04 Feb The Beauty of the Audition
I hear so many actors confess that they don’t like auditioning. Auditions take up time. You often feel like you are showing up just to be looked at (don’t we have headshots for that?). What’s even worse is when you get really attached to a character or project, only to find out you didn’t book the gig, or you never hear back at all.
That seems to be the most difficult thing for people to deal with: the rejection. My mother has told me on numerous occasions that she could not do what I do– constantly searching and ‘applying’ for new jobs, getting turned down more often than not, all of that judgment and rejection. But honestly, I don’t usually look at it that way.
Auditions are one of my favorite things in the world. They are an opportunity to play, to explore and throw myself into a new character. For that week, day, or five minutes, I get to act. A new character. A new set of possibilities. The more preparation and play I put into an audition, the more fun I have. It is one of the most exciting experiences and one of my favorite parts of being an actress.
The tricky part is that I have to really invest in the role I’m preparing for. Even though nine times out of ten I won’t book the role – I may not even get called back- it is essential to give it my all. I have to really care about the character or project. And once I leave the audition room, I need to allow all that enthusiasm and preparation dissolve into working on the next audition.
And that is the catch, I believe — putting everything I’ve got into the preparation and execution of an audition, and then letting go once I walk out of the room.
That’s not to say that there’s something wrong with getting upset about not booking a role. It can be quite frustrating, and that is a beautifully human reaction. But I’ve found it essential to practice the art of letting go. It is the only way to armor myself against the disappointments and frequent “no”s. I was listening to a actress Riki Lindhome’s podcast “Making It” in which she interviewed actor Rich Sommer (Mad Men, The Devil Wears Prada). Rich talked about allowing himself to get truly upset about three projects a year — the three projects he really wanted but for whatever reason didn’t book. He gives himself the freedom to mourn the loss of those opportunities, but makes a conscious effort to let the other ones go more easily.
This idea really resonated with me as soon as I heard it, because the truth is I won’t be right for many of the auditions I go out for. And I will be right for some gigs I don’t book. But if I can remember that character work and play are the reasons I love acting in the first place, I think I will be able to fully give myself to an audition and then let the disappointments go.