No one will quite understand the feeling an actor gets every single time their email goes off and they look to see… an audition! It’s like winning the lottery… and do you know what?? It is like winning the lottery!
I went to a workshop a few years ago in New Orleans and the topic was auditions. I always knew that getting an audition wasn’t exactly easy, but I never saw the numbers before. And was I blown away!!! Here is what we were presented…
For one role in an episodic:
Submissions: 5,238 – Let that sink in. Over 5,000 for one role!
Request to audition: 122 – Again let that sink in. Out of over 5,000 submissions, only 122 are invited to audition. That is less than 2.5%.
Sent to producers: 3
Starting to feel like it’s like winning the lottery yet? Look at those numbers again and again. (Insert gratitude here that you even got the audition). These numbers put it all in perspective.
The digital world has taken auditions to a whole new level. Now, we have people all over the United States submitting and getting to audition. Like most areas of life, the internet has changed everything. And while it has made the industry and auditions more accessible, it has also made it even more difficult. There is a much wider net cast for talent and that makes the competition fierce!
But let’s not focus on how hard it is, let’s focus on where your mind should be when you do hit the lottery and get the audition!
Auditions can be intimidating and scary. There is pressure to do well, pressure to impress and pressure to remember those lines! All of this can shake an actor so much sometimes that they bomb the audition. So how do you keep from losing your cool? How do you stay calm and slay it?
First, I believe the most important thing for an actor to do in the room (live or virtual) is to WIN THE ROOM. I say this so often and it’s because it’s so important. If you are going into your audition with the thought, “I want this so bad” or “I really need the money,” or even “I need this one, it can change my career,” you have already lost. Everyone of these thoughts scream desperation and the casting director can smell desperation! You are starting your audition already behind. All you have done is tune out the CD. I cannot say this enough, they know, and it is a turnoff! Every single CD workshop I have ever taken throughout the years, and it’s a ton, this is the one subject that consistently comes up. Trust me, the CD WANTS you to do well! They want to find that one diamond in the rough. It makes their day to find the one actor that is so brilliant, it makes them look good to the client. They have a job to do too and it’s to find their client the best actor for the part. So why focus on thoughts that do not serve you.
Change your thoughts! Imagine instead that you walk in room, or pop in virtually, and you’re excited and grateful to be there! Not desperate, but genuinely excited to show them what you have. What if you focused on just getting to act? If only for that few minutes, you get to show someone what you can do! And, because of this, the CD falls in love with you. And, whether you get the job or not, you will be remembered. Now, you still may not book the job but, hey, that is the industry. There is no way that you are going to book every single audition, realistically you will not even book 1 out of 5. BUT, if the CD falls in love with you, guess what? They will call you in again and again and again. So, you didn’t book this one… understand that there are a million factors that go into why, but you booked the room, and they will remember you! That should ALWAYS be the goal.
It’s helpful to think of a filmmaker or producer as an artist and they have a certain shade of “red” they are looking for to put on their canvas. Sometimes, you will be that perfect shade of red and sometimes you simply will not. Talent is just a small part of it.
Second, let’s talk about nerves. We all have them and if you are new, you probably have them more often and more intense. I have been doing this for a long time, and I will be honest, I still get them. Nervousness is a common feeling brought on by your body’s stress response. This involves series of hormonal and physiological responses that help prepare you to handle a perceived or imagined threat.* Did you read that carefully? ….a perceived or imagine threat. That is what we do as actors. We perceive or imagine in our heads that getting in front of people, who are about to judge us, is a threat. It is a natural and normal response. So how do you get those nerves in check? Breath! There are several exercises you can do while you wait to be seen. Deep breathing, meditate, concentrate on the work, etc. I will not go into a ton of detail here but Google this and see what other people do to control their nerves. The most important thing here is to remember, THEY ARE ON YOUR SIDE! For some reason, actors think that the CD is either against them or is intimidating or mean. I have heard it all. In all honesty, CDs are some of the nicest, coolest people in our industry. And they are just people! Some are even shy or socially awkward and truth be told, YOU make them nervous. So why not make it easier on everyone and go in calm and with a great attitude!
Lastly, be prepared! The more you work on your audition material, the more you know it, the more you study it, the more prepared you will be and that will make all the difference. If you are a professional actor, there is absolutely no reason for you not to be prepared! I could go on and on about this but that is another blog. Success comes from confidence and confidence comes from preparation!
Keep in mind that getting an audition is a WIN! You are an actor and auditioning is your job. The booking is just the icing on the cake. So, stay calm, breathe, prepare, research, breathe some more, meditate, stay positive, prepare some more, and do your absolute best every single time. WIN THAT ROOM!