Meditating Regularly Will Seriously Help Your Auditions. Here’s Why

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Presence in an audition isn’t something you can force or create. It’s a physical and emotional state that occurs only when the actor is living entirely in the present moment.

Under pressure, the nervous system defaults to the state it’s most familiar with, so it’s a good idea to check in with how often you’re willing to totally be present for the moments of your life. That will give you a clue as to what you can expect in an audition.

What most people find out when they begin to explore the degree of their presence is that they actually spend very little time in the present and a lot of time either rehashing the past or rehearsing the future.

So, if our nervous systems have little actual experience of what it’s like to live in the present moment, how can we expect it to be able to stay steady in the audition room?

Here are two strategies for cultivating present moment awareness I hope will help:

There are hundreds of different ways to meditate but for our purposes, a basic insight meditation practice is a great way to train in coming back to the present moment—even if you only have a few minutes a day to practice.

Remember, meditation isn’t about not thinking, it’s about observing your thoughts as they arise without getting caught up in them. And when you do start getting caught, returning to the present moment by focusing on an object—most popularly, the breath.

Sitting quietly with eyes closed, simply focus on the breath going in and the breath going out. In, out, in, out. When a thought hooks you or an emotion demands to be felt, simply recognize by lightly saying “thinking,” and come back to the feeling of the breath going in and going out.

Even if you only do this for five minutes a day, the mind starts to become less jumpy, less apt to get carried away by thoughts of the past and future, and when it does it’s more easily led back to the present.

I’ve written and taught extensively on this topic including a series of meditation instruction articles that you can find in the backstage archives. There is also a meditation mp3 that you can find here.

READ: The 1 Audition Trick That Will Book the Job

Come Back
The brain, in its endless quest to keep you safe, is usually looking behind or in front of you for signs of danger. The thought of you simply standing still and taking whatever comes your way can cause extreme agitation in the mind, which is why it always seems to be pulling you backward or forward.

This deceptively simple and very powerful exercise provides the feeling of safety your mind needs to let you live in the present moment:

The next time you feel your mind jumping to the future or drifting to the past simply say to yourself, “Come back.” Take three deep breaths and feel your body firmly in the present, noting the feeling of the breath in your chest, the feeling of your feet on the floor or your butt in the seat. Feel the mind settle and focus as the stories, plans, fantasies etc. drop away and you come back to the only moment that’s real: the present moment.

The ability to come back to the present moment is essential because you audition in the rhythm in which you live your life. If you live with an agitated mind that is seldom in the present, and a body that never settles down, you may find that in the audition you’re policing your work, doubting, wishing the room was friendlier, wondering if they’re going to like you. This is a much-weakened state indeed, but if your mind and body know nothing else, this is what is likely to happen.

To be at your best in an audition, you need a way of working that removes all doubt in your work and gives you the confidence to feel you truly belong in that room. You also need the strength to accept the room just as it is, knowing you’ll be great no matter what.

But the icing on the cake, the thing that really tells them you belong, is when you deliver that work and stand in that room with the powerful focus and intensity that comes from being present in each and every moment of the experience. Do that and you’ll be the compelling, charismatic actor that they have to hire.

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Craig Wallace
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of the Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent, and casting consultant.