3 Ways to ‘Let It Be’ in the Audition Room

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The phrase “let it go” is a popular one in acting and auditioning. I used to use it myself. But I found that sometimes it could be confusing. “Let what go?” “And to what degree?”

“What do I keep and what do I let go?” So, I changed the expression for my students to “let it be.” I’ve also seen these three words thrown around as a sort of feel good catchphrase. But for me, they have a very substantive meaning.

Here are three ways that “letting it be” can help you get the job.

Let the work be. A major complaint in casting is that many actors appear to still be working when they’re auditioning. The casting director sees the effort and not the person. You need to prepare in such a way that your work needs no policing or punctuating. All of your decisions should have been made from your heart and body, so that they’re a part of you—not something outside of you that you have to try to control. When the work is in your body, you’re free to let it be and express yourself in the way that’s perfect for that moment, no straining or pushing required—it’s truly you. It’s impossible to let the work be if you’ve prepared defensively, i.e., to get them to like you, to not make a mistake, to try to be right for what you think they want, etc. You have to manage defensive pieces because you’re guarding against something, i.e., them not liking you, making a mistake, guessing wrong about the direction of the role, etc. If you prepare offensively and really go after the role by exploring yourself until you find the decisions that are absolutely the strongest ones for you, then it’s all inside of you. Now, just remember to listen, connect, and live in the moments that you’ve found in yourself and in the piece, and let the whole experience be.

Let the room be. Actors who know how to book the job don’t need the perfect environment in order to be great. They walk in, look around, see the frazzled casting director, the high strung producers, the network person on his phone, take a breath, smile and say, “This is my stage today.” By not fighting the circumstances of the room you are taking the position of power. You can let it be knowing that your presence and your seamless work are more than enough to change the room for the better. And when you leave the room, the people in it will feel the effects of a person who stood still and tall, remained relaxed and focused, and showed them how alive and fascinating the role could be. When you let the room be, you become its calm, compelling center, and that’s a job-getting position.

Let yourself be. This is many times the hardest of the three when everything these days seems to be about so called “self improvement.” It seems every time you turn around there is someone telling you that there’s something else about you that isn’t good enough. Add this to any existing esteem issues, body issues, or whatever your particular flavor of issue is, and accepting yourself and letting yourself be seems near impossible.

And yet that’s exactly what you need to do if you’re going to show up in the room as a whole human being; it takes all of you to make a strong and lasting impression. Denying or trying to hide certain parts of yourself because you don’t think they’re appealing is judgmental and aggressive. It also weakens you. Power comes from acceptance and relaxation. The tension that is created by fighting who you are drains that power. Remember, this isn’t about trying to change or fix the things you think may be wrong or lacking in your personality. Acting isn’t about self improvement; it’s about self exploration and self acceptance. Let all of yourself be just the way it is and you’ll be the three-dimensional actor and person with whom the people in the room will feel compelled to work.

Your work, as well as your confidence in yourself, needs to be operating at a very high level in order for you to be able to let everything be. But when you are at that level, allowing the entirety of your humanity to inform your work, you’ll effortlessly impact the people in the room and be in complete ownership of your wisdom, your power, and yourself.

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Craig Wallace
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of the Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent, and casting consultant.
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