By Bret Shuford
Someone asked me after a performance the other day, “How do you keep from getting nervous?” For me, it’s all in how prepared I am. The more prepared I feel with the material, the better job I do. When I’m prepared, nothing can throw off my work.
There will always be someone more prepared than you, so you might as well try to be the MOST. 😉
Once I started scheduling time to prep for my auditions, my bookings took a huge leap. And it’s a process that I now share with my coaching clients because it’s important that the coach you work with knows how to book work for themselves too. If you don’t have an audition coach, I’d love to work with you. You can read more about my audition coaching services here.
If working with a coach is out of your budget right now, then rely on the buddy system.
Find a person that you trust wholeheartedly to stand in front of and read aloud your audition material or perform your song. I have a client who split the cost of a rehearsal studio and pianist with four friends, and they run through their audition material together once a week regularly.
It’s a cost-effective way to do the work and get support and encouragement from your peers. Community is what Broadway it all about at its core!
I also recommend getting into a routine when it comes to prepping for an audition. Here is the go-to routine that has helped me up my game.
1. My agent sends me an appointment (or I schedule an audition myself or get an appointment some other way).
2. I immediately check my calendar to see if I’m available at the time of the audition AND if I’m available to do the actual job. It’s important to me to keep my commitments, so if I have something else scheduled, even if this audition is for a job I want, the audition is a NO-GO. (There will always be more auditions, but you only have one life.)
3. Let’s say I am available (hurray!), then I immediately confirm with my agents and book the audition date and time in my calendar. (it’s a good idea to hold on to the email or link it in your calendar until AFTER the audition is over)
4. If I need to learn songs, I immediately send my sheet music to a music director who can create an MP3 of the songs for me. Currently, I use prepyourrep.com.
5. Schedule at least 30 minutes, but preferably an hour, every day before the audition to work on the material. One of these times should be with another person present to read/react or a session with your audition coach.
These are non-negotiable times; if not, this process will not be effective. It can be a real bummer to skip a fun, social event to “stay home and study”, but it’s an investment in yourself and your career goals.
6. Use each of those scheduled prep times to warm up the voice, memorize the material, and decide on what to wear. And don’t forget to RESEARCH the creative teams in the room. You’ll feel more confident walking into the room when you have an idea who will be in there.
7. Your nerves will be present always; it’s totally natural. However, if you know what you’re doing, the people in the room, and the choices you are going to make, the possibility of those nerves affecting your performance will definitely diminish.
So take a deep breath, and let go of all your self-judgments when you walk into the room. You’re as prepared as you can be. You got this!
Now that you have my tried-and-true audition prep plan, don’t rest on your laurels. Practicing your craft every week, or even every day, is still necessary, regardless of if you have an upcoming audition. The artists at the top of their game are singing, acting, dancing, every day!
Success is when preparation meets opportunity. Make sure you’re prepared.
For more support and resources, download my Broadway Survival Kit. And let me know how your audition prep is going by posting a comment in the TAC Facebook Group and tagging @broadwaylifecoach.
Bret Shuford has dedicated his life to creating theatre. As an actor, he made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Most recently, he was seen in Cirque du Soleil Paramour on Broadway, and in the Martin Scorsese feature film, The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Bret discovered that there was a deep desire from people within the industry to find guidance and support, and becoming a certified life coach was the natural next step. As the Broadway Life Coach, Bret helps actors get more auditions, book more work, find their self-confidence, and change the energy within the theatre community.
Snag a free copy of his Broadway Survival Kit, with all the tips, tricks and resources every New York performer needs to live their best Broadway Life, at broadwaysurvivalkit.com.