Acting can be a difficult job. As an actor, you are thrown into many stressful situations and must find a way to hold on to your composure as well as give a great performance. Learning your lines at a moment’s notice, working with other actors and production personalities, sitting knee-to-knee with your competition in the casting lobby, navigating all the last-minute changes with shoot dates, call times, and life’s curveballs are all potential stressors you’re asked to juggle in your role as an actor.
Believe it or not, those of us on the other side of the table have great respect for each of your accomplishments. And those of you who make it look like a cakewalk, well, you are a rarity!
I can’t speak to all the things in your life that make your job as an actor so challenging, but for those of you who get stuck in the mire of auditioning or performing, here are some self-care tips to consider.
Auditions come and go. Even if you think a particular role is the part of a lifetime, just do the best you can in the audition and when you walk out of the room, leave it behind. That goes for both great and horrible auditions: you cannot predict what the clients will decide at the end of the session. There are many factors and layers of decision-makers involved in the approval process. But it’s crucial for your sanity that you leave the audition behind once it’s done.
2. Remain relaxed.
Your best audition will happen when you’re relaxed and confident in what you can do. If you tense up, which is easy to do when you are nervous, it will block you from your best performance. If you are relaxed, it’s much easier to change direction on a dime, recover if you forget a line, and show us your personality. Take relaxation classes, try meditation, and learn to control your breathing—these will all help you stay composed and keep cool in all of the stress.
3. Don’t be hard on yourself.
It’s very important not to judge yourself when an audition or performance takes a turn for the worse. Try not to over-analyze what happened in the room or relive the audition wishing you could have changed your performance or made different creative choices. Dwelling in the negativity won’t make things better. Take the opportunity to turn it into something positive. Treat it as a learning experience in your acting career and keep it on the list of “What Not to Do.” Think of the audition room like a visit to Las Vegas: whatever happens there stays there!
4. Balance your life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of the entertainment world. I know so many actors who fill every second of their time doing things that pertain to acting. Yes, that’s important, but consider making other things priorities as well. After all, roles are based on real characters and the best way to get to know them is to be present in your daily life. Go to museums, join a book club, travel—get out of your routines by learning more about the people around you.
While you’re out enjoying yourself, you will gain a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help you develop deeper, more interesting characters to bring to the stage and screen.
5. Remember to take care of your health.
Your health is everything! Eat right, exercise, get sleep, and take care of your instrument. Sounds basic, right? Well, I know many actors who pride themselves on running on empty all the time. Burning out does no one any good.
Casting and production need you at peak performance at all times, so please do everything you can to ensure you are the best version of yourself. Ideally, you’re working on a long-term goal of having a long list of credits throughout your acting career. It’s like training for the marathon instead of the 100-meter dash: you need to be able to go the distance. Get your instrument ready by taking care of your psyche, nerves, and health. You’ll definitely need them as your foundation for the stressful and exciting journey ahead.
*This post was originally published on Nov. 9, 2018. It has since been updated.
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