Subscribe now to and start applying to auditions!

Backstage Experts

5 Reasons You Didn’t Book That Last Audition

5 Reasons You Didn’t Book That Last Audition

You practiced, practiced, practiced…but still, no Carnegie Hall. So, what happened? 

Here are five reasons you probably didn’t book that last audition.

1. Your audition lacked the use of “Yes…and!Doing “everything they asked for” at the audition and nothing more is not what scores you the job.

Improvisation is vital to everything you do as an actor and voice talent, and that’s due greatly to this concept known as “Yes… and!”

In other words: Agree with the reality posed in the script, and add to it.

The “and” in every performance equation is you! Thus, “yes…and!” Ignoring or denying this crucial step is as fruitless as attempting to ignore the elephant in the room. Yes, agree with the premise or direction or what have you, but to stop there is to stop offering any real point of view. And your point of view is critical to your performance regardless of the medium, so bring it! 

2. No risk means no reward. It takes confidence to risk. In fact, without risk there really is no success at all. Therefore, it stands to reason, to succeed at anything you must risk…a lot. There’s nothing safe in “playing it safe.”

Think about it, the last job you landed you booked because you did something that challenged your comfort zone. You went further than you thought you would and you even surprised yourself. That’s precisely what’s required of you on every session, on every take, on every audition. 

3. You treated your audition differently than you’d treat the performance. Some actors are remarkable once they book the job, but repel the audition process. The problem is that your best performances—in fact your entire career—will die on the vine if you don’t get past this conundrum.

Keep in mind: You become the effect of that which you resist. If you buck up and embrace it, and master making your auditions seamless with your final performance (or certainly just as powerful), then you’re sure to enjoy a long, fulfilling career.

4. Your audition wasn’t on-brand. Is your audition great but for a completely different reality than the production for which you’re auditioning? For instance, are you offering a performance better suited to an episode of “NCIS” rather than “Modern Family”?

It’s your job to understand the style and premise of the production. So, do your homework. You may (or may not) be offering a performance consistent with the “world” in which your character exists. Chances are you’ll land work that seems familiar to you—something you know something about and you embrace with it still being a stretch. It’s already in your wheelhouse, so to speak.

5. The best audition doesn’t necessarily book the job. You may have felt great about that last audition. You wouldn’t have changed a thing. You were on fire! Yet…no cigar. This is incredible. 

Before you resort into your crestfallen cave of self-pity, know this: Your goal as an actor is to offer the greatest possible finished performance with every audition. And they can either hire you or their production will flounder without you. It’s very simple, really.

Take pride in the fact you offered your very best and you’re committed to continuing to do the same because you’re in it for the long haul.

It’s very likely those present may have wanted you as well, but it’s art by committee. Your best efforts probably did not go unnoticed. If they don’t hire you for this production, take solace in the fact that you made fans in the room (with the casting directors, producers, the director, and writers) who will likely remember you for future opportunities, provided you continue to show up on their radar. Auditions are your most important form of promotion, not just your only form of promotion. All the more reason you must keep going. Tenacity is imperative to succeeding at anything, but most especially your acting career.

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

Kate McClanaghan is a casting director, producer, founder of Big House Casting & Audio and Actors’ Sound Advice, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out McClanaghan’s full bio


What did you think of this story?
Leave a Facebook Comment: