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Michelle Danner: 5 tips for authenticity in auditions

Michelle Danner
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Hollywood film director and acting coach Michelle Danner has been coaching for 27 years, working with actors privately as well as on set. Her A-list clients include James Franco, Gerard Butler, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Zooey Deschanel and Chris Rock…


1. Remove the pressure

It’s only an audition. There will be others. You can’t be authentically in the moment if you put too much pressure on yourself. At the end of the day, it’s great to get the job, of course, But what’s equally important is to get the person you’re auditioning for to remember you for other jobs. To do that, you want to connect with the casting director and the material, with the assistant who checked you in outside, and each person you encounter. If you’ve achieved that connection, then you showed up with your authentic self.

2. Breathe

Breathing properly calms and centres you. If you don’t breathe fully and properly you are disconnected and inauthentic, so you need to be continuously aware of it.

3. Don’t try to please

You’re not there to please anyone but yourself. Whenever you deliberately try to please a casting director, agent, producer, director or manager with the intention of getting good feedback, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Don’t worry about what other people think or about being liked. It will only get in the way of your being authentic.

4. Use the energy that you have

Be in the moment emotionally. Don’t feel that you have to put on a happy face, be jovial and look like you’re having fun. All that extra stuff comes across as fake. My best auditions were when I couldn’t control anything, when my life was falling apart around me and I didn’t pressure myself into giving a perfect reading. That was the truth. That was authentic. Find something that excites you about the audition. You are there to pursue something that you love — that’s energy.

5. Allow yourself to be vulnerable

It’s not about crying or being sentimental — it’s about letting yourself go into a place that’s fragile and delicate. That place you need to soothe, love, listen to and allow yourself to come to the surface.

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