We’ve all been there; you’ve prepared like mad for your audition because you really, like REEALLY want the part and you’ve got a lot riding on it. You feel good about it, you turn up early, you get extra focused when you arrive, keep going over the lines to make sure you don’t forget them, keep reminding yourself of the character’s need so you can find the truth, then when you get in in the audition room… It doesn’t happen. NOOOOO. Time seems to be going so slow, you’re in a lather, you’ve froze, you can’t remember the lines, the wooden door seems to have more life in it than you and you feel like ________ (fill in the blank). It couldn’t have gone worse if you’d tried. DO NOT PANIC. I am gong to share with you how to recover from an awful audition after I share my truly horrendous experience (which will hopefully make you feel much better).
The worst audition of my life
That story I just told above didn’t come from my imagination it came from the truth, my personal truth, my first audition out of drama school – for a coop agent – I had a lot riding on it. I prepared like a mad woman. I remember the piece I delivered – a piece from Greek by Stephen Berkoff, one of my favourites. The character is very feisty, like me. Perfect I thought. I even enlisted the help of an amazing actor to make sure I was on point.
I remember on the day of the audition feeling the butterflies in my tummy as the train left the station in Manchester. I was nervous, excited and hopeful. My imagination was having an amazing old time, imagining what it would be like when I sign the contract, when I got my first audition through the agent, my first job – feeling like a “real” actor.
I arrived very early and took on board the advice of my peers at drama school, I went for a coffee and tried not to think about the monologue too much, although as much as I tried to resist I did have a couple of reads of it to make sure I was prepared.
I got to the office, knocked on the door and could feel the butterflies growing. I was guided to a chair outside the room, where I could hear another actor performing. When he left it was all smiles and high energy, I thought “wow he must be good”.
Then it was my turn, I went in the room and there were around 8-10 actors there, who grilled me. Why do I want to be an actor. why do I think I’ve got what it takes to make it. I answered honestly but could see most of the actors had their backs to me and were having their own conversations.
I was asked to share my piece, and I felt awkward when I stood up. The atmosphere in the room wasn’t pleasant and I found the actors engaged in their own conversations rude and arrogant. I shouldn’t have let it affect me but it did. I was wooden, lost my lines, came across like a rabbit in headlights and didn’t land a place on the agency, surprise surprise.
I’m a disaster
I ruminated about it for weeks for making such a ________ (fill in the blank) of myself. I beat myself up, then got angry at the actors for not watching me, then beat myself up, then got angry… “I’ll never work, they’ll tell everyone how terrible I was”. Jeez talk about being in victim mode…
Want to know why I had an awful audition? I let the pressure get to me. I was inside my own head. NOT GOOD.
How to recover from an awful audition
- Let it go, once you’re out of the room it is out of your control. You had a bad audition so what? No-one is perfect. You will still work.
- Don’t play the victim, once you’re in victim mode it is so difficult to get out of. You can’t see or think of anything else when in victim mode, which is not productive for your self-esteem or mental health
- Own it, admit to the mistakes you made without emotional attachment and work out what was the catalyst. Knowing the cause enables you to be aware of the signs at your next audition so you can do something about it.
- Keep applying for roles, the worse thing to do is hideaway. Get back out there as soon as possible. Doing this creates healthy habits within you and stops you freezing.
- Learn from it, cliche I know, but mistakes are the BEST way to learn and grow.
- Take the pressure off yourself, pressure only causes you to become stressed, which blocks your creative impulses and imagination. Pressure causes tension – the “occupational disease of the actor” (Lee Strasberg). The more worked up you get about auditions, the less likely you are to land them, because you take that stressy energy into the room with you.
- Read, I’m a big advocate of self-development. Read a self-development book or a book specifically about the audition process. This will help you move forward.
- Believe in yourself, you WILL get other auditions. You WILL land roles. This one wasn’t right for you. Maybe you weren’t ready for the role, but you can crack this industry.
- Read about others “failures”, this will inspire you. There are so many successful people out there who experienced “failure” before their success came.
- Have fun, enjoy yourself & your life, you only get one.
Did you find this blog useful? Let me know in the comments below. I love to hear from you. Share it with your acting friends if you found it useful, they may too.
To your success!! Don’t give up.
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