Backstage | Michelle Danner
Advice and tips for actors : 7 Steps to Bring Authenticity to Auditions
After 27 years of being an acting coach, I’ve recognized how many actors have struggled with conveying their authentic selves during an audition. They prepare the material but I often hear, “I didn’t show up with all of myself.” Here are seven steps to help remind you to be yourself.
1. Remove the pressure.
You have to remind yourself that it’s only an audition and you will have many more in your life. When you put too much pressure on yourself, you can’t be in the moment, show up, and be present. You’re judgmental of yourself and everything you do, and you probably feel as if everyone else is judging you.
So you have to get to that place inside where you release the pressures and demands that you ask of yourself to shine, nail the audition, and book the job.
2. Always breathe.
This, of course, is at the top of every list. You have to remind yourself that without your breath you can’t access the true place you’re in. Breathing calms you and always centers you. Without fully having your breath, you are disconnected and inauthentic, so you need to check in with it all of the time.
3. Don’t try to please.
You’re not there to please anyone but yourself. Whenever you try to please a casting director, agent, producer, director, or manager with the intention of getting good feedback, you’re bound to fail. Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t worry about being liked. This will only get in the way of you being your authentic self.
4. Come in with the energy that you have.
Be where you are emotionally in the moment. Try to hook into what’s really going on with you. If you’re in a bad mood, if your energy is low, you just went through a breakup, or if you feel that your life sucks at that particular moment, you want to find a way to shift that.
Don’t feel that you have to put on a happy face, be jovial, and look like you’re having fun. All that extra stuff comes across as fake. Find something that excites you about the audition. You are there to pursue something that you love—that’s energy.
5. Don’t try to be perfect.
This is when being a perfectionist in acting isn’t helpful. When I auditioned in New York, I would make sure I wouldn’t stress myself out too much before it. If my audition were at 3:00 pm, I would do very little ahead of time. I didn’t want to exert myself so I would have the energy for the reading. I would remind myself to breathe. Then when the time came, everything flew out the window. I was tense and I shut down. My best auditions were when I couldn’t control anything, when my life was falling apart around me. My life was a mess and I didn’t pressure myself into giving a perfect reading. That was the truth. That was authentic!
6. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
It’s not about crying or being sentimental—it’s about letting yourself go into a place that’s fragile and delicate. That place you need to soothe, love, listen to, and allow yourself to come to the surface.
At the end of the day, it’s great to get the job. But what’s equally important is to get the person you’re auditioning for to remember you for other jobs. For that, you want to connect with the casting director with the material, with the assistant that checked you in outside, and each person you encounter. If you feel you’ve achieved that connection, then you showed up with your authentic self.
MICHELLE DANNER’s LOS ANGELES ACTING SCHOOL
Michelle Danner’s acting technique & philosophy called “The Golden Box” is based on the Meisner Technique, Lee Strasberg’s Method, Stella Adler, Stanislavski’s System, Uta Hagen, and the Chekhov technique. Learn the best acting techniques for film acting & auditioning.
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