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You’ve done the work, you know your character, you know your sides, you know the relationships you’re playing, you know the tone of the piece and you know what you want to do. But 5 minutes before your call time and your brain seems to be totally against you. Your heart is racing, you’re sweating, you start to question all your choices, and second guess why you even wanted to be an actor in the first place.
Audition nerves. They pop up precisely when you don’t want them to and sabotage your performance. Whether taping/zooming from home or going into the room for an in person audition, nerves are a very real part of the audition process. Learning to manage your nerves in a constructive way will have a huge impact not only on your audition experience, but on how you feel about yourself as an actor.
Hoping that your nerves just don’t pop up can actually make you more nervous. When you say to yourself “Wow, I really hope I don’t get nervous”, what ends up happening is you start getting nervous about getting nervous! Instead, understand that they will pop up and have a plan to handle them.
Start with giving yourself time before your audition. I like putting aside 15 minutes before my audition for this purpose. Making sure I’ve arrived at the casting studio or put together my self tape set up or zoom call 15 minutes before my call time. As I discussed in the video, the biochemical reaction of an emotion lasts in our bodies for 7 minutes. So that 15 minute bumper gives me 2 sets of 7 minutes to let my nervous emotions happen.
When the butterflies start jumping around in my stomach, I do whatever I can to name it as soon as possible. Nerves! Those are my nerves! That’s what me being nervous feels like! Next step is to validate – it makes sense that I’m feeling nervous. I’m excited to perform and I want to do my best, so this feeling is perfect. The final step – gratitude! Thank you nerves! Thank you for telling me that I’m excited, thank you for telling me that I care and thank you universe for giving me the opportunity to play as an actor. I love being nervous because I love auditioning. I’ve felt like this before, I’ll feel like this again, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to feel nervous more and more as I build relationships in my industry and get the opportunity to audition regularly.