How to Overcome Fear in Auditions

Ever had a sudden attack of fear prepping for an audition or agent meeting? There is a way to get over it!

Have you ever been preparing for an audition or had an interview with an agent and you suddenly have an attack of fear or doubt? There is a way to get over the FEAR!


First, by recognizing what fear is and where it comes from. Second, fighting  it the moment it raises its ugly head.

A client recently called me in tears. She was delighted with the idea of re-branding herself and coming back into the acting business after a break to raise a family. Still beautiful and a vibrant and talented woman, she was in a panic… she was overwhelmed with the idea of getting new headshots, meeting new agents and auditioning when she hadn’t been “out there” in a while.

“Where does this morbid fear come from?” she asked. It comes from anticipation of failure and a negative outcome. It comes from the, “What if they don’t like me? What if the pictures turn out bad? What if I’m too old? What if I spend all this money and I can’t get an agent?”

Fear comes from living in a thought realm – an imagined future – that isn’t real. It’s only a thought. Sometimes it comes from the past-when things didn’t work out and the thought pattern of, “this bad thing is going to happen again” sets in. It’s negative energy stored in your memory. It’s also your primitive brain protecting you. It comes from the part of the brain we all have as humans. It’s called the mammalian or Lizard brain-the one that is always on edge waiting to be attacked, challenged, hurt, devoured!

But wait – there aren’t any dinosaurs or monsters out there! Doesn’t matter. The Lizard Brain doesn’t know we have left the caves and there aren’t any stalking animals, fires, floods or volcanoes (well, not all the time).

The Lizard brain was dominant in our systems to protect us eons ago. Then, the more modern intelligent/creative brain developed, the one responsible for science, math, creativity, writing, the arts… happiness…JOY!

So, the trick here is to tap into the more modern brain which is sometimes difficult because the lizard brain has dominance most of the time. Yes! Most human beings are walking around in a form of fear, doubt and depression most of the time. It takes EFFORT to change that condition. Think of something you LOVE. Think of the flip side of the previous “What if’s” –

“What if the photos come out strikingly beautiful?

“What if the interview goes well, the agent loves me and makes an offer?”

“What if I’m really good at that audition?”

“What if it all comes out so good and I book that starring role?”

Now wouldn’t that make you happy? Right. That’s using your modern creative brain overriding the other circuit. And in the process of thinking about what you LOVE, what will make you HAPPY, you become a Warrior who wins the battle! You trick the lizard into thinking everything is SAFE. If you do that daily, you create (in 21 days – we all know that thing about habits) a positive outcome – the habit of staying away from the FEAR.


And that brain releases endorphins and all kinds of happy chemicals so you feel better, function better and accomplish everything easily and successfully!’s FUN to outwit monsters. (If you’re a scientist, please excuse the poetic euphoria – I’m almost always in my creative brain).

Next time you are afraid to audition, submit yourself, return an agent’s call, commit to that class or buy those gorgeous red shoes or any step to go forward in your career, call it what it is, “LIZARD BRAIN!” And tell it to “GO AWAY! Don’t need you here. BEGONE!”

…and it will be. Now, You are a creative Warrior.

And a successful actor!

Happy Marketing !


Gwyn GillissGwyn Gilliss is the Executive Director of TAM, The Actor’s Market, a marketing firm for actors. They provide monthly FREE Info seminars/teleseminars, FREE weekly marketing tips as well as access to top photographers, graphic artists and videographers who provide every marketing tool an actor needs to be successful. Having studied theater at Carnegie-Mellon University, Gwyn’s acting career spans several decades during which time she appeared on and off-Broadway, in classical roles in American Repertory companies,starred in over 18 contract and recurring roles in Daytime/Prime time TV, films and dozens of network TV commercials. Her book, The ABC’s of Soaps, a best seller is a “how to” on getting work in Daytime TV. As a Marketing/Career Coach she is available to work One-on-One with actors AND non-actors at all levels of on-camera performance skills.

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