The 8 Most Common Audition Room Emotions

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Hey, you scored an audition! No big deal—just another shot at acting greatness, right? It’s not like there’s any pressure to nail it.

Just kidding, there’s tons of pressure. Even the most veteran actors experience a roller coaster of emotions in the moments before, during, and after an audition. Whether you’re going out for multiple gigs a day or preparing for your next potential career-making audition, you can probably relate to the eight emotions listed below. Know that the next time you step into that room where it happens, you’re likely to experience any or all of the following—and so are other working actors everywhere!

READ: “How to Be More Confident in the Audition Room”

You’re all too familiar with this “God, I hope I get it” feeling. Maybe it’s a stomach full of butterflies, or weak knees, or even profuse sweating. Stress is a normal and natural response to a high-stakes situation; the anticipation that builds leading up to an audition can get to anyone. Remember that your brain and body benefit from deep breaths, and do whatever you need to do—assemble an empowering playlist, go over your sides or monologue again—to minimize nerves.

OK, you’ve arrived at your audition waiting room. Whether it’s a big, impressive building, or a tiny, dingy studio, the space can trigger feelings of intimidation or even unworthiness. The receptionist might be rude, or you might be surrounded by people who look like more attractive versions of yourself. Auditions are about confidence, so focus on your inner mantra. You got this.

Speaking of those versions of yourself, it’s easy to play the comparison game while in the audition waiting room. Did I see that person on an episode of “Law and Order”? Why didn’t I dress more like that person? Remember: The chips will fall where they may and the person best suited for the role will get the role. Your job is not to compare your assets to others beforehand—it’s to do the best you can in the room where it happens.

Oh boy, they’ve called your name. Don’t be surprised if your stomach does a flip or you suddenly get tunnel vision. You’re about to put yourself and your career on the line! With the right mentality, a little fear can help focus you rather than dishearten you. Breathe through the fear. Use it!

Focused calm
Have you ever lost yourself completely in an audition? Where the room and the casting directors disappear until it’s just you, your words, and your acting choices? Some actors perform their audition with all their anxiety and fear still at the forefront of their mind, but others achieve a state of pure zen. Doing so is certainly not a requirement for a great audition, but it sure can be thrilling.

READ: “7 Ways Your Face Expresses Emotion”

You’ve just read the final line of your monologue, or sides, or song. In that tiny, silent beat where you flip out of character and your time is up, you might experience a heretofore foreign emotion in this process: jubilation! You’ve just had a minute or two to practice your craft, unfiltered, in a room of professionals who might want to work with you. Don’t celebrate too hard, but allow yourself a brief pat on the back and engage with the people on the other side of the table. Good job!

Even if you blew it—and remember, everybody has audition horror stories!—there’s an inevitable feeling of relief. Those post-audition moments can be a complicated mess of emotions, but knowing that the experience is over, regardless of how it went, sure is comforting.

But guess what? That audition is behind you...the next one is up ahead! Time to focus your energy and your actorly know-how on the next potentially life-changing opportunity. And get on this roller coaster all over again.

Looking to jump-start your acting career? Check out our audition listings!

And for practical acting advice, visit Backstage’s YouTube channel!