If you want to be cast for the role you are auditioning for then it is important to keep calm. As an actor it is your job to entertain the audience. It is your job to make the audience feel comfortable and to pull them into the story you are a part of. If you are nervous, it will show in your body language and the audience will pick up on this. Not only do you risk distracting the audience from the intended message but you also risk not getting the role in the first place.
Unfortunately, constantly worrying about not performing well because of being nervous only makes you more nervous, so how does one break the cycle of negative thought and just learn how to control their emotions. This is, after all, supposed to be what actors do best, right? It is human nature to feel nervous. After all, there is a lot at stake. You are only one of potentially several other candidates vying for a particular role. Naturally, then, you want to do your best. So it’s ok to realize the pressure. Just don’t let it get to you. The following are a few techniques that will help you to perform well under pressure.
Exercise is a great stress reliever and can help you remain calm and feel great long after your workout. Exercise releases endorphins, which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. It’s hard to feel nervous when you are still buzzing from a hard workout. There are many forms of exercise and pretty much any kind will do the job but don’t kid yourself into thinking you can just stretch for a few minutes and reap the benefits. In order to get the most out of exercise, plan on pushing yourself past your comfort level.
Meditation can help you remain calm and relaxed whenever you want. By meditating, you learn how to focus your attention, which helps eliminate all the nervous self-talk that might otherwise keep you from performing best at your audition. There are many types of meditation and you should try several until you find the one that works for you. One simple form of meditation includes conscious breathing. Focus all your attention on breathing smoothly.
Breathe in through your nose while counting to four. Then exhale through your nose while counting to four. Repeat this several times. Focus on relaxing your diaphragm and on breathing as smoothly as possible. Another simple meditation technique involves mentally scanning your body, from head to toe, relaxing each part as you go. Start at the top of your head and imagine standing under a warm showerhead. Feel the soothing water trickle down your body and completely let go of any tension you feel as you go down to your toes.
Hypnosis and NLP
Learning hypnosis and NLP can help you think positively, reinforcing your relaxation and keeping negative self-talk from sabotaging your performance. Those who practice hypnosis believe that it allows them to bypass their mind’s critical filter and to change their thinking patterns at a subconscious level so they can begin to automatically think positive thoughts while under pressure. The purpose is to be able to go to the audition and genuinely think, “I know I’m going to nail it. I feel so relaxed!” instead of “I hope I don’t blow it. Oh no, I feel so nervous!”
Even though you are auditioning to become a character that is not you, it is important to be able to effortlessly tell your story. To do this you should be able to integrate the character into your already existing personality. Don’t force yourself into a role that feels unnatural. Rather, find a way to play the character using your natural strengths. The more natural you feel in acting as the character, the more natural it will appear to both your casting director and to the audience watching.
Great acting is not about memorizing and being able to say your lines. It is about playing your character so that everything you are experiencing is as if for the first time. You are in the moment. You are not simply waiting for your co-actor to finish her line so you can say yours. You are listening and processing what she says as if it was the first time you heard her say it so that you can naturally respond. Remember, acting is about feeling and conveying an emotion and not about just about what you say.
Don’t over do it
Acting is about always improving yourself and making sure that you are at your best. There is always something you can improve on and it’s easy to get carried away with taking classes, practicing, exercising, etc. Just don’t forget why you are doing all that you do. Hopefully, it’s because you love acting. You don’t want to burn out so try and maintain some balance in your life. If you begin to feel unbalanced then take a step back for a moment or reach out to someone who can help you to figure out how to get back on track.
In order to be a great actor you have to be at your best when it counts the most. All of this pressure can take its toll on a person and the camera can always pick up on what someone is really feeling. It’s important to take care of yourself and to learn valuable skills that can help you to control your emotions when you need to perform well. Exercise and meditation can help you to control the physiological response to stressful situations and hypnosis and NLP can keep you thinking positively under pressure.
Being yourself takes a lot of pressure off your back and gives you a chance to use your strengths to your advantage in making a character your own. Also, remember that acting means immersing yourself in the moment. Have fun, and be spontaneous. Lastly, remember not to over do it. Too much exercise, meditation, or acting practice can be just as bad as too little if it causes you to lose focus on what is important to both your character and yourself. You love acting and you want to do your best. This is understandable. Just remember that the best way to handle pressure is to transform the pressure into something positive.