Audition 101: Curveballs
A lot of the preparation work an actor will need to do before heading into the audition room should be on the self: stay calm, remember to breathe, have fun, but most of all be prepared for a curve ball. I love when people compare actors to athletes, because the audition really is like game day. You can study at home, prepare and practise until you're blue in the face, but once the whistle blows you should be ready for anything to happen while you play out the game (or in this case, the scene).
If you plan to do the scene standing, you might walk in the room and be asked to sit immediately. Here is when your adrenaline starts pumping, your palms get clammy and you open yourself up to the possibility of being thrown off your game. Should you find yourself in a situation like this, remember…
There is safety in your partners eyes. Take the attention off of yourself, and look at them. Listening in the greatest way to get yourself back into the moment and into the scene.
If the script is well written, trust that the line will come, even if it takes you some time to spit it out. Remember, 10 seconds in front of the camera feels like a life time, but it’s just ten seconds. Not rocket science.
Don’t be afraid to re-centre yourself. Take a breath, let your character take a sip of their drink, or take a moment to take your scene partner in. As long as you stay in character you are safe in doing this. Human beings space out all the time. And since, you now know it's only ten seconds, don’t be afraid to be human. Thats what acting is all about!
Lastly, be ready to go on the very first take. Find whatever pre-game ritual works for you, just like athletes do. When you walk into that room you should be highly sensitised to your environment, feeling in tune with your character and receptive to the stimuli around you. If you are ready to go the first take, then nothing, I promise, not even a curve ball, will strike you out.
Be so alive that nothing can throw you.