How to prevent panic when you’re asked to improvise

improvImprovise? Me? Naaah, that’s not gonna happen at an audition!

Well, think again, because it just might. 😉 Here are some real-world examples of what I (or colleagues of mine) experienced at auditions:

“Yes, we liked what you just did, so could you please sing it again as a little boy trying to walk across a frozen pond?”

“Please repeat the scene but this time, your left shoe will try to interrupt you!”

Sounds strange? Well, if it happened to us, it might just happen to you. 😉

OH MY GOD, why would they do this to me?

Hold your horses and (as always), don’t panic! The casting directors (meaning your potential teachers) only want to give you a chance to show how creative you are and help you get out of your head. They want to find out if they can work with you and if you are open to directions. Think about it, if you were considering a student for your performing arts programme, wouldn’t you want someone who responds to your notes instead of someone who is stuck in their ways?

So in reality, they aren’t doing this TO you, they are doing it FOR you. This way, you can show them what you can do in another way, so take the chance!

Also remind yourself again (and again) that they are not expecting you to be perfect but that they are expecting you to try! So be bold, be brave and don’t second-guess your choices!

Okay, I get that but how do I prepare for this?

Obviously, there is no way for you to be prepared for ALL scenarios they could possibly throw at you because honestly, there are at least a gazillion! 😉 But don’t worry, there are (at least…) two ways to improve your improv skills.

One way is to participate in improv classes. I bet there are groups in your area that meet on a regular basis. There, you will learn improv games that get your creative juices flowing. It will teach you not to suppress your impulses and stay flexible at the audition. Even if you are NOT asked to improvise at the audition, it will also inform the rep you are preparing.

The second way is to work or play with kids. Why? Because kids have unlimited imagination. I believe that is because they don’t care about conventions determined by society. And when they play a game, they don’t care if pigs can actually fly in real life. The sky is the limit! And being around kids will definitely help you find that place within yourself again and you might even have fun at the same time! 😉

So, what now?

What are you waiting for? Book your classes and find those kids! (And no, I’m not suggesting you should pick up kids from the playground. :-p)

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