A great audition requires you to be in complete command of yourself, your work, and the room. Accepting everything as it is in the present moment is key to having this kind of command.
Keep in mind that acceptance is non judgmental. You may not love the piece, the people in the room, or even yourself, but pure acceptance of all of those things is necessary for you to be entirely present and operating at full power from beginning to end.
Here’s a look at four things you need to accept during the audition process.
1. Yourself. Non-judgmental acceptance of every part of yourself is a cornerstone to great acting and great auditioning. The actor who has the most colors in his palette paints the brightest picture. If you deem certain qualities of yourself as good or bad, you’re most likely going to try to hide the “bad” ones. In fact, the judgments of good and bad have no place in the creative process. You’re a human being. That’s all. Not good or bad—just human. You have a wide variety of qualities. You’re auditioning to play another human being who should also have a wide range of qualities. If you reject certain qualities in yourself, you’re denying the character those parts of your life. And what you have deemed “bad” in you may be exactly where you need to bring that character to life. You need access to all four corners of your personality in order to be the exciting, expansive actor who books the role. Don’t run from certain parts of yourself. Lean in to all of yourself, and give them a look at everything you have to offer.
2. The Piece. Many times I’ll hear actors say that if only their audition material was better, then they would be great! Well, this is film/TV—not Shakespeare—so you need to get over that and accept the material as it is. The words are the vehicle, but you’re driving the car, and if you have a deep and creative way of working, you will be the one who brings those words to life in the most dynamic and compellingly personal way. Wishing that the words were better written is rejecting them for what they are. When you focus on the limitations you see more limitations. But when you accept the piece for what is, you can begin to see the opportunities to expand it and make it great.
3. The Room. The actor who gets the job is the actor who is comfortable and in control—no matter what type of the environment. In other words, great actors don’t need great rooms in order to be great. Accept the room just as it is. Look at the people, feel the vibe, and say to yourself, “OK, this is my stage today, and it’s just fine.” This attitude of acceptance opens you up and helps you become part of the room. Judgment separates you from the room. You see the room as enemy territory, something to be conquered. This “me against them” mentality creates a defensive tension that will drain the life from both you and your work. Sitting in the waiting room looking at the door to the audition room, you realize you have no idea what’s going on in there. But know this: Acceptance is powerful. When you walk into that room and accept everything that’s going on, you gain immediate control of the audition. You need nothing to be different, and you can proceed with authority and confidence knowing that the room is now a better place because you’re in it.
4. The Result. This last step can often be the hardest to accept! However, if you don’t book the job and you can’t find out why, acceptance is really your best choice. You could get angry and resentful, but that won’t contribute much to the greater good. When the audition is over, go over it step by step. Be honest about what worked and what didn’t. Write it all down so that it’s there for you to learn from for the next time. Then put it away and move on. Don’t beat yourself up if you did something wrong. Acceptance is key to change—you have to accept the problem in order to fix it. If you just yell and scream at yourself for screwing up you are resisting the problem and resistance keeps you stuck and unable to move forward. It’s really not possible to hate yourself into improvement so accept the result and know it happened the way it should have for the greater good of your entire career.
When you accept yourself as who you are, you gain access to all that you are. When you accept the material for what it is, it opens up to you and presents possibilities. When you accept the circumstances of the room just as they are, you can lean into the room and be a part of it. And when you accept the results for what they are, you can have some peace, and if need be, you can go about improving yourself in a clear and kind way.
Accept everything and grow from there.
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of The Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent and casting consultant. In his 14 years of teaching, he has seen the careers of hundreds of his students take off. He is also the author of the best-selling book, “The Best of You – Winning Auditions Your Way.”
Craig is currently teaching his audition technique classes and his Meditation for Actors classes in Santa Monica, CA. For more information visit www.wallaceauditiontechnique.com.