Auditions, they are demanding.
They test you.
They stretch you.
They inconveniently show up when they want to.
They show you what you are made of.
They expose your strengths and weaknesses.
They challenge your psyche.
They help you rise above.
They honestly can Rock. Your. World.
If you are at the stage of your career where you receive auditions you know they usually come at unexpected times. A time that doesn’t always accommodate your schedule.
Ding! You just got the audition notification in your inbox, but…
you need to go make a living in that instant, care for a child or parent, you’re dealing with drama that’s taking place in your life, you’re currently on set shooting until late, you have four other auditions to work on with less than 12 hours to prepare, you need to cook and eat dinner, wrap up your evening, and sleep for hopefully at least 6 hours so you can put your best foot forward.
Sound familiar or a little daunting?
While in the big picture – getting an audition is a good “problem” to have, it’s still one you have to learn to navigate with the rest of your life while keeping your neuroses in check.
The good news we as actors find how to make it all work. And sometimes we get a win and book it and sometimes we don’t. And sometimes even if we try as we might, we end up eating dirt. You know those times omg When You Bomb an Audition.
Yep, it happens to the best of us and I’m about to share with you how my story went down, how I picked myself back up, dust myself off and got back in the game again.
It went a little something like this…
I got an unexpected inbox notification around 4pm for an audition. At the time, I was on a conference call – luckily the host was running way behind so I chose to get off the call early knowing I had necessary errands to run still, needed to cook dinner and eat, say hi and check in with my husband and his day because it’s not all about me, and prepare for my audition at 11:15am the next morning.
I’ll mention that the audition had some weight to it – it was a pilot audition, a recurring role, playing the wife of one of the leads. You know, not an audition I get every day where I’m at in my career.
More tidbits…the audition was 10 pgs of copy that was full of a perfectly layered character that was seemingly a good match for me.
Some more texture to add to my story…I guess I should mention, I was struggling with my sinuses, argh. Anyone who has had a sinus infection knows how they will zap your energy and you feel like you can’t do much, but go through the motions.
For a full picture…I was already feeling a bit burnt out on life events and from a nice spurt of pilot auditions in the weeks prior. So my psyche had all those elements running through my head. It adds up for all of us, right?
Finally, the time came around 8pm that evening when I could sit down with my sides, create a world around them, get the lines down and rehearse with my husband.
Later that night, hubs went to bed. Me, I stayed up till 1am to make sure I was prepared as much as I could be. For it’s completely on us if we show up to an audition without being prepared.
It was the morning of game day. I woke up in a positive mood, feeling good about what I had prepared – set it and let it go so I could stay open and play in the room, allowing the story to unfold(how you get booked) vs. my “work” taking the lead. But in all honesty too, I was not fully rested and my sinuses were in full effect, yay.
“It’s all good,” I thought as I’ve pushed past not being fully rested nor feeling my best for other auditions and while on set before and still felt good about my work. As that’s the life of a performer, that will happen at times so stay open to that and do your best.
Honestly, in the waiting room, I know how to settle and where to put my focus and attention to ground myself so I can get booked as I’ve done it many times before. But that day…I never quite got there.
Though that day – I chose to just support myself with where I was at(not fully rested nor feeling good from sinuses) with the hope to give it my best shot in spite of when the door opened for my turn to shine.
Well, I’ll just say, that first read I could feel my “work” vs. me living the story. So I was happy that the casting director gave me direction and another go at it.
I loved this casting director’s pro-actor attitude. She was like a coach, teammate, and fan rooting for you all at the same time. So I wanted to deliver back in the way that she deserved. However, in that second read, as I could hear her direction – I could feel I was in the room, I knew intellectually where I should be character-wise, and with every word, I wanted to give the performance I prepared for, but it was out of reach – I remember wondering during the read thinking, “where did all my prep go?”
I could feel that my body was not allowing much to come out regardless of how much my mind wanted me to while just barely getting through the motions. It felt like I was like an athlete going down in slow motion during a game that they kept playing back for me to painfully watch over again.
Ooooh, and the hit later of experiencing the casting director thank me for coming in, while she could barely look at me opening the door for me to exit, staying respectful and polite.
How do you pick yourself back up from that?
Navigate Your Mindset:
As I left, I could have gone down spiraling. I felt the beginning of doing just that, but instead, I chose to get my back as I had no desire at that moment to beat myself up, get all emotional about it, nor be in a place of misery.
For me what worked was the analogy of an injured athlete who too sometimes has a bad game. I thought of Cam Newton and how all season last year he played with an injured shoulder and how it affected the outcome of his performance and the game, many of them.
Not a fan of the Carolina Panthers, pick another team, any injured Pro athlete, Olympian, or a famous singer who has had to cancel a concert like Shakira who could not bring their best due to personal or medical reasons.
I too was not at the top of my health game.
So I chose to support myself vs. go up against myself. Man, this business is tough on us as it is. It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves – mentally and physically during the good and the bad.
Lean on Your Support Team
I called my husband once I gathered my thoughts and feelings around it to let him know I took a big fat “L”, how I felt about it, and how I chose to look at it.
Who are the peeps in your corner that you know you can lean on during those times? Don’t go through it alone.
Feel What You Feel
For the rest of that day and evening, I was in a good mood and proud of how I handled it. Ironically though, later that night we watched a Netflix film, enjoyed it and low and behold the credits come up and that same casting director – cast the film and following her name read Netflix films.
Getting cast in a Netflix film is one of my goals so when I saw that, I had to deal with the hurt and disappointment all in my face again! This time I allowed myself to fully feel all that I was thinking and feeling.
Following that, I came to what is also the truth.
I told myself there were other casting directors who cast for Netflix and I would earn my way back into her room as I’ve done with other CDs where I didn’t shine so much the first time either.
So feel what you feel and then see a clearer perspective.
Get Back Up Again
I had let that experience go as I’ve learned not to brood for days over a bad audition. It only wrecks you from the inside and effects your outer world.
And since then within the same week, as I write this…I just got a callback for a theatrical audition and it felt great. Let your failed experiences go, stay open to receive your next audition and try it again.
I leave you with this my Actor Friends…
Life moves on, it’s not the end of the world, and in the end, if you keep going you will prevail and so will your career.
IF you are accepting of the business and how it can go and you’re working on yourself as a person, you realize that failure helps you love the game all over again because you overcome it – triumph to later meet the bookings that are truly meant for you.
P.S. Need help with your mindset game to help uplevel your career? Book a one-on-one Flow Coaching with me and let’s up your game.