I detest getting to auditions early. My goal is to show up ten to fifteen minutes before my allotted time, and book it out of there as quickly as I can.
Unfortunately, when it comes to agent appointments, this rarely happens. I'm usually sitting for 20 to 30 minutes while half of Manhattan traipses in and out of Pearl Studios. While overall I prefer agent auditions because they're more relaxed than equity calls, the waiting makes me crazy. No matter how confident and prepared I feel, as the time passes I begin to second guess myself. Everyone else seems so... well, good! And familiar with the creative team. And thin. And effortlessly confident. But wait, I'm these things too... usually...
Why am I going crazy?!!
While the waiting area still presents problems for me, I have come up with a few tactics to keep me centered, calm and focused. Remember, if you refuse to let this industry drive you crazy, you're winning.
1. Don't cram.
Sometimes we think we can circumvent waiting room anxiety by really focusing on our song or sides. This will only serve to make you anxious about your choices and less spontaneous in the room. Trust that you're as ready as you're going to be. Read over your material once, then put it away. Bring something else to read to take your mind off things, be it Vanity Fair or the latest Paula Hawkins.
2. Don't get stuck in your chair.
For some people, sitting in a seat helps them feel grounded and ready. For others, it makes them feel trapped. The point is, you can move. If you want to pace, pace! Auditions are prime pacing territory. Likewise, if you're planted, but the person sitting next to you is making you bats-- rehearsing the lines, talking on the phone-- just move. Don't confront them; you don't need that energy. Just save yourself from an irritating situation.
3. Watch out for energy suckers!
Every person has Someone They Don't Want to See at an audition. Maybe it's someone you could barely tolerate in your last cast. Maybe it's someone you like, but their audition energy doesn't gel with yours: i.e., they laugh and joke while you like to be quiet, or vice versa. Or maybe it's just that person who always seems to book YOUR jobs! Whichever it is, identify them and know that they don't have to be tolerated in this setting. At best, they'll suck your energy; at worst, your confidence. They must be avoided like plague. But how? Try one of these strategies.
a. Walk away as if you didn't see or hear them.
Don't actively ignore them, but find a reason to turn away, or to hide if you see them first. Cell phones are useful in this endeavor. So is the nearest restroom, if you're not on deck to audition.
b. Wear earbuds and stare at something.
Michael Phelps (pictured) has this down. If someone still has the nerve to approach you, simply say, "Hi, it's great to see you. I'm preparing." That magical phrase will work 99% of the time.
Warning: don't linger after an audition, either. That same energy sucker may slyly let you know that callbacks were given in the room or other such misinformation. Or they'll tell you about their latest enviable project. ("You know, I really can't do this show anyway, I'm headed to San Fran to do Roman Holiday. It's just that the director specifically asked to see me, so what can you do?") Or I'll freak myself out without the help of the energy sucker: I'll notice that the person after me stayed in the room for much longer than I did. If I killed, I'll pack up very slowly so that... what? They can run out of the room and tell me the job is mine? This doesn't happen. So I always give myself something to do afterward. These days, it's usually taking class or catching NJ Transit. Maybe for you it's decompressing with your friend or finally sampling that damn unicorn latte. Whatever it is, you have places to be. Life moves on. This audition is just one of many. May you continue to audition without driving yourself batshit crazy.