No matter how many years you’ve been acting, going into an audition is always stressful. You’re worried that you’re going to forget your lines, or screw up in some way, or that they just won’t like you.
But if you want to have a good audition, you can’t let those fears and anxieties get to you. The more relaxed and focused you can be heading into an audition, the more likely you’ll be able to really shine.
Here are a few simple tricks for relaxing before an audition:
- Show Up Early
Rule number one for having a relaxing audition: Arrive early. Getting stuck in traffic is only going to make all of your frayed nerves even more tense. Give yourself plenty of time to figure out where you’re going and find a parking space so you can walk in cool and collected.
- Listen to Music
While you’re in the car or on the L, listen to some relaxing music to get you into that Zen place. Classical music or meditative yoga music are both great for bringing your heart rate down, but if you have other songs that are especially meaningful to you and you like to sing along to, that can work as well. You can even create a special pre-audition playlist of your favorite chill songs that you can listen to every time you have an audition. Another tip is to listen to music that you think will help get you into the head space that your “character” is in, which can also be fun and turn the audition into an adventure into someone else’s headspace instead of something that you’re dreading.
The best thing about meditation is it’s free, easy and you can do it anywhere. And it’s a surefire way to center yourself and calm your nerves before you walk into the audition room. If possible, find a quiet spot to sit by yourself before the audition (sitting in your car in the parking lot is always a great option). Set the timer on your phone for 3, 5, or even 10 minutes and close your eyes and try to focus on your breath, letting all of your thoughts go. If you can’t find a quiet spot, you can even put your headphones in and listen to a guided meditation while you sit in the waiting room. Another type of meditation that can be particularly helpful for auditions is to close your eyes and visualize the audition going extremely well. Visualize all parts of the audition, from you walking into the room with confidence, the faces of the auditors brightening upon your entrance, visualize yourself going through your entire monologue (or audition piece) and see the auditors with you every step of the way. Finally, visualize them being completely moved by you and you walking out of the room with confidence. When you take the time to do this before an audition, it can give you the confidence and relaxation to do your best.
- Go for a Walk Outside
Connecting with nature, even for just a few minutes, is always a great way of clearing your head and relaxing your nerves. Show up to the theater a little early so you can walk around the block and breathe in the air. Put away your phone and try to clear your head as you walk by focusing on the moment. Listen to the birds chirping, look up at the leaves. Do not go over your lines in your head. Just take the time to be.
- Take Deep Breaths
Taking a few deep, cleansing breaths is a great way to relax your mind and body in a snap. Start by taking a long, slow breath through your nose and counting to three. Exhale slowly as you relax the muscles in your head, face, jaw, and shoulders. Repeat this several times until your entire body feels relaxed. Another method is to place your hand on your stomach, with the bottom of your hand on your belly button, and breathe in and out through your nose with the inhales and exhales being the same length. If you are familiar with Nadi Shodhan pranayama (aka Alternate Nostril Breathing), this can be a great way to calm the nervous system and to relieve anxiety. If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out on YouTube here. Anyone can do this exercise whether they are yogis or not!
In auditions, you want your body to be as loose as possible, so it’s important to let go of the tension in your muscles so they don’t interfere with your performance. Loosen up by doing a few quick stretches before you head into the room. You can interlace your fingers and stretch your arms overhead, palms facing upward. Hold the stretch for five full breaths and then drop your arms to the side and roll your head and neck around. Or stand with your feet about hip-width apart and ever-so-slowly fold your torso over your legs, letting your head hang down for five full breaths. You can even shake your head back and forth while you’re folded over to let the tension melt away. This is a spinal roll-down, and to get the full benefits, do this several times in a row, feeling the space created between your vertebrae as you go. If you are familiar with a yoga sequence called the “Sun Salulation” (also known as Surya Namaskara A or B), this can be a great warmup tool for actors because it revitalizes the body and gets the breath flowing. You don’t have to do a lot of Sun Salutations to notice a difference— just a few of them will get you feeling immediately better and ready to rock your audition!