Whether it’s auditioning or performing, we all get nervous.
The answer to nerves is – be a boy scout!
The better you know what you are going to do, the less nerves will affect your performance.
I know of no way to stop nerves – except repetition.
If I haven’t auditioned for a while, I will be more nervous.
If I’ve been auditioning regularly, I usually don’t feel as nervous.
(Also nerves go way up based on how much I want the role I’m auditioning for.)
When auditioning, unless you absolutely have to, don’t do something new.
Unless you have been asked to specifically memorize something – don’t.
You won’t be impressing anyone, and you are courting disaster (and annoying everyone) if you forget or fumble lines.
You will be nervous enough. Don’t add to it.
Unless it is your first audition, think about where you have had problems before.
Music didn’t go right?
Take time to review the music – is it marked appropriately? Did you take enough time with the accompanist? Do you need to rehearse more? All things you can take care of, you just need to plan and act accordingly.
Pick a piece that is as easy as possible for you while still showcasing your talent.
Auditions are not the time to “stretch”.
When possible, wear clothes that fit and are reasonably comfortable.
It’s hard to do your best when your feet are killing you because you had to wear those “cute” (and ill-fitting) shoes.
Remember what you are there for and what the creative staff are looking for.
Nobody is there to cast your shoes.
Performance nerves are different.
The more you have performed something, the better you know it, you know the expected reaction, and you know where your problem areas might be.
Also, I recommend avoiding “good luck” items or behavior – whether it is your good luck earrings or having to hug everyone before the show.
Whatever you decide brings you good luck will someday not be there and you will be so worried that you forgot the earrings or you didn’t get to hug someone, that you will undermine yourself and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I am also not a fan of cast “energy” circles.
If you can’t bring your own energy to a performance, you really shouldn’t be there.
I know, people think I’m such a bitch because I don’t like participating in these things.
To tell the truth, I don’t mind if other people want to have an energy circle, just don’t force me to be part of it.
We should all be free to focus in a way that works best for each of us.
It’s funny, before a performance, I usually want to sit quietly alone and run lines. I want to focus on my role. When I audition, beforehand, I like to talk with the people there.
I guess it’s because at an audition, I am as prepared as I possibly can be. There is nothing more I can do to improve my audition (that doesn’t mean my audition is going to be perfect – often it is far from it; but it means that I have done all the preparation I can – so why stew about it?). At a performance, there is always something I can do to be better prepared.
So nerves are just part of performing. You have to learn to deal with them and work around them.
I do that by concentrating on the reason I am there.
Try to keep in mind in auditions and in performance – people want you to succeed.
The staff of a show need to cast a show.
They want to find people who can fill the parts of the show.
They want you to do well.
It makes their job easier.
The audience has put down good money to see a performance.
They want you to put on a good show.
They want you to do well.
Nobody is rooting for you to stink up the place.
Oh, one more thing. Go pee first.