Dealing with Anxiety at Auditions with Patricia Stark

Do you get so nervous on auditions that you lose your train of thought? Acting in New York City means doing a lot of auditions, but when your body is in a fight or flight mode you can’t think straight under those circumstances!

Here are a few things you can do:

1- Ask yourself “Have I earned the right to be here? Have I invested in training, practicing, paid some dues, pounded the pavement, or have I just floated in on my good looks and charm here?  I’m sure the answer is that you have worked hard and taken a responsible approach to performing. So remind yourself of this before you go in for the audition or shoot.  “I have earned the right to be here” needs to be your mantra.

2- How are you programming your subconscious before you go in? Are thoughts of past failure or success in the back of your mind prior to your performance?  Are you taking time to “see the ball going in the basket or out of the park” like an athlete does before a shot, or are you playing a record in your head that goes something like this “what if I mess up, what if I loose my train of thought, what if they don’t like me, what if my nerves get the best of me”?  Your “what if’s” can only be “what if I nail this”? “What if they love me”, what if I am the answer to their problem”, what if this goes wonderfully?”

3- Are you going in as a wishful performer or are you going in as a professional who has a job to do? A job that you know how to do, a job that you will do? It is your responsibility as a professional to know what you need to do, to only think of the job at hand, do your best at it, and then once you leave you can let your emotions out and vent all you want, but it is your responsibility to not bring it in the room with you.

4- Your homework before any audition or shoot is to think the right thoughts. You are the boss of your brain.  Only feed it positive food. Garbage in garbage out, good stuff in good stuff out.  I don’t care what nay-sayers say, positive affirmations work.  You have got to work on your own personal core confidence in your life in general before you will have it at hand in the audition room.  Napoleon Hill once did a study that showed 98% of people lack confidence.  This is a huge number. So you see we all struggle with it, but we don’t have to give in to it.  I work with famous performers, models, successful executives, entrepreneurs, and experts and I’ve seen them all doubt themselves when they get out of their comfort zone.  We all will always have that inner critic in our head, it never goes away, but we can finally decide not to take direction from it!

5- Be kind to yourself. Have definite goals, a definite purpose. Learn everything you can, know your craft, be yourself not what you think you should be or what you think others want you to be.

6-  And if you have any kind of faith, ask for confidence.

7- Think to yourself, would I rather be nervous in this audition room right now ( a little nervous energy, let’s rename it “excited energy” can prevent us from being lifeless, flat and dull by the way), would you rather be in this situation or running from shelling in Syria or at the deathbed of a loved one? I know that is a little harsh but think about it. I would choose the uneasiness of an audition any day over those other options.

8- Trust yourself

About Patricia Stark

Patricia Stark brings her extensive experience hosting and anchoring over 25 different television shows to her Media Training and…read more

Take Charge of Your Image

To perform in NYC, you need to perfect your self-promotion tools.

Jessica Myhr is one of NY’s top stylist who works with some of NY and LA’s finest photographers to get the very best looks for each actor in their headshots.  Her clients work with her prior to shooting a session and their sessions are always extremely specific. The clothing and colors support and enhance each look without looking pushed.

When you meet a client, how does that first impression guide you?

Before I take on a client, I usually meet with him or her to do an initial consultation, to determine whether I can help that particular client achieve their goals and get a sense of their essence as a person.  First impressions in our industry are very important, because as an actor you sometimes have less than two minutes to not only do your work in the room, but leave the room with an impression of yourself, hopefully, something strong, memorable and authentic. When I see a client for the first time, I cannot help but assess them – What kind of energy do they have?
What would I cast them in? How do I categorize what they are wearing?  And ultimately, does their look, essence and the roles they play match up? Usually, there is some disconnect in one of these areas which brought them to me in the first place. My job is to help the client achieve clarity- that who they want to be and what roles they want to play- become inherent in their image and style.

When color took over headshots, did you see that as a major advantage, or has it become a competition between who has the brightest shirt on?

I do see color as an advantage, especially for actors pursuing film and television. The medium is in color and it makes sense that we can see actors as true to their likeness as possible. Theatre has more range, in my opinion, and therefore more imagination with look and how image can be altered. TV moves so quickly, from the casting to the shooting process, that there isn’t the same amount of time, it is more of a “what you see is what you get” kind of medium. Initially, I do think getting a color headshot was focused on popping bold colors to attract attention. And to some extent still, actors think if they wear a bright colored shirt, they will look better on camera and in photographs. This is not accurate and can be very distracting if it is not a color that makes the actor look their best. When I work with my clients, I do a specific color test to analyze what palette of colors truly make the actor look amazing and draw us to them personally, not just the color itself.

