When the adrenaline takes over, many different forms of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges can plague actors in the casting office. What can you do to stay focused? How do you handle your nervousness? And once you’re in the room, how do you navigate the chaos?
Here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Beware of energy suckers.
Have you ever been in the waiting room distracted by a nervous, late, flustered actor who just sprinted out of the elevator with a mission to create a spectacle of themselves? Or the actor sitting next to you, looking to have a profound conversation with anyone who will show the slightest bit of interest?
All actors deal with their nerves and anxiety differently but that doesn’t mean you need to let these potential distractions get the better of you. Focus on your sides or a book. Pop on your headphones as a clear signal you don’t want to talk. Do whatever you can to help stay in your cocoon of concentration.
2. Use your nerves.
What if you find yourself filled with nerves? Rather than try to “fix” the situation by pushing your nerves down or ignoring them, why not use them? Drama—and comedy, for that matter—is just heightened reality. So include those very real nerves in your audition. Why might your character be nervous? Take the time to ask yourself why you’re nervous and chances are that you can turn it around and feed it your character instead.
Let your imagination give that nervous energy to the character and transform those nerves into a gift rather than a curse.
3. Take your time.
Once inside the casting room, there will be a moment when you need to adjust to the energy in the room. It’s easy to feel rushed, jumping into the scene before you’re ready. Remember: you’re allowed to take your time before launching into the scene. That said, be aware of seeming like an “actor taking his/her time.”
Use your craft—the scene doesn’t start with the first line—and think about the previous circumstances. Get involved in the energy that’s taking place just before the first line. You can always use the previous circumstances to help get grounded, present, and in your concentration.
4. Do it for yourself.
If you go in there begging for the job, you immediately give up your power. We all want to get the job, but getting the job is always out of our control. What we can control is the way we talk to ourselves about how to approach our work: with the joy of acting. The audition is an opportunity for us to do what we love and be seen.
Do it for yourself and you’ll always feel more in command of your artist while in the casting office.
Greg Braun is a professional actor and co-founded New Collective L.A. in 2009 along with Matthew Word with the mission of creating a nurturing and empowering conservatory-style acting studio in Los Angeles. Greg has previously taught for Susan Batson at her acting studio for more than fifteen years in New York and Los Angeles combined. He received special mention in Ms. Batson’s seminal acting book, “TRUTH.” His expertise includes a broad knowledge of on camera, theater, building a character, and script analysis. Greg teaches all of the core classes at the New Collective.
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