I was teaching an auditioning workshop recently, and extolling the virtues of being ready for the task at hand. Being ready is key to handling the pressures of an audition. How does one get ready, you ask?
Well, first, I think that there are three major obstacles to “success” in an audition.
Lack of preparation (how much work/time did you put in before the audition?).
Self – consciousness ("what are they going to think of me?").
A focus on the result ("my job is to get a callback.").
Now, let’s discuss:
If you sufficiently prepare you will decrease self-consciousness. Self-consciousness is the enemy of the actor. Why? Because it gets in the way of the illusion of character. When we (the casting team) see self-consciousness, we see the actor.
How does the actor PREPARE??? SCENE STUDY! Below are a few tips:
Where am I (within the world of the scene)?
Who is here with me and how do I feel about them?
What is my relationship (feeling) to everything around me?
What do I want?
How do I go after what I want?
What is preventing me from going after what I want (internal obstacles)?
Do I get what I want? Do I win?
What might the character be feeling (you cannot PLAY feelings, but you can read the scene and empathize with the characters)?
Who am I? This is a HUGE character development question, and may not be easy to answer if you don’t have the entire script).
Do your homework, then live in the scene when you audition. Breath. Listen. Respond. Do. Help us seethe character by preparing.
We have now dealt with self-conscioussness by preparing fully. Prepare, then put your attention on your partner and the world of the scene. Invest in the given circumstances, open your imagination, listen, and play the scene. And, please find a way to make this FUN. If you do these things, you will be less self-conscious.
You got an audition. There is success right there. You get to go and do what you love to do. Make it fun for yourself. Do you get a charge or a buzz from auditioning? I hope so. Not a nervous buzz, I am not looking for that kind of high, I am talking about an experience that is felt when we do something we love. Make it about love and play. And, for goodness sake, please don’t make the audition about getting the job. The audition is about playing the scene, living the role, making bold choices, and showing your professionalism and love for the art.
Have fun. Be bold. Make art.