Fighting Stage Fright: Tips to Quell Audition Anxiety

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Every actor has been there—in the sitting area waiting to go in for the big audition, mind racing, hands sweating, obsessively reading sides, and hoping and praying that you don’t totally mess up. Here’s the thing: Everyone gets nervous—even titans of the industry. But it’s all about how you handle nerves that allows you to deliver a good audition. Here are some tried-and-true techniques to get rid of acting nerves.

How to not be nervous for an audition

1. Make an audition playlist.

Put 20 songs on your phone that make you feel calm and relaxed. Listen to them from the moment you step out the door until the moment they call your name. Stay focused: Avoid email, Instagram, and TikTok. Allow the music to simply quiet your mind.

2. Take 10 deep breaths.

Close your eyes and for four seconds each, inhale, hold, and exhale. With every inhale, repeat “relax” to yourself in your mind (or out loud, if you want to be weird). When you exhale, imagine all the stress leaving your body. 

3. Be prepared. 

Memorize the lines so well, in so many different ways, that they become second nature to you. It’s muscle memory, just like practicing a routine in dance. Practice with a friend or with a line-memorization app—you don’t want the audition to be the first time you hear the words out loud.

4. Visualize the audition. 

This one works wonders. After rehearsing the scene many times, close your eyes and visualize the audition from start to finish. Imagine walking in the door, fully prepared, slating your name, and then disappearing into the scene, completely forgetting about the fact that it’s an audition. Then imagine walking away and feeling great about it. This can be a powerful tool if used effectively.

5. Walk in with confidence.

You’re an actor, right? Nervous acting is a result of stage fright; instead, try acting like a confident person. It’s all about body language. Hold your head high, make eye contact, bring your shoulders back, and act like you already have the job. Even if you’re still feeling actors’ nerves on the inside, your exterior body language will make the casting director feel comfortable, which will in turn make you feel more comfortable as well. 

6. Simply listen.

A lot of actors forget this. In the audition room, it’s your job to fully immerse yourself in the scene and really listen as if you are hearing the words for the first time. In your mind, you should be thinking, “What did that character just say to me? How do I feel about that?” instead of, “God, I hope I don’t mess up. Did I put enough pomade in my hair?”

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Matt Newton
Matt Newton is one of the most sought-after on-camera acting coaches in New York City. His clients include Tony winners, Emmy award winners, Golden Globe nominees, and well-known actors from film and TV.
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