During an audition, callback, or live recording...sometimes nerves can get the best of the most seasoned professionals. Even for natural performers, it can be hard to shake off that anxiety that comes with being in the spotlight. But, when you're authentic and relaxed, your personality will shine through. So breathe, find some common ground with the people around you, and have fun!
Inhale, Exhale...and Repeat
Breathing is essential, especially in situations where adrenaline is pumping & nerves are high. Proper breathing helps keep your vocal cords relax, which gives you a much more expressive vocal tone. helps you relax, stay calm and focused, and project confidence.
If you need a little extra help...here are some breathing exercises that will help with your nerves & breath support, which will only improve your reads. Although this one is for singers, it helps with any type of voice use 😉
Breathing helps with focus, as well as calming down your mind before speaking or performing in some way. When you're not breathing correctly, it can result in being jittery and nervous—which no one wants! The better you breathe, the more relaxed & confident you'll feel—and that will help when it comes time to read for casting directors or hit record during a live session.
Actors are a confident bunch. We need to be in order to tolerate rejection and continue auditioning for roles that we're not always going to get. But when it comes time for your that big audition...you can't afford to be anything less than confident. When you walk into that room with your head held high, everything else will fall into place.
It's easy to get caught up in the nerves, but remember that you know your strengths and abilities. You've rehearsed, you've studied the script, and you're ready for anything casting directors & producers could throw at you. Be confident in your preparation and audition material—that's why you're there!
You’re not going there to get a job. You’re going there to present what you do. - Bryan Cranston
Work situations are no different than any other social interaction: if you're not being yourself, you're going to be uncomfortable and have a bad time. If you are being yourself, however, then you will be confident in who you are and confident in your ability to make others feel comfortable around you as well. You might be thinking, “Of course I should be myself!” But that's actually a pretty vague answer, and it leaves many questions unanswered. What does it mean to be yourself, anyway?
Well, if someone asks me whether or not they should try out for an audition as their favorite character from The Office or Parks & Recreation (it happens), I'm going to tell them no, because those characters have distinct voices and personalities that aren't easily replicated by most people (even though Amy Poehler herself may disagree). And if someone else asks me whether or not they should sing in their audition instead of reciting lines from Shakespearean plays as written... again, my answer is no. Pretending to be someone else or making acting choices that aren't authentic will never be as strong as the honest ones you make.
Trust Your Muscle Memory
We all know that practice makes perfect, but practice sets you up for success when your nerves are high. As you practice & perform, you will develop a sense of what works for you and what doesn't. You'll know when a read feels right or wrong just by how it sounds. That's muscle memory, or automaticity — the idea that through practice we can develop habits that allow us to do things automatically (without having to think about them) without losing quality or accuracy. If a musician is playing his instrument correctly and correctly every time he's practicing then eventually he will be able to play it correctly without thinking about it at all: It just happens automatically!
That means there is no "right" way to approach an audition; there are many paths toward success — as long as they all lead upward! Find what works best for you during the audition process. Or maybe there’s nothing more important than finding yourself in that moment where everything clicks together perfectly.
If you're looking for some extra practice with a group...
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Don't Overthink It
When you’re preparing for your audition, don’t worry about the competition. If it's live, or on a video call, don’t worry about how many other people will be there or what they are going to do. Don't think about how good they might be – instead, focus on yourself and how you can make it your best performance ever. Don't stress if you stumble on a word - we're all human. It happens. Just pick it up at the beginning of the sentence without apologies. Showing that you can recover gratefully will showcase your experience and professionalism, and may even win you bonus points.
Have fun. That's the point, right?
So you're nervous. You're not alone! Many people feel this way, even if it's their dream job. But there is one important thing to remember: this audition, callback, or performance is about you and your skillset, not the other way around. Don't worry about impressing them—be yourself instead! And enjoy the experience of being in the spotlight, because that's what it's supposed to be all about. If another actor can do a better job than you at being themselves (or using their strengths) while still putting in 110%, then they should be hired. But if they can't pull off both, then they probably won't last long anyway.
Relax and realize that yes, you are good enough. It's not about getting every single detail perfect or having everything go exactly according to plan. It's about taking risks and learning from your mistakes along the way.
Thanks for reading!
Keep on rocking your business like a #VOBOSS
Anne Ganguzza is a professional voice actor and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voiceover and business skills - including voice over Coaching and Genre-based Demo Production. She specializes in conversational Commercial & Narration styles, including Corporate, eLearning, Technology, and On-Hold Messaging. Located in Orange County, California, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students via ipDTL and Zoom.
If you're looking for a place to explore the business of the voice over industry, VO BOSS is the place to start. Each week, Anne focuses on a specific topic, helping talent navigate today’s #VO industry and having fun along the way!
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