8 Body Language Tips for Actors
Every day, thousands of actors attend auditions and interviews to land a role. We are always auditioning and looking for the next job. We stand in front of a panel of directors, casting agents, choreographers, and influential industry experts who determine whether or not we will get the part.
As an actor or professional in your industry, I can tell you:
Hope is not enough to land the job.
Even credentials and connections are not always enough. Instead, you can increase your odds of receiving a casting offer by presenting hireable characteristics. To nail every audition and interview, you must use the right set of tools and techniques. Body language plays a critical factor in whether or not you will land the job. In order to stand out in a crowd of hundreds (if not thousands) of actors, you must take control of your body language so casting directors will remember you.
To audition or interview successfully, use body language to your advantage. First, observe how you currently use body language and nonverbal communication. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How do I prepare my body and voice before an audition?
- What facial expressions do I make in the audition room when I’m not performing?
- How does my voice inflect when I introduce myself to casting directors?
- What did I do in my last audition to land the role?
- Did body language contribute to my last rejection? What did I do and how can I change it?
Once you have done some self-diagnosis. Use these body language hacks for actors:
1. Master Your Space
Keep yourself in social-consultative proximity with the casting director. This is usually 4-12 feet away from the other person. Determine this distance when you enter the room. You should be close enough to be heard, and also have your whole body visible. Don’t stand too close to the director so she can look up your nostrils, and don’t stand too far away so she can’t hear you.
2. Use Microexpressions
The correct facial gestures can make or break an actor. There are two ways to use microexpressions in an audition:
- Smile genuinely. Directors want to be around positive, happy people. The physical characteristics of a smile include raised cheeks and showing your teeth. In order to smile, think of a joke or scenario that makes you giggle, or bite the center of a pencil and part your lips (Don’t hurt yourself!). Ingenuine smiles are spotted easily, so make sure your smile is genuine and coming from a place of true happiness.
- Avoid displaying sadness, anger, or disdainful microexpressions when you walk into and leave the audition room. The only time you can display sadness, anger or disdain is when you’re acting.
- Use the correct facial expressions as you act. Memorize the 7 microexpressions so, like a Swiss Army knife you can use the correct one in the correct scene no matter what script you are handed:
3. Launch Stance
Practice your launch stance. A launch stance is the way you stand that makes you feel relaxed, comfortable and confident. For most people, this includes both feet planted on the ground (don’t shift your feet!), head up, shoulders back, and your knees ever-so-slightly bent. Get in your launch stance after you determine where to stand.
4. The Power of Leaning
Lean with purpose. Sometimes, directors give actors a note to improve their audition or ask a question about their resume. In these situations, lean towards the person speaking to you. You should also point your feet and torso in their direction. This shows the director you are open and activity listening. Make sure you apply their suggestions. Doing this makes you a likeable person instantly.
5. Vocal Power
You want to keep your vocal chords relaxed, while still projecting power. To do this take deep breaths. Before you start your monologue, song, or dance routine, take several deep inhalations and exhalations. Deep breaths calm your nerves, grounds your body, and makes other people feel at ease as they mirror your calm breathing.
6. Purposeful Gazing
Use purposeful gazing and eye contact to your advantage. When you enter the audition room, keep your head up and look in front of you. After you plant yourself, look at who you’re introducing yourself to. Don’t shift your eyes too much and never look at the floor.
7. Harness Confidence
Confidence is your ability to show others that you believe in yourself. Your ability to display confidence increases trust and comfort levels with others. You can build confidence with your body language in many ways. Here are 5 tips to build confidence before your next audition:
- Wear flexible clothes you feel comfortable in.
- Listen to music that gets you pumped.
- Think of a time you felt most proud of an accomplishment.
- Power pose and take up space. Do this in front of other people, no matter how silly you look.
- Call a friend or family member who makes you feel good.
- Do a success routine…
8. Success Routine
Before you even walk out on stage you need to do a success routine. Success routines help increase your influence in front of new people, such as casting directors and talent agents. Some ideas for your success routine:
- Favorite music playlist
- Funny or inspirational YouTube videos
- Calling a Pep-Talk friend
Now is the time to take action. Use these body language hacks to your advantage when you prepare for your next audition. Whether you hate or love auditions, body language is a major key to audition or interview successfully. If acting is your passion, I recommend you learn to love auditions. Take your fears about auditions and toss them out the window. When you present yourself as a focused, charismatic and confident actor, you are guaranteed to set yourself up for success.
Want to dig a little deeper into the science of body language? Check out our book Captivate!
Ever wonder what makes people tick? Want to know the hidden forces that drive our behavior? In Vanessa Van Edwards new book Captivate, she explains a simple blueprint for hacking human behavior. In this science packed, anti-boring guide you will learn:
- The formula for fascinating conversation
- How to walk into a room full of strangers and make a killer first impression
- What to do to increase your impact and income using people skills
- Our strategy for hacking the people code–we call it the matrix (Keanu Reeves not included with each book sale)
- The art and science of understanding people
Learn the new–science based way for winning friends and influencing people.
Max DuBowy is a triple-threat musical theatre performer and content specialist with more than 20 theatrical credits on his resume. He holds a degree in psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and has performed professionally in theatres across California, Nevada, Oregon and New Mexico. You can follow Max on Twitter @MaxDuBowy or connect with him on Linkedin.