
I would tell the actor to first walk 10 ft in any direction acting as sneaky as they could. The actor would usually put up this act like he or she is some sneaky person and they would usually overact or be horrible at what they are acting while they weren’t actually sneaky at all. Facial expressions are fake, body movement is exaggerated and so on.

Step 2:
Then I tell them to walk 10 ft in any direction again, only this time I don’t want to hear any footsteps or any creeks from the ground, I want it to be completely quiet as you walk. AT this point I placed the character in them and they are no longer thinking about how to act the part, they are living it. The actor would walk across the floor completely quiet and trying hard to not make a sound. Facial expressions were realistic, body movement was realistic, it looked real because it was real.

This is what we looked for, we want the actor to actually feel the role, we want them to actually experience the scene as if it were happening to them. So become the character as best as you can and you will be great. :)

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Profile photo of Aeron Aeron (@i8myhippo) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

Just to add something that may have little-to-no relevance: A book called “The Inner Game of Tennis” covers topics that apply to all performing arts. One of them being that you ALWAYS practice infront of an audience. Reason being that when you practice alone, you do not fear the mistake, thus you do not make one. When you perform, you will be nervous, so the left-side of the brain takes over.

Point being, if you do not fear the mistake, you will not make one.

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Profile photo of Lexi Lexi (@lexi) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

Thanks everyone :)
@aeron- I may check that book out!

@luigi
Yes! That is exactly why i’m dissatisfied by my own acting. I feel like it’s me acting, doing “acty” things. I need to be more in the moment.

I know exaggeration is important in theatre, but not to the point where it isn’t natural. Do you prefer if the actor instantly does step 2 or do you prefer to see the shift from one to two?

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Profile photo of ELI var namnet ELI var namnet (@manimal) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

I’m not an actor, but a musician, in some ways it’s pretty much the same. And I’ve learned quite some stuff about performance. The key to high performance is being, not doing.

If you are simply doing an impression of a character, it won’t be that good. If really you take on the character, if you are the character, you will rock that role. This is key to all performance, I learned it through playing music on stage. If you just get up on stage and play a song, it will be mediocre and soulless, fake. If you get up and live the song you will rock and people will feel your music. If you get on the field to just throw a ball, you won’t play very well. If you get out there and become one with the game you will score lots of points.

High performance is all about being, not doing. You gotta be focused and feel it.

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