The number of things that we cannot control in an audition room are too many to count.

To name a few: who or what the creative team believe they need for the cast, the kind of day any of the table people are having, the accompanist your creative collaborator, the production/budget needs that dictate the makeup of the cast, the fact that you may look like the director’s ex, the fact you may be too tall, too short, too edgy, too vanilla, too too too too too tooooooo

Almost any actor can tell you of a time he or she walked into an audition room, sang a song, and left the room only to realize that there remained no actual memory of what just transpired.

I experienced this in a particularly embarrassing way when I booked a co-star role on a TV show in LA.

I was new to the TV and film audition world, and by some miracle I stayed focused and offered a decent read in the room with producers.

What did not occur to my 28-year-old brain after booking the job was to do a quick google of the producers’ names so that I’d know who was kind enough to give me a two-line chance.

When a nicely dressed woman approached me on the day and said hello, I introduced myself, and she said, “Yes, I know who you are. I gave you the job.”

Can someone take out their Blackberry (it was 2006) and locate the nearest hole into which I may crawl?

The point is…I had no memory of who was in that room that day because I was highly adrenalized as one wise teacher taught me to call it.

Here’s where today’s tip comes in.

This is what you do have control over in the audition room. Every audition is an opportunity for you to hone a skill. You can go in each time with one particular aim in mind.

Here is a list to get you started.

  • Today I’m going to make sure I’m exhaling and inhaling (this is 80% of success in a room, I’m convinced)
  • Today I’m going to SEE the elements in the room: the windows, the door, the ceiling, the curtains
  • Today I’m going to really see the accompanist and take my time (not too much time) to communicate my sheet music to her or him. I’m going to listen to the piano and collaborate.
  • Today I’m going to see, take in, and listen to the table people, even if all they say is “Thaaaank yoooou.”
  • Today I’m going to go in slow motion so that in this adrenalized state, I’m actually going at normal human speed.
  • Today I’m pretending that this is a rehearsal, and I’m going in to offer my best to this collaboration.

All of these goals help us get outside of ourselves so that we are working from generosity and courage rather than need and fear.

Next time you’re in an audition, an interview, a performance, or even at a party, pick one thing to do. Choose to soften your eyeballs and see what and who is around you. I guarantee it’s going to change your experience.

And if you get the job, for heaven’s sake, google the people before you show up for the first day of school.