Most actors have experienced a “bad” audition in one way or another. Let’s face it, you’re a flesh-and-blood human being, and some days are going to be easier than others. It’s what you do the majority of the time that matters, not the occasional misstep. That being said, I know that it’s frustrating – even painful – to feel that you tanked an audition. In the moment, you are disappointed with yourself, but it’s not that moment that you should be concerned with. What did you learn from this experience that you can carry with you to the next audition? That’s what matters. I believe that everything that happens within our day is presented to us as a lesson. This is why I put quotation marks around the word “bad." There is no good or bad – only lessons. Think about what you can improve on from this day forward. Did you spend enough time memorizing your sides? Were your choices as strong and organic as they could have been? Were you thrown by an adjustment that was given to you? These are all common ways that an audition can go awry, and it’s extremely important to comprehend what happened and learn from these incidents.
Then there are those times when you think you did a great job, but your agent tells you that he/she got bad feedback from the casting director. What??! Yes. This could be a case where your idea of “preparation” and the casting director’s are totally different. Many actors have no idea how finished and polished we expect an on-camera reading to be. Perhaps you’re used to auditioning for theater and mistakenly think that you can read the dialogue off the page in an on-camera audition too. Whatever the criticism, try to listen with a constructive ear and not a defensive ego.
Look, if you truly stand by what you did and just believe that the casting director didn’t give you a fair shake - they were eating a sandwich and hardly looked at you, they didn’t communicate what he/she wanted in the adjustment, etc. - then you simply have to be philosophical about it and move on. Learning how to gracefully navigate what you perceive to be rude or insensitive behavior is an invaluable tool. Even if that casting director never wants to see you again – OK, so your destiny doesn’t lie with that person. Understand that it only takes ONE casting director that believes in you to get your career to the next level. Once you get there, the person that dismissed you before may very well declare themselves to be your biggest fan...
So don’t freak out. Put it in perspective. Understand the lesson. And go on with your day!
Marci Phillips is the Executive Director of ABC Casting. The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to Marci Phillips and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of ABC, Disney or any of its subsidiaries. Marci is the author of “The Present Actor – A Practical and Spiritual Guideline to Help You Enjoy the Ride” available on Amazon.com.