For those of us who work in the entertainment industry, "Let It Go" isn't just a song. Letting go is a way of life. No one-- I repeat, NO ONE-- in any other industry deals with rejection as often as we do. Or unemployment. Or underemployment. Remember in 2008 when the housing market crashed, and everybody lost their jobs, and the entire nation went batshit with insecurity? That's our day-to-day. (I was like, "Oh, cry me a river, America.")
But just because we're tougher than the rest of the nation doesn't make rejection or uncertainty any easier to deal with. We have a hard time letting go because we care so much about what we do. Otherwise, we wouldn't put up with this industry in the first place. We also have many opportunities to feel bad over the course of an audition. We ask ourselves:
"Will I get a callback?"
"Will I get another callback?"
"But I'm perfect for it. Why can't they see that I'm perfect for it?"
"Final round of callbacks! But did I book it?"
And the closer you get, the harder it becomes to let go. The more you love the show, the harder it is to trust there will be another opportunity.
So City Audition readers need some hard-won PRACTICAL advice on how to let go of an audition experience. I consulted social media and got some fabulous ideas. Whether you're totally confident that you booked it or totally sure that you blew it, practice these strategies. They will become habits in case you need them for the next time you suck/slay.
1. Audition, then do something nice yourself. Like a coffee. Or Schmackery's. Or a yoga class or a little bit of retail therapy. Give yourself something that says, "I am proud of the work that I did, regardless of the result, and I am worth this coffee/cookie/yoga/whatever it is." Choose something you're really going to look forward to once the audition is over, and focus on that instead of your nerves.
2. Think of it as free class. Then you're not worried so much about the result. Evaluate your audition objectively. What did I do well? What can I do better next time? Call a friend so that you can dissect your performance. Then take a small action towards improvement the next day or maybe the day after. The bonus is, if you do get a callback, you're going in even stronger than you were before.
3. Take a workshop. Yes, there are classes in how to deal with audition stress! Michael Kostroff (from The Wire) offers four-hour workshops in NY, Vancouver and LA. His comes highly recommended, even though, in full disclosure, I've never taken it myself. His perspective is that auditioning is all about offering your services as an actor to solve a casting "problem." People who have taken it report that they not only book more, but enjoy the audition process as well. (New Yorkers: there's one next Saturday, April 8th. It's just $75, but he will work with you financially if you need. You might even see me there!)
4. Create victories. What did you do right? THERE HAS TO BE ONE THING! Even if it's just that your hair looked good, celebrate that. Maybe you made sure that you got enough sleep the night before. (That's a tough one for me!) Get in the habit of finding a sense of accomplishment in your auditions, and it will change your perspective over time. I've said this a million times on this blog, but I will say it again: auditioning is a mind game. Some might call it a mind FUCK. You simply have to stay on top of it, mentally, or it will wear you down. So celebrate your goddamn hair. Or the fact that your accompanist didn't screw up your cut because you put it together perfectly. Sometimes I just celebrate the fact that I seemed like a normal person while I was in the room. (How many times have you gone in and acted like a robot? Or some weird version of yourself? Be honest.) Victories. Find 'em.
5. Be Bryan Cranston. I mean, that's a life goal anyway, right? But if you don't believe me or anything else you've read today, let Bryan Cranston give you some advice. This video is only 1:22. And he has figured some things out.