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Backstage Experts

2 Powerful Thoughts for Your Next Audition

2 Powerful Thoughts for Your Next Audition

You are in the audition room to share your work, not give away your power. And yet, so many times this is exactly what happens. 

You’re feeling good about the material, you look good, you’re ready to book, you walk into the room and it all goes away. You begin to feel small and separate, all of your preparation disappears and you’re sitting on your own shoulder watching yourself speed through the piece. As much as you wanted to be in this room, all thoughts are now about getting out alive. 

There are so many reasons why this can happen and I’ve written about several of them. But, whatever the manifestation of powerlessness may be, here are two things to remember that will help you take that power back and be the job-getting actor you know you are.

1. No one else is you. The comparing mind can be a very harsh critic. No matter how good you think you are, the comparing mind can always find someone better or more right for the role. 

“Who are you to think you can book this when that person across the waiting room is perfect and works all of the time!” 

Who you are is you. Period.

But, in order for the people in the room to see everything that is special and unique about you, you need to be working in a way that brings the specificity of you to every moment that you’re in the room and to every beat of the piece. Not you trying to be someone that you’re not for fear that who you are is not enough.

You—undefended and raw. 

So many people feel they need to hide parts of themselves in order to be liked or approved of—they’ve separated their personalities into good and bad, positive and negative. No such thing. It’s all just you, and the minute you try to hide something, you diminish yourself and show up small and scared.

It’s true for your work as well. You need to be familiar with the full spectrum of your personality if you’re going to be able to fully dimensionalize the words on the page. Those words are only going to sing with your unique voice and rhythm, and your reactions will only inform us of your specific inner life if you have accepted yourself and have access to all of you.

You, in every sense of the word, are your most valuable asset. And if the comparing mind or any other abusive force tell you otherwise, here’s something fun to try.

Insert your first and last name in the blanks say to yourself:

“___ ____ is ___ ____, and everybody else is not.” 

The simple, stirring truth of this statement will bring you back to yourself and put a smile on your face as you feel power come flooding back.

2. You are the most active force in the room. An audience is stationary and receptive. When an actor is prepared, strong, and connected, he has the power to move that audience anyway he chooses. 

So it is in the audition. The people in the room are the passive presence; you are the active one. They are just sitting there feeling whatever they’re feeling, in whatever mood they’re in. You have the power to make them feel what you want them to feel and to change their mood. With a confident, open presence and a wonderful read, you can actually change the entire environment of the room. 

I have students who actually love a “bad room.” They walk in and see how harried and distracted the energy is and they smile to themselves. They know they’re working at a level that will enable them to turn that room around. 

The condition that the room is in then you enter it has to do with what others did before you were there. The condition it’s in when you exit has to do with what you did in that room. If you leave it in better shape than you found it in, if the people in the room felt like they were in good hands and better for your presence, you will have put yourself on the short list for the job. 

Our business is no different from any other in that we hire people that we like. But we have to see you in order to like you—not just the parts you think we’ll like. In addition, you need to remember that although an audition isn’t a finished performance, you still have the job of the performer: You need to engage, excite, and enliven the person or people who are watching you. You are the only person in an audition who can make it amazing, everyone else in there is just waiting for you to do so. 

Remembering these two empowerments can give you the extra strength and conviction that you need to book the job. Make good use of your power. 

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Craig Wallace is an acting teacher and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Wallace’s full bio! 


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