Having worked as a musical theatre performer, and as a director/writer, I have experience of being both in front of, and behind the auditioning table. 

Why is it that some people are able to come in, regardless of the time of day, who is in the panel and who went in before them, and give the same performance they gave in front of their mirror, whereas others, regardless of talent, fail at the first hurdle?

If you’re one of the ones who sometimes nails it, and sometimes doesn’t - what factors are present when you don’t achieve? My guess would be that they are mainly mental ones. You still have the same amount of talent you had when you were at home, so why can’t you pull it out of the bag?

Thought Spiral
In NLP there is an understanding that your thoughts control your emotions and the knock on effect of that is that your emotions control your performance. The performers who nail it every time, are in full control of their thinking. So all you have to do is control your thoughts. Easier said than done? It might take a bit of practice, but not really.

The moment that seed of doubt enters your mind – ‘it’s not my day, she was way better than me...there’s no point even trying....’, a chain reaction is set off, your thoughts spiral into the realms of self-doubt and there is no way  you are going to go in there and give them  your best self. 

When I work with performers I work on dealing with this self talk which can spiral downwards and creating positive versions of these ‘triggers’. You know when your favourite song comes on and you feel on top of the world, regardless of where you are – that’s the sort of thing you can put in place so you can march in there with your head held high.

The Panel
One of the things performers do on a regular basis is second guess the audition panel – this becomes part of the thought spiral. Something I coach my clients to do is come to the realisation that there is nothing they can do about the panel. If they are going to go with people they have used before who are way less talented, or talk rudely through your audition, or make you sing for a part that is completely inappropriate whilst lying on your back and pretending to be a baby, there is nothing you can do about it. You can decide 

that the profession is not for you and leave. Or save the story for your autobiography and get on with it. Your one and only aim is to go in there, and present the best version of yourself. If they don’t hire you this time, at least they will still see you next time.  

Finally, many of the performers I work with are surprised by the amount of preparation those who nail it actually do - they may say otherwise due to the fierceness of competition – but performers are like athletes – regular training is essential. I regularly work with clients on tools for avoiding procrastination - a skilled form of self-sabotage.

 Top Tips
  • Prepare properly – know that you have done everything in your power before you go into the audition to prevent the thought spiral beginning with ‘I should have done more’.
  • Avoid procrastination – work out whether it’s the carrot (the chance of getting the job) or the stick (the chance of being blacklisted by the casting director) that motivates you. Use that as a motivator.
  • Set a goal for the audition that is self-achievable, that way you can’t beat yourself up afterwards. The goal is not to get the job, but to give the best account of yourself possible.
  • Look at it from the panel’s point of view. I have been there. It is the best thing in the world when at five o’clock after a full day, someone comes in and makes the panel smile.
  • Remember why you’re there in the first place. You’ve said a big ‘no’ to a desk job because performance is in your veins, you thrive off of having an audience. Go in there and thrive! 

I regularly coach actors and comics one on one, and also run group workshops, so please get in touch if you are interested (there is an equity discount!). 




Comments are closed.