Los Angeles; 'Scrubs,' 'Karmen Rider: Knight Dragon'
It's such a horrible feeling! I'm really passionate about my work, and when a performance isn't a screaming success, I want to crawl under a rock and die. Actually, I'm not that dramatic, but I definitely get into a zone. I'll relive the audition and figure out what I did wrong and how I'm going to fix it. If that doesn't help, I usually get a pep talk from a teacher or someone who cares, and they remind me that every actor experiences this. The key is moving forward as quickly as possible.
Elaine del Valle
New York; 'Brownsville Bred,' 'Dora the Explorer'
On recovering from bad auditions: What is a bad audition anyway? For me, the only bad audition is the one you don't have a chance at. The one you feel is for the perfect role for you but you just don't get seen. Just the fact that you've made it through that door means something.
So finally you're in. Setting up a strong character life will help you, even if your lines don't necessarily come out right. Then, whether you think you did great or terrible, let it go. It's out of your hands.
Having had the golden experience of being on the other side of the casting process, I discovered that sometimes, halfway through, the filmmakers make changes—even change a character's ethnicity or gender, or eliminate the role altogether. So you audition for your career and not just for the role. So when something is right for you, your name falls trippingly off their tongues.
I was at a callback during which the producers detected a slight regional accent. Leaving the space, I realized that I would not get the role. However, I was more concerned that the casting director would remember that and choose not to see me for other projects. So the following week, I signed up for an accent-neutralization course, and later I sent a post card to that casting director, so she would understand that I was taking professional steps to expand my range and be a stronger asset for her.
All in all, the best remedy is confidence. As a professional actor for more than a decade, I can honestly say there is a unique artistic confidence when you are immersed in your craft and continue to take steps to grow. Remember, one job does not make a career.
On getting over bad performances: As a performer with my own award-winning one-woman show, I am onstage alone for 75 minutes at a time—the most fabulous minutes of the day. How fortunate I am to hear the immediate audience feedback. The laugh that forces me to wait, unexpected applause in the middle of a scene, the sniffles from caring noses, and the silence that awaits my words at pivotal moments—all gifts that inspire the performance. But sometimes that pause that you've become accustomed to taking is no longer required, because the laughter is not there. So what happened? It was funny yesterday.
And you start to feel that maybe you are not "on." In my case, there is no other actor to turn to, but I can't stop or rewind. So I've learned how to create physical triggers for myself and to latch on to moments and have a strong visualization within my story. After all, a play or film is not just about one line or even one scene. Let that last scene go and move on to the next. Go through that tunnel and find your light.
After the performance, take honest note of where you went wrong. Make that stumbling block something you will stand on at your next performance.
New York; 'Loaded,' 'Heart of the City'
The funny thing about auditions: Sometimes when I think I've totally blown it, that's when I get the callback. The same can be true for a performance. So for me, more than trying to pump myself back up afterward, I try to kill that little judge that sits on my shoulder saying, "Well, that really sucked." The more I just focus on my work and stay in the present, the better everything goes. And on those days when something really gets me down, my wife and I go for dinner and a movie. With perhaps a nice Scotch on the side.