HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
Do you replay your auditions a million times in your head? We've all been there. Lemme tell you what happened to me.
I stood in the audition room looking at the casting director for a commercial callback.
If I remember correctly, the reps for the company, the director, and the producers were all directly behind her, but I've blocked that out now.
I was asked to express excitement about graduating while holding a diploma.
"Okay, do it again, except this time show a little more excitement."
I just smiled harder and gave myself a creepy joker face with wide eyes and a double chin.
I could see it in the casting director's eyes. I was not doing what she asked.
She gave me one more go, this time miming what she wanted me to do trying to help me, but all I did was advance into triple chin territory.
"Wow," I thought walking out to the car, "that was bad."
If you're like most actors, then the audition replay is probably a reality for you. In this post, I want to show you how to let go of auditions so you can avoid post audition anxiety.
We've all heard a thousand times to "leave our audition behind us" when we leave a casting office, but how can we practically stop fretting over our auditions?
Also, what should you do if you tank an audition? I think we can agree that waiting after an audition sucks regardless of how it felt, so let's do something about it.
Disclosure: Hey Actor Boss, I have affiliate links in this post, which means at zero extra cost to you, I make a commission if you purchase through my link. I made the decision to add affiliate links so I can keep this blog up and running, but I only link to products I know, use, and trust and would recommend to you in face-to-face convo.
Enter the Release Meditation Technique brought to us my New York Times bestseller Brendon Burchard in his book High Performance Habits.
He uses this technique to coach his high performance clients (some of them actors), and it can be beautifully beneficial if you practice it after an audition.
So if you've been looking for ways to let go of an audition, but still haven't figured out "the art of letting go," then keep reading for my 3-step process that includes Burchard's technique so you can start managing audition anxiety and expectations.
FIRST, REPLAY THE AUDITION
Before we dive into the technique, however, I want you to do something first.
When your butt hits the seat of the car, quickly replay the audition in your mind.
YUP! I said it!
I want you to actually allow yourself to replay what happened as a means of letting it go.
Yes, this post is still teaching you how to stop overthinking your audition.
The trick here is to replay it no more than twice in your mind!
There's also a purpose.
While you're thinking through your audition, I want you to notice when your chest gets tight or you feel anxious.
Those stress-inducing thoughts are indicators of where you felt your audition went wrong.
Let me clarify what I mean by the word "wrong."
You probably aren't officially doing anything "wrong" in your auditions unless you just straight up aren't taking direction or going after an objective.
However, since we're thinking on our feet in auditions, we tend to rush ourselves without thinking through our next steps.
This may make you subconsciously process a part of your audition as weak, creating that sense of mild panic in your system after-the-fact.
Let's keep those moments from festering and lingering for too long.
Once you've taken note of those specific moments, you can start digging into why they bothered you.
Now we can move on to step two.
SECOND, TEXT A FRIEND
The American Psychological Association supports sharing your feelings:
"When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you."
Text someone you trust a constructive criticism of your audition.
My vote is that you text someone who isn't an actor because they can't empathize with you.
Wait, say what?
My husband, for example, has no concept of going through the audition process, nor does he desire to be in front of the camera, so he can't add to my anxiety by spiraling into his nightmare audition stories because he doesn't have any.
We want to move in a positive direction, and you know your other actor friends will just jump on that post audition stress bandwagon with you.
That's great when you're hanging out and venting for a laugh, but not so much right after an audition.
Let the person you pick know you'd like them to be your go-to person for post-audition sharing, and be clear about how you want them to respond to you.
Do you want their advice, or do you just want them to listen and encourage you?
Remember, we're only texting constructive criticism.
I want to drive this point home, actor friend, so let's double check the official definition of the word constructive.
Notice that the definition says "helping to improve." When I say constructive, I mean something factual and actionable.
For example, I may text my husband to say:
"Finished. It was good, but I'm not sure I took the note well when they asked me to show more excitement. I just smiled more instead of thinking about something that truly excites me."
