Written by Sean Pratt
Every actor is faced with the challenge of being as mentally and physically present as possible during their audition in order to show themselves at their best.
You want the Director and Producer to experience 100% of you. Your goal should be for them to experience you “firing on all pistons” during the short time you’re there. Even if they decide not to hire you for their project, at least there won’t be any mystery as to who you are and what you can do. To use a different analogy, your job is to stand at home plate and knock the ball out of the park…every time! But getting into, and maintaining, that state of physical and mental readiness, during the course of your day, is tricky. It’s called, “Finding your sweet spot.”
The Sweet Spot
For those of you who don’t know the baseball term, “sweet spot” is the place on a bat where a ball is most effectively hit. Find the sweet spot and hitting a homerun is easy…at least that’s what they say. You can use this phrase to describe those moments in your day when you’re totally revved up and ready to go. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out the things you might need to do in order to get to your “sweet spot” so here are some suggestions:
- Try and schedule your audition to correspond to your internal clock. Are you a morning, afternoon or evening person? Let’s say you’re the third one. Try and schedule your auditions during the hours of 3 to 8 p.m., if possible. That way you’ll be physically and mentally warmed up and ready to go and not getting dozy for your 1 p.m. power nap.
- Are you a member of the YMCA? If so, and you have to travel a long distance for an audition, see if there’s a facility near the Casting Office, Theatre, etc. If you can work it into your day, go there and run or swim some laps, take a shower and be as fresh as a daisy when you walk into the audition room. It’s amazing how much energy you can get from a short work out…helps calm your nerves, too!
- You should carry a power bar, an apple, and a small bottle of water in your satchel. If you’re going to be auditioning right before lunch you’ll probably be hungry and there’s nothing worse than performing while having a sugar low. Likewise, you don’t want to eat an early, big meal and waddle into the room, burping your burrito and wanting a siesta.
- Caffeine can be your best friend if you know when to drink it. There’s nothing like a little shot of java to get your brain buzzing. If you’re the extremely nervous type, perhaps you shouldn’t try this as you’ll probably end up shaking your script so much that you can’t read it.
- Develop a specific routine that you go through before leaving the house for the audition; a mental checklist of all the things you need to bring with you. No surprises…you hate surprises. Once you know that you have all your bases covered (there’s another baseball metaphor for you) you can focus on what’s really important…having a great audition.
Remember what Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
Sean Pratt, (AEA / SAG / AFTRA), has been a working actor for over 20 years. Sean was a member of the resident acting company at The Pearl Theatre, an Off-Broadway classical repertory theatre and has also performed at numerous regional theatres around the country. Major films include – Gods and Generals, Tuck Everlasting and Iron Jawed Angels. Television work includes – The host of HGTV’s, Old Homes Restored, and supporting roles on Homicide, The District and America’s Most Wanted. Audiobooks – He’s narrated for 15 years and has recorded nearly 550 books in just about every genre. He also teaches classes on and writes articles about the business of the Biz.