Are your clients skeptical of the process at all? Do you get “Why do I need this?” If so, why do they?

Yes, I think in this business a lot of people prey on the gullibility of actors. They should be skeptical. Most of the clients that come to me know that something isn’t working; whether it is picking out a great audition outfit, prepping appropriately for a headshot session, or working on their image as a brand. They come to realize after a few sessions with me that their image is vital to working as an actor and communicating accurately what they are selling. What is an actor’s business card? A headshot. We are not just names on a card, but an image is associated with our name. Our image IS our product before people in the business can identify our work as artists. If you are confused about what your image is saying in the room, it’s time to do some homework, like any smart company would and devise some strategies about where you want to be.  I tell many of my clients, the one thing you can control in the audition room is your image…what do you want it to say?

If you are interested in working with Jessica, contact her at:

Talking Headshots with Bill Strong, NY Headshot Photographer

Headshots are the #1 business tool needed by every actor.  But getting your best headshot isn’t always easy.  Today we’re speaking with NY Headshot Photographer Bill Strong on headshots.

When should an actor get new headshots?
You should get new headshots whenever your LOOKS CHANGE in a NOTICEABLE way. It is definitely time for new headshots when people start asking you what year your photo was taken or how much WEIGHT you have LOST or GAINED since having them done! Another common reason actors update their headshots is when they have a major HAIRSTYLE CHANGE or HAIR COLOR CHANGE. Younger actors tend to get new headshots more often as their looks change more frequently. CASTING people EXPECT you to LOOK LIKE your HEADSHOT and are often FRUSTRATED if you don’t. The last thing you want to do is make a casting person feel like you have WASTED THEIR TIME!

I’ve got a friend with a digital camera….can he take my headshot?
I’ve got a friend with a scalpel….can he take out your appendix?
Seriously….we all know that trying to be an ACTOR is one of the MOST COMPETITIVE professions that ever existed….way before the economy tanked! Getting GREAT HEADSHOTS is probably the most IMPORTANT INVESTMENT you can make in your CAREER. There are some struggling actors who spend over a thousand dollars for headshots!

NEW YORK CASTING DIRECTORS and AGENTS sometimes get hundreds of PROFESSIONAL headshots submitted every day and they can SPOT an UNPROFESSIONAL one IMMEDIATELY! You may shoot with a friend and THINK you have FOUND a HEADSHOT you can use. But I can almost assure you that the feedback you will get from INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS is that you NEED NEW HEADSHOTS! Don’t waste time, money and an opportunity to PRESENT YOURSELF as a PROFESSIONAL. Remember…you can’t make a FIRST IMPRESSION TWICE!

How do I choose a headshot photographer?
Nowadays…..a lot of people shop for things online. HEADSHOTS are most often SHOPPED ONLINE because the PRODUCT is what you see ON your COMPUTER SCREEN. Recommendations from fellow ACTORS and INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS is a great place to START. But the BEST WAY to get a FEEL for a PHOTOGRAPHER’S work is to VISIT and STUDY their WEBSITE! When visiting a headshot photographer’s website CONSIDER…..

• Are there TEN sample headshot photos or over a HUNDRED sample headshot photos?

• If there are a lot of headshot photos are the FIRST TEN IMPRESSIVE and all the REST go DOWN HILL from there?

• Is the STYLE of the headshot photography CONSISTENT or INCONSISTENT?

• Are there extremely BIG DIFFERENCES in the LIGHTING, BACKGROUND and COMPOSITION of the photos (what will you get)?

• Is there NO DIFFERENCE in the LIGHTING, BACKGROUND and COMPOSITION of the photos…(will you get the same pictures as everyone else)?

• Is the PHOTOGRAPHER someone who SPECIALIZES in ACTOR HEADSHOTS or really FASHION, CORPORATE, WEDDING, PRODUCT, SPORTS, LIFESTYLE, etc. and just supplementing their income shooting actors?

• Does the photographer CHARGE nearly or over a THOUSAND DOLLARS because they have sample photos of CELEBRITIES they photographed for FUN or as PUBLICITY photos and NOT as HEADSHOTS?

• Does the photographer charge only $99 but SHOOTS only UNDER BRIDGES, in PARKS and various STREET LOCATIONS because they have NO STUDIO or known address?

• CHOOSE a headshot PHOTOGRAPHER with a great REPUTATION…high QUALITY…reasonable PRICE and lots of EXPERIENCE WITH ACTORS

For more information on Bill Strong, check out his website at