No flakey New-Age voodoo here. Just five powerful affirmations about you and your craft that most actors choose to forget. So remind yourself on the day of the audition and on every other day.
1. You are unique to the universe. You carry with you a collection of experiences that no other creature in the universe carries. This is huge. This means that if you choose to bring your emotional truth to the audition, you will be profoundly different from everyone else in the waiting room—and the universe! Even if every other actor is also sad about the circumstances of the scene, your sadness will be unique. And it is being unique that books you the job. So show them you!
2. You have the power to change the room. Virtually every human walking the earth seeks emotional connection, and when they get it, they will invest in and fight for the person that's given it to them. You have the power to walk into an audition room full of grizzled, bitter network executives with the thickest of calloused exoskeletons from years of industry wear, and give them a human experience that moves them to vulnerability. By offering your emotional truth within a scene, you give them what they need on a very basic, human level. They need it like they need air, and you have the power to give it to them. So do it!
3. Feelings aren't forever. One of the main principles of Zen Buddhism is that if you face your feelings head on—in quiet meditation without anything to protect your heart—your feelings will eventually move and become lighter. Feelings are transient. For most people, no matter what feeling comes up—even the most intense feelings of anxiety, nerves, sadness or anger due to the audition itself, not getting chosen, being dropped by your agent, etc.—those feelings will move and become more manageable if dealt with and expressed. The earth won't shatter. You will still be whole. So go on and feel it all! Express it all! Walk into that audition room with the freedom of knowing that anything you feel before, during, or after the audition won't stay forever.
4. Your acting is important. In the often vain pursuit of booking that angsty teen drama or guest starring arc on one of the many crime shows, it's easy to forget that acting is important. You are part of an ancient tradition of artists whose duty it has always been to provoke feeling, mirror the soul of a community, ease the hearts of the emotionally hurt, and define a culture. From the dawn of humanity, the actors presenting evocative and educational narratives changed and defined how a community thought and felt. You were profoundly moved by a performance somewhere along the line. You know what that feels like and how that changes you. And right now, there's a little girl or an old man or a brilliant casting director in some town somewhere in Wilmington or Islamabad or Pretoria or Burbank who desperately needs to see you offer your emotional truth so that they feel less lonely about theirs so that they are reminded of their humanity. No matter what the project is, this matters.
5. This is the most fun anyone can legally have. Let's break this down. You get to walk into rooms all over town, yell, fall in love, get super sad, curse, flirt, be an absolute jerk, share your heart, etc., and then go home, drive to a 99-seat theater, dress up, put on make-up, walk out on stage in front of a bunch of people, yell, fall in love again, make those people feel a lot of things, go home, wake up the next morning, and do it all over again. And then one day, someone invites you to come to a big studio in the valley to dress up, put make-up on, yell, fall in love, etc. in front of a camera. Is it all champagne and red carpets? No. But it's just about the most fun anyone could ever have at a job.
Risa Bramon Garcia (casting director, director, producer, and teacher) and Steve Braun (actor, coach, and teacher) are partnered in a studio for actors, The Bramon Garcia Braun Studio, dedicated to actors’ whole journey. New career changing classes and summer workshops are happening now! Fall classes are on the schedule. Career and audition coaching and taping are in full swing. For more go to www.bramongarciabraun.com.