“What? Well, Tony, I can’t very well get a job if I don’t audition!” you might say.
Yes, you can. In fact, you book jobs when you take the whole paradigm of what an audition is and turn it on its head.
The term “auditioning” stacks you against yourself and becomes an implicit order of you telling yourself that you have something to prove.
You don’t. You deserve to be here—on this planet and in a casting room. You are already whole and complete regardless of what an agent or manager or casting director thinks about your work.
Your job is to tell your story. Not the way you “think” the producers want you to tell it and not the way you “think” you have to do it. Your job is to do it your way. Your job is to create.
An audition is an opportunity. It’s the chance for someone to see how you choose to interpret the material. They’ve never ever seen your way. Ever. So you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right just by being brave enough to go into a room and saying, “This is how I choose to interpret this.”
Let’s face it. For many actors that’s the only opportunity you might have all week to act. If you’re not in a class, on a job, or rehearsing a play, your audition is your two minutes to act. That’s what a four-year college degree and an MFA in acting has gotten you—two minutes to act!
So you better put that degree to some good use and stop analyzing what you think they want. You are what they want, but you don’t think that because you don’t trust doing it your way is potent, powerful, and unlike anyone else’s. So you give up your power in the name of an audition because you’d rather do it “right” or not make a mistake or do it incorrectly or upset someone or get bad feedback or risk.
What ends up happening? In the name of doing something “right,” you do it “wrong!”
Stop trying to figure out what they want. No one knows what they want until they see it. That’s the intangible quality of life itself. It’s energetic. It’s timing. It’s essence. It’s creativity. It’s letting go of control. It’s alchemy.
Why do you book the jobs you have no interest in doing? You know the ones: “Friday The 13th Part 77,” “Leprechaun 3D,” “Godzilla vs. Battleship: The Final Sinking,” etc.
You simply don’t care.
You’re not attached to how you look or what the casting director thinks of you or if you’re making the “right” choices or nailing the part. Instead, you’re playing. You’re engaged moment-to-moment. You’re surrendered in listening and unattached. You’re not focused on the end results or trying to get the job.
Then your agent calls and says you booked it and you’re like, “Nooooooo!”
A student reminded me that agents rarely call it “auditioning.” They call you and say, they have an “appointment” for you or a casting office wants to see you or you have a meeting or you’re going in to read for someone.
It’s only actors that create this idea in their head that it’s about a job.
So stop auditioning and what will happen?
You won’t have to anymore because you’ll be so busy working.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was honored by Backstage three years in a row and named the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. It releases on iTunes and DVD in March of 2014. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and CW KTLA. He has been a guest speaker at the GATE 2013 Story Conference, founded by Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, and David Lynch's Masters in Film Program (Maharishi University of Management).
He is also the author of the best-selling creativity book, At Left Brain Turn Right, which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.
Meindl's 2nd book, Alphabet Soup For Grown-Ups, comes out this November.