Audition days can be nerve-wracking for an actor, especially as you step into the spotlight to showcase your talent and land a key role. Beyond rehearsing lines and perfecting your craft, many actors have unique pre and post-audition rituals or habits to tune in, boost their confidence or just get in the zone before auditioning.
The Psychology of Rituals:
As human beings we tend to engage in practices and routines as a way to bring order and meaning to our lives. Whether rooted in professional traditions or personal habits, they often serve as a source of comfort and reduce the clutter in our minds. Psychologically, they can create a sense of order, reduce anxiety, and provide a mental anchor in the face of uncertainty both pre and post-audition
Common Audition Rituals:
1. Wardrobe Choices:
Research has shown that our choice of clothing can have a considerable influence on various aspects of our well-being, including confidence levels, decision-making capacities, and even physical performance. For example, wearing formal attire has been associated with heightened sensations of power and authority within professional environments – Use this to your advantage. (P.S. Gabrielle Byndloss has a great video here about this so you don’t go overboard and find a balance).
2. Go in with an ‘essence’ of the character.
In this video, BAFTA nominated Samson Kayo says he tends to go into auditions with an ‘energy’ of the character he’s auditioning for. I guess this is a balance of taking the vibe or general ‘feel’ of the character and bringing it to your personality for the audition. You’re still gonna have to turn it on fully during the audition but having that essence is like having a full clip ready before it’s time to pop off!
Sidenote: In his audition for ITV’s Timewasters, Samson Kayo’s character ‘Horace’ was very clumsy and dopey and long story short, upon entry Samson ended up completely falling over in front of the casting director, writer and everyone else in the room! This was definitely by accident but he got the role! (video here)
Listening to a specific song or playlist before an audition is quite common practice for people in general. Simply put, music has the power to evoke emotions and memories, providing a familiar and comforting backdrop to the audition preparation process. It may even be useful to develop a playlist tailored to the mood and energy of the role or scene you’ll be performing.
4. Rip up the sides
Once you’ve completed your audition there’s nothing else you can really do to secure the role so instead of torturing yourself over whether you got the role or not one tip we got from Michael Salami was to rip up your sides and throw them in the bin. It seems symbolic but research has found that when individuals write their thoughts on paper and subsequently throw them away, they mentally discard the associated thoughts as well, try it!
5. Buy yourself an ice-cream:
Cut yourself some slack! You’ve prepared, you’ve been nice to everyone in the room, you’ve done your job as an actor today. To get to an audition is a good thing and with all the stress that can come with being in the industry, treat yourself! Samson Kayo also mentioned that this is exactly what he does after an audition (by way of an ice-cream) – It’s freezing at the moment so maybe a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows but either way you’ve done well to show up and perform so reward that at times.
We’re all different so while the effectiveness of these practices may be subjective, what remains clear is that the psychology behind these practices plays a significant role in shaping the mindset of performers as they step into (and leave) the audition room – Try them and feel free to share yours with us to!
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