​© 2017 by Holly Shaw.

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Performers & Creators Lab

Oakland, CA  (415) 870-7082

holly@performersandcreatorslab.com

The Four Biggest Challenges Actors Face In Auditions and Why

August 3, 2018

You've worked at your craft for some time now.  You've done acting classes. You know you're talented. You're made for this acting business. . . and so WHY is it that sometimes you completely screw up your auditions?

After working with hundreds of actors and being a former SAG actor myself, I've pinpointed four of your biggest challenges with auditions, and here's the good news. . . there's nothing wrong with you!

If you experience these challenges, it doesn't mean you're bad or you just "can't cut it" - it simply means that you're experiencing a particular type of anxiety that comes from being in high pressure situations where everyone is looking at you.  Dum da dum! 

Stage fright!

It can happen to anyone at anytime - it doesn't matter how long you've been acting.


 

 

Faced with everyone's attention on you, it's natural that your body goes into a fight or flight or freeze mode - it's a primordial system that your body has been equipped with since, scientists believe, the beginning of man. It's meant to keep you "safe" although unfortunately, when you don't know how to use this energy, then it doesn't always create the best audition experiences and you may experience one or more of the symptoms below:


The Four Biggest Challenges Actors Face In Auditions



1. You shake, tremble, sweat, and your heart beats faster

Why this happens:


When you're in the middle of that fight, flight or freeze mode, your body sends your blood rushing to your extremities (arms, hands, legs, feet) in order to help you in that moment to do what it thinks you need to do:  fight or run away from danger!  This causes your extremities to shake and makes your heart go faster because you're body is prepping you to do what it needs to in order to stay "safe."


2. You forget your lines.  Either you stumble over words or simply go "blank" in the middle of an audition.

Why this happens:


Once again it has to do with this fight or flight response.  When the blood rushes to your extremities, it rushes away from your brain rendering you less prepared for critical thinking.  Your brain is also being called to function right here in this present visceral moment in order to handle the assumed "threat" at hand.  Your memory retrieval function isn't working as adeptly as it would under normal circumstances.


3. You feel uncomfortable taking up space or taking risks.  Your arms may feel locked at your sides and you may have the feeling that you'd like to disappear.

Why this happens:

You're having the "freeze" response.  In this survival mode, your body is telling you to stay right where you are - don't move and they won't see you!  Well, unfortunately that's true enough.  This can be most uncomfortable and disappointing because it's the exact opposite of what you'd like to be doing which is showing them how awesome you are!

4. You feel keenly aware and sensitive to other people's judgments about you to the point where it can feel hard to let go of other people's energy or bounce back from rejection.

Why this happens:

Again because you're in this primordial fight, flight, or freeze response, it only benefits you to be extra sensitive in that moment of what people are feeling and experiencing.  Basically, you've got extra spidey senses in this moment for the function of knowing when you should flee.  Also, chances are very likely that you may be an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) - In my own research, I've found that approximately 80% of actors are HSP which means you may have more highly developed awareness in certain areas.


So what are you supposed to do?

Well, the good news is that there are ways to channel this energy.  To actually use stage fright for good!

And these are the skills I'm going to be teaching in my upcoming workshop:  Audition Like A Pro: How to Turn Stage Fright Into Magnetism.

This workshop was received so well last year when I taught it that I've been asked to return to SAG/AFTRA Headquarters to teach it again this year.  That workshop is filling up quickly.

So, I've also decided to do this workshop a second time at The City Garage Theater while I'm in Los Angeles. 

If you suffer from any of the four challenges above then you will definitely get a lot out of this workshop where I introduce skills and give you tools to use that powerful energy so you can nail your auditions and finally show up in a way that you know you can! 

Spaces are limited, so check it out now>>>

 

Here's to your fearless success!


BIG LOVE,

Holly


 

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