“I messed up my lines in the audition room! And I didn’t get to do it again,” said a lovely actor who called to give me a review of her audition that we had just prepped together.
While she knew not to be hung up on it, she still felt she had royally messed up. This is when the self-critical battle begins. The confident trusting actor versus the disappointed unsure actor. Who will win? The underpinning of this battle is a belief that most actors are upholding: the actor thinks there is a right way to do the audition.
I have a name for this:
You, the actor, think that there is a right way to do the audition and the role. Casting directors have made you feel this way by the various feedback in classes or inside the audition room. Sure, there are things that some CDs don’t like. For instance, handshaking. (Germs! Sweaty palms!)
But then there is a CD who welcomes that kind of direct connection with the actor in hope of understanding the human being behind the actor facade. Sure, there is a CD who says you should do the same thing in the callback as what you did in your first audition to show consistency, but then there is the CD who wants to see in your callback some new ideas that show you can go deeper in the work. Sure, there is the CD who loves your headshot, but then there is the CD who thinks it doesn’t capture you at all. It’s very confusing!
A part of you perhaps believes that if you don’t do what “they” like, then you will not be called back again by that CD ever, ever, EVER again. Of course, these are your worst fears and inner critics rattling your confidence. I am interested in you supporting your process on your unique path, rather than just the outcome of getting hired or receiving callbacks. I believe that when you focus on that, confidence and jobs follow.
Start by accepting that. Each person watching you has different opinions and preferences, and you can make much more progress by focusing on YOUR PATH.
Your path is the only path to be on.
YOU are the one that knows your work, your abilities and your potential better than anyone else in the whole world.
YOU have the ability to inspire opinions about the character – YOU are stimulating how the director and writer will tell the story.
If you are trying to do solely what you think the CD or Creative Team are looking for, then you are not on YOUR PATH of exploration for the character. You have just cut off the potentials of what could be in this role and your own gateway to opening it.
I know, I know. I hear your inner critic who is still trying to get it right. Yes, of course, it is valuable to consider what “they” are seeking and try to deliver that, but please don’t sacrifice your creativity within that process. Trust me please, the creative playful inspired actor lures the audience to love and adore you and want to work with you more! Even if the actor is not right for the part, some of my favorite auditions have been actors who are creative with the material. I will audition them again for other roles!
No one can do the role like you do it. No one can say that line the way you say it.
Be courageous and take risks that keep you enlivened in your work. When you take a risk, isn’t that exciting? Don’t you wake up? Keep it fresh and shake it up. (And you will wake up the room).
There are five million four hundred thousand and sixty-seven ways to do the scene and interpret the role. Keep exploring every time that you do the scene for a new angle on a word, a line, or an emotional entry point.
Line accuracy does not make an Academy Award-winning performance. The person living inside the scene is what moves the audience.
Practice letting go of your attachment to the result. It is depleting your energy and enthusiasm for acting to try to understand why you were called back or not, hired or not. It could be because of your hair color, or the way you said a line, or your physical type, or age, and on and on through the list of randomly specific reasons that someone thinks about each auditioning actor. Energy spent on this blame game is preventing you from building your confidence. Instead, focus on moving forward in every audition. Each audition is a chance to grow as an actor and learn something about yourself and your skills.
Make the audition process a barometer for your personal actor growth and celebrate that. A “bad” audition is just as valuable as a “good” audition.
Let us know below in the comments what YOU do in the audition room to keep it alive and let go of the “get it right” syndrome!