Visualization, Part I: 10 Tips for Better Auditions

One of my favorite tools for auditioning is VISUALIZATION. This two-part blog will cover this topic as I consider it invaluable to both the auditioning and the acting process as a whole.


There are many books written on the subject of visualization. The concept of visualizing what you want in your life goes as far back as The New Thought movement that emerged in the late 1800s. This movement purported that “our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living.”

In 1978, Shakti Gawain wrote Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life, a book that I carry around with me as a reminder that “thoughts are things.”

The idea behind Visualization is that “thought is a relatively fine, light form of energy and therefore very quick and easy to change,” which leads us to the idea of “positive thinking”. The idea behind positive thinking is that if thought is energy, it is possible to turn negative thoughts into positive ones very easily. This fundamental concept informs how we can use visualization to make the auditioning process a more positive experience.

So, how can we apply this “technique” to auditioning? Let’s start with the audition itself:

First, read your sides over a few times (this is a given). Once you have a clear sense of who the character is (for more on this idea, check out the blog post Rules of Auditioning: Less is More) and a solid familiarity with the lines, put your script down and follow these simple steps:

1. Find a quiet space.

2. Close your eyes and take a few deep, relaxing breaths.

3. Start to imagine yourself in the audition. Specifics are very important; picture (visualize) yourself looking and feeling your best, visualize yourself walking into the audition room with confidence—even visualize how good you look and feel in what you are wearing.

4. Visualize how you confidently become the character for the time you are reading for the casting director.

5. Visualize feeling happy and energized and having a positive auditioning experience.

6. Visualize a positive exchange between you and the casting director and the casting office staff. You will start to feel energized just by thinking about the experience in a positive way. If you are truly relaxed, you will be in a state of “Delta waves,” which actually reduces levels of the Cortisol (stress hormone)  in your brain.

7. Slowly come back to “reality” and open your eyes.

8. You should feel relaxed, which is a key to giving your best audition.

9. You can do this exercise the day before the audition or a few days before the audition—the more you bring yourself into this positive “headspace,” the better your audition will be.

10. This technique does not have to be limited to use in an audition setting. Rather, you can also use this technique as a tool for when you are on set, and in your entire career. Both of these scenarios will be covered in Part II of this blog.

Good luck!

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Joanna Colbert began her career as a casting director in association with Juliet Taylor on Interview with a Vampire for which she conducted a nationwide search resulting in the discovery of Kirsten Dunst. Colbert then went on to work at Universal Pictures as the Manager of Casting and then Senior Vice President of Casting, overseeing such blockbusters as The Mummy series, American Pie, Meet the Parents, and Bruce Almighty. She formed Joanna Colbert Casting in 2001 and Colbert/Mento Casting in 2006. Her credits include: No Strings Attached, the Step-Up series, Cedar Rapids, The Mummy, Everything Must Go, Hollywoodland and The Good Girl. Colbert is currently producing several projects, including a documentary about casting and its influence on film titled Casting By, a feature film titled Atticus Run, The Black Version tv series and Kate McClafferty’s blog, 356 til 30.