Last week I was at a pretty popular coffee shop in the heart of the theatre district catching up on emails and the news when a woman sitting behind me caught my ear as she was chatting on her cell phone. Normally, I would’ve just ignored her and went on with my reading until I realized she was venting about an audition she just got out of. This uneasy actress was spewing comments such as, “I don’t think I was what they were looking for,” “They asked the girl that went before me to sing two songs,” “The accompanist played my song so fast I didn’t have a chance to connect to the words,” and this was my personal favorite, “The people running the auditions seemed like assholes anyway.” Trust me, I wish I were making this up!
I was floored as I listened to this woman beat herself as well as the creative team to oblivion. Before I had the chance to say something to this young woman, she bolted out of the café as if running from the police. After she left, I sat there pondering, “Are there really actors that let themselves get that flustered over an audition?” I’d like to think that she is one in a million who suffer from post-audition anxiety, but I could be wrong. Nonetheless, she inspired me to share my two-cents with you on how to leave the audition at the audition.
First off, you’ve got to learn to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE auditioning. Sometimes it’s easier said then done, but the more you get out there the less nerve-racking it is. Why not think of auditions as the moments when all is right in the world. It’s only you, the material, and the infinite possibilities of what your character will create. That audition is your moment in your world. Plus, hello, you get to perform; the very thing you’re in this business to do. Hey, isn’t a bad audition any day of the week better than sitting at your temp desk not auditioning at all?
That’s what I thought.
Yes, sometimes you’ll bomb an audition, it happens. What you cannot do is be the actor mentioned above. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself leaving this business very quickly.
A great way to alleviate angst is to journal about it. I’m sure most of you do and already know how cathartic it can be. In one fell swoop you can reflect on the work you just did, who was in the room, what you performed, what you wore, and what you learned for the next time around. Even still, journaling may not be enough to really put your mind at ease. In that case, here are a few post-audition ideas:
- If you have to talk to someone about it, set aside five minutes, TOPS and tell a friend who won’t ask a million questions about it. Telling your agent isn’t always a bad idea either. And please, never talk about it in public! It’s bad enough that I heard that actress attack the creative team, I’m sure others were listening as well. If she had mentioned any names, she may have found herself burning a bridge or two. These days, everyone knows everyone, and everyone talks to each other. If you’re going to talk about it, talk in the privacy of your own home.
- Have an audition buddy. If you have a friend who is a similar type as you, attend the same calls together. Plan an activity to do when the audition’s over that’ll you’ll both enjoy. Also, you both can keep each other calm and in a great mindset while in the waiting room. Now THAT’S a good friend.
- For every audition, have $20.00 in your pocket. A lot of artists I know set aside $20 to spend after a big audition. They either treat themselves to a nice dinner, a movie, a lot of Mister Softee, or all three! The point of the extra cash is to use it as a little “congrats on a job well done.” Congratulations, indeed!
I always use this example of an actor who’s in a great state of mind: When an audition is over, Broadway’s Matt Cavenaugh (West Side Story and more) tears up his sides and throws them out. The audition is over and he lets it go. On to the next one!
There will always be another audition waiting for you within days if not hours. Hell, just today alone, 28 breakdowns were posted on Actors Access.com.
Rex Lee, who played the loyal assistant, Lloyd, to smart-ass agent, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) in the HBO series Entourage was quoted in an interview saying, “I was told they didn’t quite know what they wanted until I walked through the door and showed them what they wanted.” That’s all you’ve got to do. You know you can. I know you can.
These were just some ideas on how to end a day of auditions. Only you can know what will work best for you. Perhaps an early evening yoga class? A night at the theatre? A trip to the pet store to play with the puppies? Just do something to put your mind at ease. It’s so important to your well being as an artist, and more importantly, as a human being. The last thing you want to become is the actor who waits by the phone all night while second guessing everything that went on in the audition room. Where’s the fun in that? I can wager pretty high that when you decided to become a performer, thinking you would be spending your nights praying for the phone to ring wasn’t in your agenda. So don’t start know. Stay committed to the ART and to yourself, as the ARTIST and things will begin to happen. Trust the universe and most importantly, trust yourself.
“If you keep your goal in sight, you can climb to any height.” – Stephen Sondheim
What do you do to clear your head after an audition? Comment below!
This post can also be seen on the website THE GREEN ROOM. Check out their great site http://greenroomblog.com/2012/07/27/guest-post-2-by-zachary-on-leaving-your-auditions-at-the-audition/
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