Last week, I went to the cinema to watch “The Audition” by director Till Harms. “The Audition” is about the audition process at the acting college in Hannover, Germany. As an actress and blogger, I was interested in the film because it showed the process from the viewpoint of the jury instead of the viewpoint of the participants.
What I didn’t know was that there would also be a supporting film that night. This supporting film was “About Pressure” by Sebastian Binder and Sebastian Fred Schirmer. It barely lasted thirteen minutes but it really got me thinking. Whoever picked the two films to go together at the festival, well, kudos to you! Because auditions are very much about pressure for all people involved.
“About Pressure” basically consisted of interviews with everyday people and each of them shared their own take on the subject of pressure. There were funny moments such as the one when the woman at the bar associated pressure with going to the toilet but one quote really got stuck in my brain, “There are some people who need pressure and there are people who break.”
POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE PRESSURE
So, let’s take a step back here, what insight can we gain from this quote? Well, showbiz is full of pressure. It starts with the pressure at college auditions and it continues to be a constant battle for attention, being compared to others and landing the next gig. And let’s face the facts, some people just aren’t cut out to face that type of pressure for a longer period of time.
But then there’s also that pressure to perform well on stage. And the latter (even though the word pressure has a negative connotation) is really why we pick the job, isn’t it? Because that so-called pressure on stage makes our stories take wing! So we can think of negative pressure as opposed to positive pressure.
But how do we gain access to that positive pressure without getting broken by negative pressure on the way there? Good question, my friend! Because I frankly assume that actors are the kind of people who need pressure otherwise they wouldn’t pick a job in which they are permanently exposed.
THREE STEPS TO USE PRESSURE FOR GOOD
Whenever you feel negative pressure, try and identify where it’s coming from. Are you scared you won’t get in? Ask yourself why! Then try and find a solution to eliminate the reason. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution!
Bring yourself into as many situations in which you can access positive pressure. Try landing some gigs before your main audition season, work with new coaches who help you soar, you can even go to a karaoke bar if you want to. While you’re at it, also identify how that positive pressure came about and how it makes you feel.
Create positive pressure within negative pressure moments! Say what? Well, whenever you feel negative pressure, just try to recreate a moment created by positive pressure. This must sound rather abstract so let me give you an example.
PRESSURE IN AUDITIONS
There is a lot of negative pressure in auditions, I’ll give you that. But what if you treated auditions like a show? Shows are usually full of positive pressure, aren’t they? So, when you walk into that room, don’t treat it like an examination, treat it like a one-person-show of three to fifteen minutes. You’ll be surprised of the way this will affect your performance and your nerves! And think about it, this will only be one audition of many, so it is totally worth trying out! 🙂