Growing up in the midwest, we had those magical little nymphs of the evening- fireflies.
It was a simpler time. We couldn't have even imagined what a "smartphone" would be if we'd tried.
Instead, when my friends and I would come across a small swarm of these little buggers, we'd run around and squeal with delight as we each tried to catch them. It became a game, trying to see who could catch the most. Sometimes, because of our exuberance, they got squished.
That's how we discovered that if we smeared the goo on our hands or clothing, we would "glow" for a few seconds.
Again, we were kids. And kids are gross.
So, naturally, I thought wouldn't it be NEAT to have a jar FULL of them on my nightstand? I could watch them fly around in their new little glass home as they illuminated my dark bedroom!
So, I found an empty mason jar and caught as many as I could before my mom yelled at me to come inside. Their new glow-in-the-dark condo sat right next to my bed. I watched in fascination as they slowly calmed down and "went to sleep."
When I woke the next day to find them dead, my father asked if I had bothered to poke holes in the lid.
I had deprived them of the biggest essential thing that all living things need- AIR.
Now, you may be wondering why I'm going on about fireflies and my horrific actions as the child version of the Marquis de Sade, but I promise I have a point.
As 90% of all actors walk into the audition room, they hold their breath. Just like my little lightning bug friends, they're deprived of air.
This is, of course, the basic necessity that could help them to succeed (not to mention survive.)
When we can't breathe, our level of anxiety rises. Which leads to that panicked look plastered on our faces. And then the whole audition snowballs into an uncontrolled disaster. (Where we sort of feel trapped in a glass jar with no air holes.)
How do we fix this? Just breathe.
Belly Breathing: Instead of short and shallow breaths that make your chest swell and your shoulders rise, place your hand below your navel and focus on slowly breathing into the lower abdomen. This allows you to take a fuller breath. Slowly inhale and exhale 3 or 4 times, and you will start to feel connected to your breath.
4 - 7 - 8 Breathing:
- Place one hand below the navel and the other on your chest
- Inhale a deep, slow breath on a count of 4
- Hold that breath for a count of 7
- Exhale the breath on a slow count of 8
Repeat this process until you feel calm. Notice how your body reacts to the change in your breathing pattern. Bookmark that feeling in your mind. When you find yourself starting to panic in the audition room, return to that feeling of calm.
There are so many breathing techniques that help us center ourselves. They are an essential tool for ANY actor.
Want to find out more? Check us out at theConnectedPerformer.com and sign up for your FREE session to see how we can help you to bring your best audition every time.