It’s not fear, it’s not nerves, it’s not anxiety–it’s excitement. It’s a “rush”. You LOVE IT. Own that. Smile at that. Go in the room with THAT. That joy and love of acting, that rush you get from performing, is a powerful part of who you are. It’s part of what brought you to being an actor. Bringing that spirit into the room is part of being your authentic self, and you truly being “present” in that room; it can conquer the often un-authentic, anti-creative circumstances of the audition room. Your excitement to be there and be “the answer to their problem” is infectious. They will feel it. They will like it. They have a problem. They have a puzzle piece to find. You are the answer and you know it, even if they don’t yet. You don’t have to do a dance. You don’t have to gush and flirt. Just own your own happiness to be acting and in being creative. Own the fact, deep inside yourself, that you know this part, that you are this part. Treat it like an “actor’s secret“. Have it within you and it will sizzle out as part of your personal power and charisma. Then CONNECT with the other person. Actively connect with the man or woman reading with you. Be there with them. Give them that “sizzle”.
With your audition material, be bold in your choices and be the most personal and specific you can be to yourself. In your preparation, honest, uninhibited self-awareness and thought about your personal point of view on the story, the relationships and the motivations, will allow you to BE your most authentic, personal, deep self, right there in the audition room.
In the actual audition, it only takes a few minutes in your preparation. But it will allow you to bring personal, original choices, and allow you to dig deep when the material is mundane or uninspiring to you. It will encourage “real thought”–that is personal and original to YOU–from moment to moment during the audition. It will allow you not just to observe, but to really SEE the other person across from you. It will open you to fully see his or her feelings, thoughts and humanity. Even if you see boredom or neutrality (“nothing”) in the reader who has read the scene fifteen times, that might give you the impulse to do something, or say something in a certain way to capture his or her attention. That might be your most exciting moment in the audition. Most importantly, those few minutes of true, uninhibited exploration of your own point of view in your preparation, will allow YOU to be fully present in the room, and in turn, to be truly seen: all your feelings, thoughts and humanity.
I recently had an audition with a great casting director; his assistant was reading with me. I had the first line, and she was staring down at her sides. My line was a compliment to her. She wasn’t looking at me. They turned on the camera and I waited. I just waited for her eyes. After several moments, I said, “Psssst.” She looked up at me–I smiled at her, and complimented her. Her. Then scene was off and running. We were connected. They complimented me on that initial moment after the audition. It wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t genius. It wasn’t even the biggest moment in the audition. It was simply being present in my self in the moment, really seeing her for what was really going on and making absolutely sure I was connecting with her.
A teaching partner of mine used to say to actors, “Sing your song.” You must be personal, sing your song and have a voice as an artist. Find and use your original voice in the work. Move yourself, “speak” about the “big idea” in the story, as Stella Adler called it. “Speak” about your ideas–your personal feelings, your point of view in the work. By being authentic and true to yourself, by committing to your point of view, acting becomes easier, tension melts away, and you have room to move yourself. Then, you will move the audience. Your passion, conviction, commitment, and specificity will inspire them, touch them, enlighten them, make them laugh and make them cry.