You have an audition tomorrow—yay! Except...it’s already 7 p.m. and you have until tomorrow at 9 a.m. to prepare six pages of lengthy dialogue. Cue the fear setting in.
As actors, it’s not unusual to get a big audition thrown at us extremely last-minute. And while it can be scary, it’s part of the job. When that rushed pressure evolves into a heightened state of anxiety that consumes us, it robs us of the precious time we have to actually prepare a solid performance.
From a holistic perspective, here’s how to tackle those big, last-minute auditions so that you approach them with ease, grace, and you rock the socks off the casting directors the next day!
1. Before reading the audition material, do the 4-7-8 breath for one minute.
Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and breathe out for a count of eight. Repeat this for one minute. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system—your calm state—so you’ll read the audition material from a calm (not panicked) state of mind. Feeling rushed and anxious while reading the material can really cloud your initial judgments and instincts about the character. You’ll also retain more when you’re in a calm state. After this breath, do as you normally would to prepare the character.
2. Make it a smart and timely dinner
Make sure you eat a decent dinner not too close to bedtime. Avoid fried foods (they produce inflammation and can cause a lag in energy) and make sure your meal includes a protein and starch, both of which will help promote restful sleep. Also be sure to eat at least two hours before bedtime for deeper sleep and no “food hangover” that could impede your performance the next day.
3. Don’t pull an all-nighter.
Sleep helps solidify the new information you just learned, like your lines! To help ensure you fall asleep, have some calming herbal tea like chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm to relax your system. If you have any lavender essential oil, dab some on your pillow to surround yourself with the calming scent until you fall asleep.
4. Add coconut oil in your coffee or tea in the morning.
Depending on the nerves, you may or may not want to eat breakfast. Either way, adding coconut oil to your morning beverage can be beneficial as it contains medium-chain triglycerides that will help boost cognition. The high-fat addition will also help satiate you and prevent hunger from kicking in right before you’re called in to perform.
5. Sniff peppermint essential oil en route.
I always recommend every actor keep this wonderful oil on hand as it boosts alertness and memory! It’s simultaneously invigorating and relaxing. Pretty cool huh?
6. Breathe deep in the waiting room.
Focus on smiling and taking long breaths in and even longer breaths out through the nose! Longer breaths out is key as it helps keep your body in a relaxed state.
7. Strike a pose.
Sneak to the bathroom or stairwell, or do it right as you get out of the car and assume a power pose as close to the audition as possible. Put your hands by your sides, stand up really straight, smile and hold for one minute. This is an incredible tool that has been proven to enhance performance, especially in interviews. Even if you feel silly, try it out—it’s really helpful before those high-stakes auditions!
Then, get in there and rock the audition. Have fun. You can only do the best you can do and that in itself is freeing. Be good and kind to yourself, and follow these seven steps to make your next last-minute big audition your best yet!
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.