By Jadée Nikita
Your heart is racing, and your palms are sweating. You’re not even in the audition room and yet your mind is racing, anxiety is building, and oddly enough your mouth is getting drier and drier. Ever feel like you’re about to have a panic attack before you go into an audition or step on stage to perform? If you answered yes, the good news is, you’re not the only one. Over 80% of working actors and dancers suffer from stage fright at one point or another in their career.
So what exactly is stage fright, and how do you take control of your nerves to conquer that audition or performance? Stage fright, or performance anxiety, is most commonly described as nervousness before or during an appearance before an audience. You can overcome this nervousness by following some helpful tips below:
Control. When going to an audition, it’s important to keep in mind that you can only control yourself, and not what other people think about you. Focus on the positives, and never worry about the worst. According to Gordan Goodman, a working actor and Ph.D. in psychology from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, “actors [should] put their attention on managing their individual tasks [like] knowing their lines, showing up on time, and mitigating distraction.”
The more the person concentrates on the end result, the worse they perform.
Self-Calming Techniques. Before entering the audition room, try a few techniques to relax your mind and calm the nerves. A few of my favorites are practicing yoga, breathing deeply, and meditation.
Be prepared. Like Scar says in the Lion King, BE PREPARED! Always come prepared and early to auditions and performances. You never want to add stress to an already nerve-racking situation by sabotaging yourself because you arrived late or didn’t bring your headshot. To get your body in the flow of things, maintain healthy time management skills, and always pack more than what you think you’ll need. It’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared at all.
Stay Positive. No matter the outcome, it’s important to keep a positive mental state and personality. A very wise teacher once told me to learn from my experience, let it go, then move on to the next one. In order to have a long-lasting career you have to have thick skin and be able to handle rejection well. Determination and endurance will take you a long way in the entertainment industry.