Dealing with Nervousness

By Aaron Marcus OMP Member #74938

About two months ago I decided to accept an audition that I knew would scare me. Even though I have been booked 1,197 times so far, there are still certain jobs that make me nervous.

This audition was for a medical school celebrating its 200th anniversary. The main speaker for the event would be the comedian Dennis Miller. I was told there would be hundreds upon hundreds of doctors and civic leaders attending this event. Three actors were being hired to portray famous graduates from the institution, which meant there was a lot of medical terminology in this three-minute monologue.

I decided to go to the audition for no other reason than because I knew it would scare and challenge me. The audition would take me out of my comfort zone, and it would be a good learning experience.

Since the character I was reading for lived many years ago, I did not have any type of wardrobe that would allow me to look like him. I did a little research, and noticed a slight resemblance. So, I basically wore clothing that was plain and simple. I wanted to make sure that it did not stand out too much and detract people from listening to my read.

As it turns out, I booked the job, and on the performance day, I was a very nervous guy portraying Dr. James Carroll. This man figured out that yellow fever was spread by mosquitoes, and his discoveries helped save millions of lives.

I always tell people at my acting/commercial modeling workshops, that not only is it not bad to be nervous, I actually think it helps. There is a lot of energy flying through our bodies when we are scared. The trick is learning how to harness that energy so that others can see and feel the energy without noticing the nerves. To help gather and use nervous energy, you must first acknowledge the fact that you are nervous. I will take a few deep breaths and let them out slowly, just to try and calm myself down a little, but not to smother the energy.

I don’t know if this is a psychological tool or not, but even though I am a very optimistic person, I realize the chances of me booking a job are generally pretty slim. There are always very talented people auditioning for the same role as me. So I think, “what is there to be nervous about? I probably won’t get the part anyway.” That seems to help take some of the pressure off of me during the audition.

Aaron Marcus, America’s Premier Acting and Modeling Career Coach, has been making his living as an actor and a commercial model for over 27 years. He has been booked, 1,197 times to date. He is the founder of, the author of How to Become a Successful Commercial Model (now in its 5th edition), and offers private online coaching session.

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