I stated something factual: they gave me a note to show more excitement.
I stated something actionable: I need to think about something that actually excites me versus just smiling more if given that note again.
Notice that my note is very specific (I didn't take the note about showing excitement) and not general (I never take notes well).
Let's look at a few more examples.
Here's something else I've texted my hubby:
"All done! I felt like I took the notes really well this time. I'm not sure I looked old enough to be the mom of those kids, though!"
That last part was a reminder to myself that some things are just out of my control.
If you're still thinking about your audition too much after using the 3-step process, then ask yourself these two questions:
Let's look at a few examples of each.
What is typically out of your control at auditions?
What is typically within your control at auditions?
You'll learn more about how to put this into perspective in our next post on self-coaching before and after an audition.
If you want to finish this post first, I have the self-coaching post linked at the bottom of this page.
THIRD, USE THE RELEASE TECHNIQUE
To see Brendon Burchard’s full 30 minute video on YouTube walking you through the technique, click here.
Here are the quick steps for actors post-audition:
It's important that you leave the casting office parking lot before you do this so that you're not taking up valuable parking space that your fellow actors need.
You understand what it's like to be them, and stressing over a parking space is the last thing we need before an audition, so let's be courteous.
You also need to show the casting team that you are able to confidently leave an audition.
We'll talk about casting office do's and don'ts in a future post.
Additionally, it's crucial that you set a timer so that you can actually focus on the technique instead of wondering when you're done.
It totally defeats the purpose if you're constantly looking up at the clock to check the time.
If you can't find a safe parking lot for this, then find a bathroom elsewhere.
Maybe that sounds crazy, but car-jacking is a legit issue, and I want you to feel safe and relaxed enough to close your eyes and not worry about whether or not you're in danger or be embarrassed in case someone sees you.
IMPORTANCE OF DEEP BREATHING
Did you notice that point number three says to inhale deeply?
There's a reason you need to focus on deep breathing during this technique.
I once thought that deep breathing was a "woo-woo" way of dealing with your problems.
Then I read the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.
I highly recommend the book and the quiz. They also have an online portal for you to see your results and track your progress.
Let's get back to the science of deep breathing.
To paraphrase, the book discusses why we need to fill our lungs to capacity whenever we breathe.
Take note of your breathing in this moment. Now inhale to fill your lungs to capacity. Feel the difference?
When we breathe normally, we're only getting enough oxygen to keep our vital organs functioning. Our bodies force us to breathe at least that much at a minimum.
When we breathe and fill our lungs to capacity, however, it sends enough oxygen to our brains to go beyond vital organ function and into more rational thought.
Try standing up straight and breathing until your ribs are stretched to their maximum capacity.
So as a bonus, this will help your brain rationally process your auditions.
Who knew?! The science has spoken. Deep breathing is not woo-woo.
It's time to implement.
You need to actually practice walking through these steps if you want to seamlessly implement them into your audition routine.
I want to challenge you to find the time to run through this process at least once at home thinking about your last audition if needed.
If working as a professional actor is your dream, then you must put in the work!
I know it doesn't initially feel worth the time since you're not directly getting paid to walk through this process, but we don't get paid to take class either, and that's a crucial part of being an actor.
Plus, the payoff comes from you having more relaxed, confident auditions which increase your chances of booking and therefore getting paid.
I need to confess that I almost always forget to do this when I self-tape at home because I move right into editing and uploading my footage.
However, it's just as important for us to use this process after self-taping because it will start to reshape our brains' reactions to auditioning, creating a sense of relaxation instead of stress.
It's easier to remember when you leave an in-person audition because you have the built-in trigger of getting into your car (or on the subway, etc).
That means you need to create a trigger for your self-taping as well.
For example, I'm going to use my casting upload confirmation as a trigger to close my computer or shut off my phone and go lie on the couch to start these three steps.
Do you have any post-audition tips? Feel free to comment and share.
Now you're ready to try self-coaching before and after an audition during your commute.
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HEY ACTOR BOSS,