Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gotta Lotta Nerve

If there is one thing that can drain the life out of an audition and hinder its potential for success, it is nervousness. Palms sweat, voices quiver, faces shake – now that may sound extreme, but it happens, a lot.  To varying degrees, but it does happen frequently. Even seasoned actors, who are just out of practice with the auditioning process, can show great signs of nervousness.

It seems the fewer auditions actors have, the more nervous they get.  It’s like dating. If you have several dates lined up in a row, each one has less stress, less importance. So one way to combat those nerves (and I’ll be writing more suggestions in future articles) is to go on as many auditions as possible. Especially if you are newer to the world of auditioning – audition for practice. Audition for everything: short films, plays, industrials, commercials, indies, studio films…. everything you can find to audition for.  Okay, maybe not porn - but audition a lot. Sure, your ultimate goal may be to work with Scorcese or Spielberg, but along the way to reaching that goal, stay open and keep putting yourself out on that limb to grow your courage and calm your nerves. It is a cumulative process.  And you never know what will happen with certain smaller projects. I once cast a short film that wound up being nominated for an Academy Award. It was quite a surprise! So at the beginning, don’t judge projects too harshly or as less than how you ultimately envision your career. Just practice.

It is one situation to be getting up in front of your fellow actors in acting class, or to perform on a set in front of hundreds of crew members, director, producers and fellow actors. It is a completely different situation to be performing in the arena of the audition. One actor explained that once you are on the set, you have received the validation that you are “good enough”, you have been rewarded with the role, which automatically gives you a greater sense of confidence than you would have during an audition. Bu perhaps a worthy goal would be to have no difference exist.  Yes, we are all looking for approval. And in the gushing, immortal words of Sally Field, as she accepted her Academy Award for Norma Rae: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

Awards give us undeniable approval. So it follows, the icing on the cake of any audition is to be given that ultimate approval by being awarded the role, but do not let that result alone be what gives you confidence. When you walk in to any audition already confident, when you live and breath your character brilliantly, then the role will more likely be yours. But don’t consider winning the role as your permission to be creative. You are already creative, or you wouldn’t have chosen this challenging profession in the first place, so find the joy in sharing that creativity during the audition.  The thrill of diving into a character can be yours as much during the audition as it is on any set. Enjoy that moment without the stress and worry. Perhaps then, approval will not be the goal. Sharing your talent will be sheer pleasure, that can be your new focus, and perhaps then, the nervousness will vanish. That is when the mojo happens.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! This is so true... Auditioning on a regular basis is kind of like working out a muscle- the more you do it, the less painful it will be and the better you will feel on the inside and look on the outside :)I will definitely keep your post on the frontburner of my mind going into this new year!