Many, many, many actors espouse New Age philosophies in which affirmations lead to success. Phrases such as "I have the power to achieve my dreams" and "The Universe is conspiring for me in all things" are frequently uttered in halls of Ripley Grier and Pearl studios. I am totally on board with affirmations for one simple reason.
Few things in this industry are guaranteed, but one thing that is certain is that if you don't see yourself in a show, neither will anyone else. You have to believe that you are not just good, not just great, but exceptional. You must remind yourself of this every day. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed by rejection, and you will not last.
However, as useful as those mantras are, no mantra is as useful as "fuck 'em." Not "fuck IT," which implies disrespect for the project, but "fuck 'em," as in "Fuck you if you think I can't do this role, I'm the fiercest person you're going to see today, if you think I can't do this, I'm going to prove you wrong, and I'm going to be so fucking charming and awesome that, like Jennifer Holliday sang (first), 'You're going to love me.'"
As nice as calming, affirmative mantras are, that's not what you need going into an audition. You need a pep talk. You need a locker room speech. You need an 11:00 fucking number.
You also need a "fuck 'em" attitude because it counteracts desperation. And desperation is the death knell of any audition. Somehow, they can smell it.
"If I want a job really bad, I never get it," wails every actor in every bar in New York City. "It's only the jobs I don't care about that I book!"
That's because desperation causes excess, and excess causes a hot mess.
Maybe you were "really feeling" the song. Unfortunately, "really feeling it" doesn't always translate. Remember, as an actor, it's not about what you feel, it's about what you make the audience feel. Your desperation has caused you, a very talented and intuitive actor, to tip just over the edge into excess. You've become bombastic, campy, and overly emotional. Reign it in. Focus. Make good choices.
Or maybe you're a dancer. Maybe your desperation caused you to stop listening to the music. You're so worried about executing a perfect triple on some crap studio floor that you've lost your musicality. Maybe you kick your face so hard you're off for the next step. (Or on your ass!) Or you tap so desperately that you get ahead of the music. Who wants a tapper who can't keep time?
When you desperately want a job, resist the temptation to go balls to the wall. When you're focused on the outcome, not your process, desperation creeps through. The answer is always to hunker down, focus, and do the work. Trust your work. Find a mantra such as "I am enough" or "All my needs are met." Repeat it a million times.
And the second before you walk into the room, think "Fuck 'em."
Then show 'em what you're made of.