By Omoye Uzamere
Every actor is nervous about auditions. It doesn’t matter how long he/she has been acting for or how talented they are, there is always a sense of apprehension when you have to present yourself to someone for evaluation. That person has to decide whether or not you get the job – something that you want – based on a number of criteria.
The nervousness can manifest in varying degrees, from a simple used-to-this feeling of a slight apprehension to anxiety, trepidation or outright FEAR! I have talked about using the anxiety in performance before. There is no better place to “USE IT” i.e. converting nervousness to energy, than at an audition.
I am going to share some things about auditions that should make it easy for anyone presenting themselves before an audience of any kind, be it an interview, presentation, performance (song, poetry, dance) or giving a speech. These tips have little to do with improving your performance skills; rather they are meant to help you wade through with grace and even nail your audition with confidence. I will keep it simple; as this is a topic I intend to elaborate on in the future.
The first thing you should remember is that auditions are awkward. But you must do them, right? So just jump right in. Treat it like a cold shower on a rainy Monday morning.
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You have to do it anyway, so decide that you’re going to enjoy it regardless:
- The audition is also awkward for the people on the other side of the room. They are also nervous. Unbelievable, yet true. They are the ones who are looking for something. They invited people because they need to find the right person for a role. If they do not find it, they (too) have failed at the audition. You might be the one they’re looking for, so they are actually rooting for you and hoping they don’t have to see 29 other people or conduct 199 other interviews.
- “They are looking for you”… this means they need you. This is a mutually beneficial opportunity for both, not a favour they are doing you. So, see yourself as the possible solution to their problem and a member of their team if you get chosen.
- Of ALL the 20 reasons why you did not get the part, none of them has to do with your talent. You will discover the weirdest things. “He has tattoos… her hair is too long/short… he/she looks like my in-law (and the director hates that in-law)… skin is too light (or too dark)… actor is too tall (or too short)… Reminds me of my ex-… Not tall enough… Not dark skinned enough”… Just be yourself, give your best and hope for the best.
- Do not let a “NO” disappoint you or the fear of hearing it stop you from giving your best performance. When you bring your best, they will remember you and even if they don’t call you for this project, you will be remembered when something more suitable comes up. I remember being called for a role because the director didn’t want to conduct his own auditions, so he watched his friend’s audition tapes and saw actors he liked. You have no idea how far those videos can go.
- Once you are done, it is over. Do not agonize. Do not worry about what they thought of your audition, whether they’re going to call you back or when. Just forget about it and move on, so that it is a pleasant surprise when they do. If you keep thinking about it, you set yourself up for disappointments and your confidence and morale will be affected. It’s a domino effect. Have you heard an actor say at the audition venue, “It’s not like they’re even going to choose us sef!” That’s the disappointment speaking, but how do you think they’ll perform? So go right back to your life and keep your ‘sword’ sharpened until the next opportunity shows up.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Now, I’m not saying it’s easy or that it can’t be discouraging. I am saying, ‘do not let it affect your work. When they show us the ‘X’ mark to stand on, the camera comes on and they call ‘ACTION’, we have our audience and it is our duty to make sure we are remembered. Once you learn the art of auditioning, you’ll be more confident and even on a bad day you’ll be able to reach into your bag of tricks and deliver solid performances every single time.
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