What? “Tony, I can’t get a job if I don’t audition!”
Yes, you can. In fact, you book jobs when you take the whole paradigm of what an audition is and turn it on its head.
The term “auditioning” stacks you against yourself, telling you that you have something to prove.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Absolutely nothing to prove.
You are already whole and complete regardless of what anyone thinks of your work.
Emmy winner Bryan Cranston says, “You’re not going [to an audition] to get a job, you’re going there to present what you do. You act. And there it is. You walk away. And there’s power in that!”
So your job is to simply create, the way you want to create.
1. The audition isn’t all about you. I know actors think that the audition all boils down to them...but it doesn’t. The actor is one of several moving parts and what you do—or don’t do—in the audition is really not that big a deal. The casting director is not obsessing over the mistakes you think you made. They have a casting problem and they’re hoping you are the answer. But if you’re not, it’s not personal.
2. There will be more auditions. Our lives are ongoing, but we live in a moment as if it’s the only opportunity we’ll ever have. It’s not. You’ll have another chance to audition, and find love, and succeed, and catch the missed bus. You’ll have another chance to book a job and get an agent and be cast in a film. Don’t get so caught up in the minutiae of life when your life is actually a continuum of many, many, many moments.
3. There’s no secret to auditioning. There’s no magic pill, no “correct” way of doing it—no “audition formula.” In fact, the more you try to do it “right,” the more you’re actually doing it wrong. No one cares about you doing it right. They want you to be you. And when you do, they’ll be interested.
4. Tell your true story. A casting director friend of mine said recently, “If an actor comes in and is willing to tell his or her story and they believe it, then we’ll believe it.” You have to be brave enough to do this. The great librettist Oscar Hammerstein said something similar to his protégé Stephen Sondheim once as well: “If you write what you feel, it will come out true. If you write what I feel, it will come out false.” So tell your story through the material and it will be true.
5. You can be the most amazing actor and not get the role. Don’t worry about it so much. You’re not auditioning for a job, you’re auditioning for your career. Wentworth Miller confirms this when he says, “You might look at my CV and see I’ve had 12 jobs, but I’ve been to over 450 auditions, so I’ve heard no a lot more than I’ve heard yes.”
For steps six through 10, be sure to buy my new book, “Book the F#©king Job!” out Friday, Jan. 22!
“Book the F#©king Job! A Guide for Actors” is available for pre-orders on Amazon now! It follows a simple, no-nonsense question and answer format and gives actors answers to their most important questions about modern acting.
Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!
The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.