One of the things that casting often finds hard to understand is that as many times as actors say that they want/need more auditions, when they have one, it looks like the last place on earth they want to be!
Many actors look at their time in the room as an experience to be survived. I get asked all the time: “How do I deliver my work and not fall apart?” “How do I manage my nerves?” and so on.
Those aren’t bad questions, but it must be understood that it’s not just about staying upright and managing. There is something clearly defensive about just wanting to get out of the room alive, and in the audition process, there is no room for defense. You have to be on the offensive every moment that you’re in the room.
Along with your work being unique and dynamic, you yourself need to be excited, energetic, and enthusiastic. After all, our business is like any other in that we hire people we like.
Her are three thoughts on how you can have the winning energy of the working actor.
Belief in Your Work
True exhilaration is not something that you can fake, or an act you can put on. The rooms are too small and they’re looking too closely. Lies don’t fly.
It comes largely from the commitment that you have to your work.
Ask yourself this: When you’ve finished preparing an audition piece, do you usually feel completely optimistic, partially optimistic, anxious about it going well, or really nervous about it going badly? The correct answer is none of the above.
While optimism is a good thing, it’s not nearly enough. It doesn’t carry the dynamic energy you need to feel like you can’t wait to get into that room and let the people see how amazing your work is and how fun and invigorating it is to be around you.
The Need to Share
One of the qualities that separates actors from people in other professions is their need to be witnessed. It’s not enough for the actor to simply create great art, others must see it in order for the actor to complete his job and attain artistic satisfaction. Having your work seen provides a wonderful feeling of excitement, and it should be no different in the audition room.
In the room, you need to be motivated by the passionate desire to share the exciting discoveries you’ve made about the material and yourself in the material. If you do this, you’ll be operating at the high-powered level of energy that people want to be around and want to work with.
This is a high standard to hold your preparation to, but anything less usually doesn’t book the job. You can’t express passionate belief in work that you just feel OK about.
Living as an Artist
So, yes, how you show up in the room is heavily reliant on your belief in your work, but it goes further that. It involves your life as an artist.
If the only time you ask yourself, “What are the intentions that motivate me, the relationships that involve me, and the qualities that speak to the dynamic aspects of my being?” is when you have an audition, you’re in trouble. To live as an actor means to look at all of the events and people of your life through the lens of an artist, to feel the feelings of all of your experience in your body, mind, and heart, and to be constantly aware of how you are affected by all of your life.
If you are truly living an artistically aware life, you’ll find that the exciting, job-getting qualities you need to book the role are right there in your body and heart ready to be used. These qualities also carry with them the high energy that is necessary to win the room. The strength of your connection to these most compelling qualities will provide you with the motivation to want to lean into the room and show the people what’s so special about you.
Once again we find that no part of the audition process can be cheated and there are no shortcuts. If you want to book, you need to do the work that allows you to show up in the room as the creative, honest, exhilarating professional who can’t be denied.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.