Focus on the Job at Hand
There is too much competition to just be "good." And it is essential to discover for yourself what being better than "good" means. In spite of all the examples of auditions cited above, there are roles that are indeed available. There are casting people who will recognize ability and grab it.
True Story: Soon after entering this profession, I was at a film audition for a small role in a star-filled feature film. I looked at the competition sitting in the foyer and recognized half of them from film, TV, commercials, theatre. I made a quick whining phone call to my significant other: "I am out of my depth. I don't have a chance. Poor me. Alas and Alack." You know, insecure. Doubting. Every possible negative thought. Significant other: "You are there because you were selected to audition. Remember you are their competition." That advice worked for me then.
However, through the years I have added other advice that is even better: Keep your focus on the job at head. Do not spend your time evaluating your competition. That is not your job. That job belongs to the director. The only evaluation you can do is of your own audition (after it is over).
If your audition consists of one line, while you wait to go in, remember the numerous ways that line can be said. Think of the years of training you have had. Think of what they may ask at the interview. Run over three or four monologues. (Who knows what they may ask in addition to the sides?) Focus on gathering the electricity to surround you. FOCUS. Remember your dream.
Many people are into spreading love and generous positive feelings around the audition table. I prefer "passion" to "love." What works -- for me -- is a huge dollop of energy derived from my aim: to make it as hard as possible for them to stay with their safe pre-audition choice for the role. Yes, this goes against everything anyone has told you. But try it, just once. Save love-spreading for the wrap party. Use your imagination, your intelligence, your preparation but add to that mix an enormous dollop of electricity and energy derived from wherever you get your energy. Take your fear and turn it into controlled energy. ("Controlled" because scattered manic energy is frightening.) ENERGY. PASSION.
I have tiptoed around a topic long enough, so here goes: Fear turned into inner anger can be turned into killer energy. Just do not let the anger rule. And do not let the committee see or sense your anger. Let the anger become energy. And wrap that anger in swaths of charm. Anger, properly used, can be a marvelous friend. It can be expressed as energy in the way you walk, the way you introduce yourself, the way you deliver your sides/monologue, the way you exit.
I like being in charge of my destiny and detest that those people behind the table have control of my professional destiny. If a loved one is trapped under a car, that love turns into "superhuman" energy and you do the impossible. However, in an audition, if you insist on the love approach, just be sure your love turns into superhuman energy and that you do something (the equivalent of lifting the car off your loved one).
Starting with the nucleus in your being, extend your electric energy into your sides/monologue. Extend that energy throughout the entire room. Gather the energy while you wait to go in. Feel the energy tingling as you open the door. Do not turn the power of your audition over to the committee. I really cannot tolerate whiners who complain about an apathetic audience (or a negative casting director). The audience (the committee) responds to you. The you that they respond to is totally within your control. They may loathe your work or love it but do not allow them to be indifferent. Ho-hum is a plague. This is a battleground. Go in to win. Be absolutely ruthless in your determination to make them sit up and notice what you are doing.
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Article re-published with the permission of Inverse Theater Company
Inverse Theater, a New York Company dedicated to producing new American verse plays, was voted Best Downtown Theater by the New York Press.
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