Ah, auditions. They’re terrifying, exciting, crippling, freeing, exhausting. Some actors love them, some hate them. But one thing cannot be denied: auditions are necessary. Without auditions, we can’t book the role. And whether that role involves a year-long contract on a Broadway show, or an Off-Off-Broadway play written by your college roommate’s cousin, it’s a role, and a paycheck.
I had my first real audition in New York this morning, and it was exhilarating! I have had two experiences before today in which I thought I was going to an audition, and it turned out to be a dead end. (One I wasn’t even able to find, and the other was canceled.) So to show up to an audition, prepared, and have it turn out to actually BE something, was exciting, to say the least.
A lot of actors (myself included) get very nervous before auditions, which is understandable. You’re going into a room of (usually) strangers, and asking them to like you enough to want to hire you. You’ve likely been in a holding room for at least an hour, depending on when you arrive, and you’ve been comparing yourself to literally every single person who walks through the door. You know that you’re talented, but you don’t know if the other actors are more or less talented, or closer to what the director is looking for, or if you’ll remember the words to your monologue, or the melody of the song you’re going to sing…. the list goes on. I don’t know…maybe we watched too much American Idol in our formative years?
But take a deep breath and hear me: there is good news! Are you ready for it? …. The good news is that the casting team, typically, is rooting for you. Typically, they WANT to have a stellar cast, and so they WANT each person who auditions for them to be GREAT. In fact, they expect it! I have been on both sides of that casting table, so I know from experience how fun and exciting it is to see talented humans come in and out of the audition room, and simply be entertained all evening. Unfortunately, all too often, we as actors think of all the negative “what ifs” that pass through our thoughts, and actually give them weight and meaning, as though the “what ifs” truly have an affect on our audition!
The truth is that we can only control what WE do, and what decisions WE make; we cannot and should not control anything our fellow actors or the casting team does. What we can do is read the audition notice to get any and all information possible about the show, the production team, and what they’re expecting to see at auditions. Then use that information to prepare, and go in to the audition, give it all we’ve got, and then let it go. Worrying about whether you missed a note, or dropped a line, or that the girl who went in before you gave a stellar audition, is only going to drive you crazy.
It’s important for us to remember that as long as we go to the audition with our material prepared and a good attitude, and perform our monologue or song to the very best of our ability, and thank the casting team, we have literally done everything we possibly could. Did I sing my song absolutely perfectly this morning? No. I could hear my own nerves in my voice. But I kept going, and I did the very best I could. And now, whether I get a callback or not, I have officially given my first real audition in New York City. One (giant) hurdle down, and now the others will come easier. I’m not going to obsess and stress myself out over whether or not this team will cast me. If they do — HOORAY! I GOT A JOB! But if not? It’s simply because I wasn’t right for the show, and I can be available for the next show that comes along.
I have three more auditions on my schedule this week – 1 on Thursday, and 2 on Friday. I will go into each of them fully prepared, and fully confident, and I will leave them knowing that I did the very best I could. That’s all I can expect of myself. And fellow actors – heck, fellow humans! – that’s all you should expect of yourself. Do the very best you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t control.