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Backstage Experts

Why and How To Keep an Audition Notebook

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Why and How To Keep an Audition Notebook

A winning audition requires you to be great at a number of jobs. It’s like making a movie, and you’re the entire cast and crew. You need to be a good actor, obviously. You also need to be a wise and insightful director during your preparation and a charming, charismatic producer in the room. Oh, and one more thing, you’re going to need to be your own best friend when the whole thing is over.

This last step of friendship and taking care of yourself is many times the most important; it’s what enables you to learn from and then let go of the audition. Too often I will hear students obsessively rehashing auditions they had weeks and sometimes months ago, all because they didn’t take the time to sit down right after their audition and go over their experience. They didn’t take a moment to pat themselves on the back or lick their wounds. They missed the chance to learn their lessons while they were still fresh, and now they’re living with the consequences. They’re stuck wondering why they didn’t get the job; trying to remember the exact tone of the “thank you” from the casting director; and generally spinning webs of neurotic scenarios that usually have nothing to do with what actually happened.

Over time this can get really toxic because without closure, on many levels the audition is still happening and it’s getting bigger and bigger. This one little audition is now taking on a disproportionate significance and carrying an emotional weight that can wreak havoc on the actor’s psyche, their confidence, and, you guessed it, their next audition.

Here’s a very simple suggestion for how take good care of yourself after an audition: Keep a notebook just for your auditions. Have it with you at the audition, and when it’s over, find a quiet place to reflect on and examine the experience you just had. Do this right away, while you are still in the mental space of the audition. It’s also important to be specific, so write down everything: how you felt in the waiting room; how you entered the room; your opening beat; how you listened; your commitment to choice; your closing beat; how you handled adjustments; and finally how you exited the room.

Be honest about what went well and why, and what could have gone better and why. Be firm, gentle, and complimentary as needed. Treat yourself as you would a best friend, remembering that no one has ever improved through self-punishment. When you’re done, close the book. That audition is finished, and you’ve taken the time to learn the lessons it had to teach you. Now, you can let it go. Open the notebook up again when you have your next audition. Use the lessons from your past experiences to guide you in your preparation

After just a few entries, you’ll start to see patterns, both positive and negative, and you’ll be able to prepare for different rooms and different projects with greater specificity and clarity.

By writing and then closing the book on each audition as it happens, you make it easier to let go and move forward with ease and ever growing confidence. You're free to write the next chapter of your career, unencumbered by emotional baggage and rich in learned experience.

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.

You can follow Craig on Twitter @craigteach  and like him on Facebook.

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