You are a walking billboard, especially when it comes to acting and auditioning. Ever notice how people tend to size you up if you tell them you’re a performer? What they’re really doing is measuring your energy quotient.
What’s an energy quotient, you ask? Well, an energy quotient is all about the feeling you resonate to those around you and how it makes them feel. Last year, I auditioned for an indie film that I absolutely fell in love with. I loved it so much that I was willing to drive sixty miles to set and do it for free—it was that type of script. I always do energy practices before auditioning and this time was no different. But one objective stood out more so than anything else in my pre-audition meditation: have fun! Initially, I tried to force myself to focus on script analysis and scene objectives and obstacles and relationship. But I just kept getting “have fun, have fun” in response. It showed me that I was taking my life and career too seriously, so the audition came and I let loose.
It was the first time I really, truly let it all hang out. And the casting director said something I’ll never forget: “Just by the way you present and market yourself, I can tell that this is your purpose.” All those years, you wonder if you’re doing the right thing as an actor, if you’re on the right track, and then, through the beauty of synchronicity, you’re offered confirmation.
When I got home from that audition, I wrote down all the attributes that made me feel like a marketable actor. Here they are for you to use for success not just as a performer, but also in life.
Raise your energy.
Have you ever met someone who you couldn’t stop thinking about long after you left them? That’s what high energy does. It creates an impact. To be memorable as an actor, raise your energy.
Get your heart rate up and give yourself childlike energy by doing jumping jacks, bouncing on a trampoline, etc. If you can do this for just five minutes, you can create a high energy vibe that lasts for hours and you’ll feel amazing, a key to auditioning well.
Or listen to music. Choose melodies that relate to your character and you can really dial in the presence you need to succeed.
You can try watching footage of yourself acting too. For many actors, there’s nothing more magical than watching themselves on camera; the simple act offers a feeling of already having succeeded.
Even if you’re reading for a villainous character, smile and do so genuinely. Walk into the casting room, look everyone in the eye, and smile from the heart. What you’re doing is disarming the potential guards or walls that usually come up when meeting someone new.
One of the greatest things you can do as an actor is feel good and practice smiling as much as you can. What’s even more significant is that genuine smiles resonate a picture to the brain that says, “This person is confident. This person is happy. This could be someone I’d like to work with.” It’s only uphill from there.
Dress to impress the imagination.
Looking your best is a no-brainer for any audition but dressing to impress the imagination takes things to a new level. I used to dress up to look nice and feel comfortable for auditions but I knew I wasn’t creating the impact I wanted. So I got specific.
I began visiting military, costume, and party supply stores to find a wardrobe that could create the image of me as the character I was auditioning for. It’s one thing to be an amazing actor but it’s phenomenal if you can create a tangible vision of what a role should look like.
You should not be in costume, but you should consider all the details: would this character tuck his shirt in? Would he button the top button? Would he wear a belt? Take some time to ask yourself what wardrobe is going to impress the imaginations of the people casting?
Let go of the outcome.
Most of the unsuccessful auditions actors have are a result of them trying so badly to control the outcome. Let me tell you something very important: if it’s in your heart to be an actor, you will succeed. Your day will come and it will be exciting.
That being said, take the pressure off of yourself. It’s not realistic to kill yourself booking everything you audition for and it creates the energy of desperation. Desperation makes everything and everyone run away from you. We don’t want to create that space ever as a performer.
Believe in yourself and your ability.
They don’t teach you how powerful it is to be able to make a choice and stick with it. The only way this can come is when we are unapologetically confident in who we are and our ability as an actor. You will be challenged and confronted with things that attempt to make you second guess yourself. DON’T! Trust what you feel to be true.
At the risk of sounding like a Jedi master, it’s important to know what you feel whenever you make a decision. If the energy is high, you’re on the right path. If not, be open to changing direction. It’s all about feeling. Things that make you feel amazing are the things you should devote your energy to—this will resonate through your auditioning.
Most importantly, know that the only person who has power over you is you. If something seems illogical or out of sorts but the energy feels great, follow it! It might create some waves, but what you will experience after is the state of someone who trusts themselves. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the easier it will be for people to invest in you, especially casting directors, directors, and producers.
We’re often taught that our headshots, résumés, and reels are the most marketable aspects of our lives as actors. While this is true to some extent, your energy is the next thing you can work on and cultivate to evolve as a performer.
*This post was originally published on Oct. 25, 2018. It has since been updated.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.