Gerald Langiri
December 13 / 2011

An audition may turn out to be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your life, so preparing for it is vital. There are certain symptoms that will always be there when standing in front of an audience; a racing heart, butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, etc, but learning how to control yourself despite your anxiety is what is important. As such, I have gathered some tips to help shy aspirants out there who suffer from pre-performance anxiety. Most of these tips are pretty basic, and I’m sure that there’s at least one that suits each individual. Here goes!

1. Breathe: Taking deep controlled breaths before going on will help in clearing your mind and unwinding you. Also, if you get trembling limbs, try stretching them out continuously. You’re the one who should be in control of your body, so these little exercises will help keep those nervous reflexes in check.

2. They’re only human! The judges may look better, act better, and talk better than you, but they’re still human. The reason you’re at an audition is probably because you’re a beginner, or you haven’t reached the top status that gets you the parts you want without having to try out. The panel judging you have gone through the ropes, just like you’re doing right now, so they’ll know exactly how you feel. Don’t get intimidated by them. Do your thing with this outlook: those grim-faced judges aren’t gods, they’re mortals. Why fear a mortal?

3. Music: Listening to your favorite tunes can help get you in the mood. If you’re in a room full of other hopefuls, you might start comparing yourself to them, but once you slip on those headphones and get lost in your song; it will be only you who exists and only you who matters.

4. Look Look Look! Make sure to look directly at the judges while addressing them. Shifty eyes, staring at the ceiling, or concentrating on your shoes will show them that you lack confidence. On the other hand, looking them in the eye, or their faces at least, will help in allaying your fears. You know that monster you thought was hiding under the bed when you were kid? You probably discovered it didn’t exist the moment you were brave enough to take a peep. The same applies here. We fear the unknown as humans, but actually facing your fears makes you a better man. You never know, the minute you look those judges in the face properly, you might get further proof of their human-ness, like that really huge pimple on the middle one’s forehead!

5. Goal-Oriented: The certain je ne sais quoi, the x-factor, the thing that’ll keep you fighting, the drive that has brought you thus far; that is your goal. You have to ask yourself these questions and answer them this way: is worth it? Yes. Can I do it? Yes. Do I possess the talent? Yes. Will I back down? Hell no! If you don’t answer them like this, to put it simply—you’re screwed.

6. Do your research: To be confident is one thing, but to be a confident idiot is another. Be properly prepared before the audition. Try to watch other actors as they do their work: their movements, expressions, tonal intonations, etc. Don’t go into the room with your own cocky idea of what the role should be like, instead, give your audience what you think and are pretty sure they want. Whatever suggestions you have can be given once you actually get the job.

7. Read: Like music, this can help relax you. It can be a comic, novel, newspaper, or magazine. Make sure that it’s material you can really get into. If you’re not a fan of Russian literature, then now is not the time to pick it up. Get something you can truly enjoy and you’re sorted!

8. My name is—and I’m Awesome! No one can put you down unless you let them. No, I’m not suggesting you tie them up before the offensive words escape their lips, I’m saying that you shouldn’t let their words get to you. Oh, she thinks your hair looks like a mop? Well, shrug your shoulders and move on. You liked that stylesx and that’s why you got it. Hopefully, the judges will look at your talent and your individuality, and not your hair.

9. Chew gum: Like Willy Wonka said, chewing gum is a nasty habit. However, it can be a good outlet for all that nervous energy. If you absolutely detest gum, much like myself nowadays, try sucking on a sweet or doing some other activity like bouncing a ball, playing cards, or even playing the games on your cell phone. Any of these things are bound to help. Just make sure to take out that piece of gum before going in.

10. Pray Pray Pray! This is self-explanatory. For any atheists with objections to this tip, I’m sorry but I can’t help you.

Whatever you do, try not to stay idle since this will make you even more uneasy. This audition will be fifteen minutes of your life max, so don’t sweat it. It’ll be over before you know it, and at the end, you’ll probably be wondering why you were so anxious to begin with. Remember, nervousness isn’t bad, it’s normal, what you do regardless is what matters.

Do you have any other ideas to get over performance apprehension? The suggestion box is open! Till the next piece...

Advised by Nadia W. Darwesh 

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