Every actor has their own way of prepping and executing auditions. For a lot of us, our way of doing things is constantly evolving. I don’t know about you, but I’m always open to suggestions about how I can improve my chances in the room. My goal is to put myself in a position where I can be booked again and again. I even wrote a post with 10 rules for doing just that. So when someone gives me a tip and it sounds like a good one, I give it a try.
There aren’t too many suggestions that have worked for me. But there’s one that I’ve been using for over a decade, and it’s been the most productive decade of my career.
Years ago, an actor told me about something he does at every audition. After he says hello to the auditor but before he begins the scene, he does this very simple thing. We were chatting about audition nerves, and I confided in him that my nerves were getting the best of me when auditioning for big projects, ones that could move the needle on my career or bank account.
He understood and said, “That used to be me, and then someone told me to do this. It’s great because no one knows you’re doing it, it’s fast, and it’s 100% effective every single time. You should give it a try.”
I did, and I was shocked at how well it worked.
Here’s his tip: Before you begin your scene, take a second and feel the floor under your feet, or the chair under your butt.
An actor’s job is to be present and in the moment at all times, right? We have to be present in the scene, but we also need to be present in the room, because there are rules and limitations to what we can do within the confines of an audition space.
But there’s one big problem.
Actors let any number of things influence their ability to be present in the room or the scene. You might be auditioning for someone who intimidates you. You might not know your words. Maybe you saw another actor in the waiting room who looked super confident and your confidence dropped. You might think you’re wrong for the role, or (maybe worse) know you’re perfect for it, if only you can show that in the audition. We let all kinds of things sway our execution when the camera starts rolling.
The really funny thing is, most of these thoughts aren’t real. They’re made up. Invented. You don’t know anything about that person in the room, maybe they’re intimidated by YOU. Maybe once you let go of the words and focus on something else, they’ll be right there when you need them. Maybe that other actor is crumbling inside while putting on a good act in the waiting room. You don’t know. You’re just making stuff up.
Well, feeling the floor under your feet provides your brain with something real. It’s obvious and tangible and it grounds you. It forces you to stop paying attention to everything you’ve made up in your head, and just focus on being there.
For me, it clears my mind. I’m not worried about who’s in the room, or my words, or what might happen if I book the job. Feeling the floor allows me to create a relationship with reality, which has made my performances that much more realistic.
The actor who gave me that tip? I’ve never seen him again. But his advice made a huge difference in not only my work, but my life. Since I’ve started feeling the floor under my feet I’ve booked a dozen national commercials, a bunch of recurring TV roles and I’m currently shooting a nice guest star role on one of network TV’s biggest shows while prepping for a recurring role on another. I begin shooting that one later this month.
For me. It might not work for you, but please please please give it a try.