The golden rule for auditions: prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s something that’s been drilled into me for as long as I can remember.
Not just for success in auditions but in many big moments in life. Sometimes though, shit hits you hard when you do all you can to prepare in the time limits that you have and still come up short (and shit).
I had an audition today, a small part in a big movie. 12 consecutive lines full of medical jargon. I have done this before. This should be a breeze. Got the script yesterday around 5pm with the audition today at 12pm. I have been acting and auditioning for 5 years now and have a series of tactics to ensure ‘success’ (success meaning I come out proud of what I created in the room). Get a good night‘s sleep. Practice practice practice till you’re blue in the face. Don’t drink coffee on the day of the audition. Don’t care so much. These days I go into an audition with positive energy and as laisse fair as I can get. I’m not going in to “get the part” but more to make a good impression, demonstrate what I can do with the part. I stuck to those rules and walked through the door into the audition, chuckling to myself after a bit of banter with the casting assistant in the waiting room. Totally chillaxed. In the moment before the camera started rolling, I was talking to the casting director and somehow got caught off guard. Maybe it was the abrupt way we started or the fact that I had no one to direct my lines to except the side of the casting director’s face. I don’t know, but all of a sudden I lost my grasp of the lines and got filled with a crippling nervous tremor (incidentally, my character was prescribing valium for tremors. The irony!). The next 10 minutes were to be a horrifying car crash of retake after retake, my grasp of the lines getting worse and worse. The frustration of the casting director painfully palpable. How had this happened? How did I lose my cool? Who knows. I walked out of that casting miserable. I’ve spent years building up a reputation with casting directors etc. hoping to sow seeds for future opportunities but when I finish an audition bombing like that, reeking of a desperation I didn’t even know I had, it’s a major blow to the confidence, let alone my chances of ever being asked in again.
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
This is the sort of thing I struggle to let go of. It gnaws at me constantly and keeps me up at night. Auditioning can be such fun when it’s going well, and so quickly become a nightmare when it’s not. It’s one thing to do a good audition and not to get the job, there’s no point worrying about that. But bad impressions? They’re the WORST. Then I’ve jeopardised all the future auditions I could’ve got. That’s when it’s hard to let go and move on. What then? So what do we do in the face of these moments? I dunno, live with it? Bask in it? Own it, just so it doesn’t continue to keep me up at night. Sometimes, I guess, you’re gonna be shit regardless of how much you prepare, prepare, prepare. Just hope that shit don’t stick.