Hi! My name is Jordan Rice and I am a rising senior studying theatre at the University of Southern California and am now working for MTCA as Charlie’s assistant, over my summer break. Now that I’m back in the world of college auditions, here is a collection of tips. You don’t need me to tell you that this process is difficult and strenuous, so let’s talk about how to take care of yourself during audition season.
1. Filter out the white noise.
Throughout the process, there may be tons of buzzing, anxious thoughts, or other people behaving competitively. Try your best to recognize when someone is white noise (IE: doesn’t deserve your attention) and do your best to ignore it. An analogy that helps me personally, is about a lion and a dog. If you have a lion and a dog in the same room and throw a bone, the dog will chase after it, while the lion waits. The lion is thinking with the big picture in mind, while the dog is chasing after everything and anything. Be the lion. As auditions approach, your mind will naturally start to buzz, and you may encounter anxious thoughts. Instead of chasing after each thought, try to sit back and just watch the thought pass, like watching a car driving down the street.
2. Bookmark videos that remind you why you want to do theatre.
For me personally, it is the 2003 Tony Award performance of Rose’s Turn as well as the 2009 Tony Award Next to Normal performance. These videos are SACRED to me. I go to them for strength and healing. Find your videos and bookmark them.
3. Grab Coffee with a Non-Theatre person.
While I love my theatre friends so dearly, it was really helpful to be able to get coffee with a friend and not have to discuss the college audition process at all! Non-theatre people have no idea how it works anyways. Getting coffee will allow you to engage in normal human interaction that doesn’t revolve around the audition process. If you do decide to bring it up, which is totally fine, they will get such a kick out of it and say things like, “Wow that’s so impressive” and “How cool!” which is always good to hear.
4. Find your mantra.
This is a HUGE one and is something I started during the college audition process and continue to this day. My monologue coach recommended that I come up with a short mantra to use: “Here. Today. Now.” Any time I was feeling nervous, any time I was meditating, and before I walked into any audition room or scene on stage, I would say these three words. In full honesty, it didn’t work for the first couple of weeks. I quickly became frustrated, but told myself to keep doing it even though it felt stupid. Eventually, after doing it enough times, I trained my body to release and center myself just by thinking those three words in my head. Find a short mantra that works for you and use it.
5. Keep a Journal.
Journaling is always good for your mental health but is also a good way to keep track of how you’re feeling emotionally as well as how you feel about the different colleges as you audition for them. And who knows, maybe in 4 years you’ll do what I’m doing now and look back through those entries and chuckle.
These tips and tricks are by no means the end-all-be-all. There are TONS of different things you can do to stay healthy during the audition process, but these five tips allowed me to audition and move through the process with ease, stability, and a sense of calm.
About the Author
Jordan Rice (he/him) is a Los Angeles based actor/producer (as well as MTCA Alum Class of 2020!). He is wrapping up his final year in the USC Theatre BA program. While at USC, he has performed in main stage musicals such as Spring Awakening, A Chorus Line, and Carrie: The Musical. In addition to performing, he started a student production company called 4085 Productions with 3 of his friends from USC. 4085 Productions specializes in shorts and features and more info can be found at 4085productions.com and jordanlanerice.com