Ah the agony! Is it yes, is it no, what did they think of me, did my agent get any feedback? Should I call? I don't understand what happened, it was perfect in my living room at home! Why was the casting director so silent? Why did they look at me like I was an alien? I worked so hard for this and it was over in 20 seconds! Ahhh!
A person could drive themselves nuts thinking about all of these things. When you invest so heavily into a character and give it your everything, letting go can be challenging. I hear it from actors all the time, and I've dealt with it myself as an actor. But here's the bottom line: the Monday morning quarterbacking that goes on in your head after the audition has the potential to either (1) ignite you into being a better actor or (2) make you miserable and want to quit. It's really that simple. The audition is just an audition. How you choose to deal with it afterward is completely up to you.
Here are a 4 important principles to help you leave it in the room.
1. Understand that the audition is not meant to be fair. Just like shopping for the perfect pair of shoes, casting is a subjective process with the results based on the buyer's taste, budget, what's hot now, and a million other factors. These are factors you can't control, so allowing yourself to obsess over the result of your audition or why you didn't book it is really a waste of time. You could literally be the best performance of the day and still not book the job. Working in casting I saw it happen time and again.
2. Focus on your work, not the results. You can't control the outcome, but you can control how well you do. With each audition, make the decision that the outcome has no bearing on your level of commitment or preparation. Each audition is an opportunity to bring a character to life. Your work is your work, period. Only you can give it up. When you are more focused on your work than you are concerned with the outcome, not only will your work be stronger but you will also experience a higher sense of freedom and ownership, and that is very attractive in the room.
3. Apply constructive analysis and allow only 20 minutes of personal drama. When football teams "review tape" after a game, it's for the purpose of analyzing their plays in order to prepare more strategically for the next game. It's important to know what worked, what didn't work. Constructive analysis is healthy, but beating oneself up isn't. But ok sometimes you just need to vent. So if an audition didn't go the way you planned, allow yourself 20 minutes to get it off your chest. Hit a pillow, scream in the car (not while driving of course), whine about it, cry or curse if you need to...but ONLY for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes is up, it's time to get back on track and consider what worked, what didn't work and use it as strategy and fuel for the next audition.
4. Integrity is key. If you want to leave it in the room, you must bring it fully into the room. In other words, you don't drop the ball with your preparation. You do everything you can possibly do to be as strong as you can possibly be in the role. Each actor knows their own level of preparedness. If you procrastinate, don't really learn your lines, prepare only 80% (you know what I'm talking about), it will be extremely hard if not impossible to leave it in the room.
Successful auditioning isn't just about what happens in the room itself. It's also about what happens in the mind and spirit of the actor outside the room. Whatever inner dialogue you have with yourself after your last audition will show up at your next audition, guaranteed. So make sure you are thinking like a champion. Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas was quoted as saying, "Hard days are the best. Because that's when champions are made." Every time you fall down is an opportunity to rise up. To win the game, you gotta be strategic, constructive, disciplined, and always be working towards the next move.
© 2012. Christinna Chauncey. All Rights Reserved.