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Secret Agent Man

How To Survive The Aftermath of Your Audition

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How To Survive The Aftermath of Your Audition
Photo Source: Steve Weigl

Auditions are stressful.

From the moment you wake up, you can feel the pressure starting to build. Is this the one that might change your life? Are you as prepared as you can possibly be? Do you even know where you’re going?

It only gets worse when you arrive at the casting director’s office. Do you have the correct sides? Are you right for this part? Will your agent drop you if you don’t book the job?

And then the audition begins. It’s over in a flash. The casting director smiles. Is she mocking you? Did you mess up a line? Is your career over?

There are countless books and classes that address the act of auditioning, so I won’t bore you with my take on it. Instead, I want to help you understand what should and shouldn’t happen after an audition.

First, you need to take a moment. It’s impossible to process what just happened because you’re still raw. Auditions force you to expose yourself. So breathe deeply and get out of the casting office. Make sure you don’t walk into any walls.

Once you’re outside, please give yourself credit for going to the audition. That’s a major accomplishment right there. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

I want you to list all the things you did right. When you first walked in, did you connect with the assistant? Did the casting director laugh when you cracked that joke? Were you able to walk in and out without falling on your face? 

What about the actual read? I’m sure several things went well. Did you nail the beats on a tricky line? Were you able to pronounce that medical jargon correctly? Did an actual tear roll down your cheek during an emotional moment? Congratulations!

Now I want you to go sit somewhere—your car, a park bench, the closest café—and take a few minutes to consider the things that didn’t go well. Maybe you stumbled over a few words or messed up the timing on a joke. Just give the devil his due. Those moments demand attention, and if you ignore them, they’ll come back to haunt you when you’re trying to sleep.

Ask yourself this: Did you learn anything from all those alleged mistakes you made? Try to find the positive in every negative. That’s how you get better. And now…let it go! I’m serious. Just move on. Go celebrate everything that went right. Reward yourself. Get an extra large ice-blended mocha. Have a great meal. Watch your favorite movie. I don’t care what you do. Just be kind to yourself. You earned it.

Remember, you had the courage to try. That’s more than most people. So pat yourself on the back, and don’t forget there are circumstances you just can’t control. No amount of talent will get you the part if they want someone younger, older, taller, shorter, lighter, darker, or God knows what.

You should also remember that auditions aren’t always about booking. They’re opportunities to create relationships. If a casting director brings you in more than once, I would say you’re halfway home.

An acting career is a strange duck. You spend more time looking for work than actually doing the work. I don’t think that’s true in any other business. So if you want to succeed, learn how to enjoy the process and, even better, how to use those crucial moments after your audition wisely.

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