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How to Calm Audition Nerves & Overcome Audition Anxiety

Last Updated: June 24, 2024

Almost all actors & performers have experienced audition nerves. Here we look at why you feel anxious during your auditions and reveal several strategies for overcoming audition anxiety, including one technique borrowed from George Clooney.

How to Overcome Audition Anxiety

If you’re like most actors, you’re probably familiar with the audition nerves.

It’s the anxiety you experience when you’re walking into an audition, you see all the judging eyes fixated on you, and that overwhelming feeling takes over you.

But you don’t have to let anxiety control your audition performance, and ultimately the opportunities you get as an actor. There are steps you can take to overcome audition anxiety and pursue the roles that you deserve as an actor.

Here, we’ll explore a few different ways you can calm your nerves and overcome anxiety during an audition.

But first, let’s take a closer look into why you experience audition anxiety in the first place, so you can better understand the remedies to keep it under control.

Audition Anxiety Key Takeaways

If you're looking for a quick, scannable summary of the rest of this article, here are several key takeways about Audition Anxiety:

  • Audition nerves or audition anxiety is common among actors and musicians. The primary causes of audition anxiety include career instability and financial struggle, but the reasons can vary and range from psychological to physical factors
  • When under extreme stress, the body can respond by releasing catecholamines, the most relevant being the adrenaline hormone. Adrenaline puts greater pressure on your heart and forces it to pump blood faster, raising your heart rate and blood pressure. This is the root cause of audition anxiety symptoms
  • Techniques to overcome audition nerves include viewing auditions as an opportunity to solve the problems of those hosting the auditions rather than your own, increasing the frequency of auditions you attend, and medications like beta-blockers or natural alternatives in supplement or food form

Why do you experience audition anxiety?

Audition anxiety is quite common among actors and musicians. And for some performers, it can even help.

They can harness that little jitteriness to increase their focus and intensity to deliver a better performance.

But the issue is that when that “jittery” feeling goes too far, and your heart rate goes through the roof. Next thing you know, you’re trying to keep your trembling under control, and you’re sweating uncontrollably.

Not an ideal impression, to say the least. And it most likely affects your ability to perform at a high level.

According to one University of Adelaide study, various factors might contribute to anxiety in actors. Primary reasons include career instability, and financial struggle, among others [1].

But when it comes to audition anxiety, there’s one thing that particularly plays a significant role. It’s how your body handles stress.

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Stress response and audition anxiety

When you’re under extreme stress, your body often responds by releasing catecholamines, which includes the adrenaline hormone [2].

The stress-response is commonly referred to as the fight-or-flight mode. Back in the day, when our ancestors lived in the wild, they were often faced with real danger. They had to actually fight, or flee, to stay alive. The spike in adrenaline better equipped them with the physical readiness to do what was necessary.

The way it works is that adrenaline puts greater pressure on your heart and forces it to pump blood faster, raising your heart rate and blood pressure. If you actually had to run away to save your life, it would be quite useful.

However, during an audition, even though you’re not in any real danger, your body might still react in a similar way to the fight-or-flight response. It happens due to the stress and perceived danger of rejection, humiliation, uncertainty, etc.

How to overcome audition anxiety

Let’s delve into how you can overcome audition anxiety, so you can perform at your best, and land the roles you want.

As we mentioned before, you might not want to get rid of the jitteriness completely. You want just the right amount to increase your alertness and mental focus.

But what you definitely want to avoid is the anxiety that makes you lose control over yourself.

Here are some of the things you can try.

George Clooney has excellent advice for overcoming anxiety and killing at auditions, from earlier in his career

Follow George Clooney’s advice

Before George Clooney became who he is today, he started out just like you. He was attending auditions, trying to impress producers and directors, and hoping someone gives him a chance.

And as crazy as it may sound, he spent the first years getting rejected everywhere he went. He spent that time blaming others for not seeing the talent that he was.

But it all changed when he shifted his perspective.

He started viewing auditions as an opportunity to solve the casting director’s problem, not his own. He realized that the producers were also hoping and praying that the next person that auditioned was the one that was perfect for their role.

And he could help them by being that person.

Remember, George Clooney adopted this mindset when nobody knew who he was. If it worked for him, it might work for you too.

Audition (a lot) more

As we previously explained, there is a significant link between your anxiety symptoms and the amount of stress that is involved with an audition.

One way to reduce the anxiety is to make auditions less stressful.

How do you do that? You guessed it; by auditioning a lot more.

Make it a point to attend as many auditions as possible, even if you have zero interest in the role. You have nothing to lose in that situation. And the point is to become so familiar and used to the process that it becomes second nature to you.

And who knows, you might even end up with roles that you weren’t expecting, which could then lead to bigger and better things. At the very least, you will make connections with more people in your industry.

Try A Calming Supplement for your nerves

Not all of your auditions are going to be practice runs. You will come across opportunities that are exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

And when you do find these auditions, you want to make sure that you can perform at your best under pressure.

That’s where anxiety management supplements like PerformZen can help. It’s a natural supplement that I recommended to several clients as it helps you calm your nerves, increase mental focus, and deliver a knockout performance so you can get the role.

PerformZen works by increasing GABA levels in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that reduces mental chatter and helps you feel more calm and relaxed [3].

There’s also magnesium and vitamin B6 in PerformZen (among other additional ingredients), the combination of which has been proven to increase mental focus and sharpness [4].

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Final thoughts on overcoming audition anxiety

Audition anxiety is a common phenomenon among actors. If you’ve been experiencing it, you’re not alone!

But you don’t have to let it hold you back.

Try to shift your perspective on auditions and think of it as solving a problem for the producer, like George Clooney. And of course, practice as much as possible by signing up for all the auditions you can.

And finally, for an extra boost in calmness and mental performance, give PerformZen a try next time you walk into the room for an audition.

Take a look at our other guides

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What is Performance Anxiety? What causes performance anxiety, what are the symptoms, and can you overcome performance anxiety?

Leave a Comment Owner & Lead Writer

Anita is the owner and lead writer for A seasoned musician and public speaker herself, she is no stranger to the very real fear and anxiety that can strike right before a high-pressure situation. That's why Anita is passionate about writing content that helps people learn about and overcome their anxieties & social fears so that they can perform at their best when it counts and live anxiety-free lives.