Why Do We Sabotage Ourselves in the Audition Room?

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You walk in the room. You slate your name. You read for the part. You go home. You overthink what just happened on the way. You stop at Trader Joe’s for something healthy and you walk out with ice cream and whiskey. Been there, done that?

Or how about this: you grind away, submitting yourself or nagging your reps, and finally get that sought-after audition. And then, the dread sets in. You’re not right for it. You have no idea what you’re doing. Everyone in the room will recognize you’re a total fraud. Sound familiar?

What is happening when that preaudition gloom sets in? Fear. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being enough. When we allow this fear to set in, we've already taken ourselves out of the equation. We mentally place ourselves back in middle school as the worst kid at dodgeball—last one picked and first one out.

Because our own self-dialogue doesn't believe we are powerful, capable, or as amazing as everyone else out there that we admire, we succumb to the thoughts that make us forget our magnificence. And we give credit to “the greats,” thinking, (incorrectly) that we lack the sort of special-ness that everyone else on every billboard you see seems to exude.

You're a human being. You are the product of 4.6 billion years of existence. You are here now. You are a miracle. No audition is bigger than your innate humanity. And no job is out of your reach. Ever.

READ: “How to Become a Great Actor”

Yet we have a default voice, a saboteur, in our head that kicks in. We tell ourselves, “Why bother? I've gone on a hundred auditions and I've never gotten any of them, they won't like me, whatever.” This habit of thought does not allow us to be fully seen. And maybe it becomes its own self-fulfilling prophecy as we begin to expect that the bad things happening to us in our heads must come true. If they do, then it further enforces the incorrect thought to begin with: “See! I am a loser! I can’t book one friggin’ job!”

You can be glorious. You have to know that. When you start to live in the place of, "I don't care what they think, I'm just here to have an experience," they're going to start to see your gloriousness. Or maybe it’s not even that. Maybe it’s simply—and finally—giving zero “f**ks” and finally doing it for yourself. Not for someone to like you or accept you or prove to your parents that not going to med school was a smart choice, even though they’ve been asking you for years, “When are you going to get a real job?” Maybe you finally do what you know you can do. Have the experience you choose to have simply because you are an artist and want to create.

Why keep giving yourself your second best? Why keep casting everyone else but yourself in the role? Why keep seeing yourself merely as a “featured player” when you have just as much right to claim your space and show up in the world in all your bad-ass glory as a super-star and realize… you deserve more.

Because you do. Remember that the next time you go in and audition and maybe you’ll stop worrying and start booking, one friggin’ job at a time!

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.

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Anthony Meindl
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer-director-producer, creativity expert, inspirational speaker, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, Sydney, and Vancouver.
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