How to Embrace Competition and Not Get Freaked in the Audition Room
By Natasha Stone
I used to dread auditions, and as an actor, that’s a really crap position to be in. You spend your life praying for an audition then when one comes along you wish you’d never answered the call. I used to spend the whole time thinking I wasn’t good enough to be in the same room as everyone else, I used to compare my looks, weight, talent so much more that by the time I walked into the room…I didn’t even know my own name.
Fast track to today and I’ve worked really hard on changing my mentality (it's still not perfect) - but the tips I’m going to share with you below are game changing for feeling in control when you walk into auditions. So what did I change?
- I stopped caring about making friends in the waiting room
- I focused ENTIRELY on myself and my reasons for being there
- I started thinking of myself as a business and this as a job
- I stopped looking for what the other people in the room had that I didn’t
- I started listing the things that made me unique and why I was there
- I patted myself on my back for my achievements
- I plugged in some Missy Elliot and engaged warrior mode (more on this below)
So, if you are sick and tired of walking into auditions fearing the competition, anxious AF and questioning if you even want to be an actor if you can’t handle auditions…then buckle up hun, this one’s for you!
EMBRACING YOUR COMPETITION
I’ve walked into castings before and been thrown by twenty girls who look e.x.a.c.t.l.y. the same as me queuing up for the call. I know that I cant dance and I’m quite short (not imposter syndrome – pure facts at this point), so when I see a 5”10 girl doing the splits in front of me, I bolted for the door.
WHY? Why do we instantly compare ourselves? Well, that’s animal instinct and part of the culture that we have been brought up in to see competition as a fight to be the best. We need to start seeing competition as ‘different’ and embracing that.
THERE ARE SO MANY TYPES OF COFFEE
Stick with me on this ok...how many coffee shops do you walk past on the way to your audition? 4…5? They are all able to exist together because they offer different variations of the same thing: coffee. And people like DIFFERENT TYPES OF COFFEE. It doesn’t mean that one coffee is better than the other, they exist because people have different tastes. It’s the same with acting. You may look identical to all the other twenty people in the room, but you are the only YOU in that room, wonderful, kick ass YOU that might just be the casting directors’ type of coffee today! Start looking at what makes you unique and embrace that in the room. I mentally list all of the things that I know make me unique; I have a cracking sense of humour (IMO) and a strong Essex accent (definitely not everyone’s cup of coffee) but today I might just be the best coffee on the menu!
SHUT DOWN COMPETITION ANXIETY
Unless you’re sat next to Shakira, Beyonce or Judi Dench…the chances are every person in the room may be feeling some variation of competition anxiety. So why don’t we cut the crap and realise that we’re all in this together instead of trying to throw each other off? Putting the person next to you down isn’t going to make you get the part. Nor is it going to make you feel better. Let's kill competition anxiety and stop taking auditions personally. Say you don’t get the job – this is more likely to be down to the colour of your hair than your acting ability. Casting directors are looking for something so specific, so don’t take each knock back as personal, 9 times out of 10 its just down to logistics and not your 3 year BA degree.
Stay in your own lane
So many of us that suffer with imposter syndrome or anxiety spend most of the audition time focusing on everyone else in the room as opposed to ourselves. Realistically, who needs to hear that the person opposite you is the child of the casting director and that they’re down to the final at RADA having just flown back from LA…NO ONE! Stick to your own lane. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be FOR YOU right now. So here is my golden piece of advice...
ENGAGE WARRIOR MODE
What is warrior mode? Child…It is your golden ticket to channelling your inner fighter and walking into that audition like the boss-ass person you were born to be. Instead of thinking ‘Omg I can’t do this, I don’t know what I’m doing’ change your mentality to this: “I am here to do a job, I need this and I am not leaving here without what I came for”. Now that doesn’t literally mean you won’t leave without a physical yes, but channelling this mantra will help you to switch your ‘intention’ to fight mode instead of flight mode. The same way we have intentions and wants/needs for our characters, we need to have this for ourselves so that we can stay focused on why we’re there. Anxiety can make you lose all sense of rational thinking and so physically forcing ourselves to channel this positive inner monologue will switch your brain from going into panic mode.
Other ways to engage warrior mode:
- Put some powerful, upbeat music on
- Listen to an inspiring podcast/tedtalk
- Call a friend that can give you a cracking pep talk
- Channel out white noise in the audition room
- Be polite but focus on you in the waiting room – this is a job
Now that you have all of the tools to unlock your inner warrior, grab your headphones and walk into that audition (or zoom call these days!) with strength, courage and boss vibes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Natasha is the founder of The Lovie Diaries, and is super passionate about helping others professionals and aspiring performers to get organised, get motivated and improve their abilities. Whilst running The Lovie Diaries, Natasha is a second-year student at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Learn more about Natasha and The Lovie Diaries here.