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“Make a plan. Follow the plan.”

That’s advice about setting and reaching goals that came from a motivational speaker five years ago. As I sat in his workshop in north Texas, I realized I had spent little time doing either step. Things are different now. I like making plans and following plans, especially when it comes to auditions, but I also get reminded frequently about how important it is to not be married to my plans. Let me give you an example.

On a Friday, I got invited to audition for a crime drama shooting in LA. I won’t mention the series but it’s an established one now in its fourth season. The role is a co-star in this episode and the sides consisted of four lines, three of them spoken by other characters and one spoken by me. Looking at the weekend ahead of me, I decided to tape the audition on Monday, hours before it was due at 12 pm.

PLAN A
Over the weekend, I arranged to have an actress friend come over and read with me. She’s got an assertive sound naturally and seemed perfect for the off camera role of a police officer. She agreed to come at 9 am on Monday. I figured we would have it taped by 10 am.

On Sunday night, the plans changed abruptly. My actress friend texted me to say she had been in a car accident. She’s okay but mentioned her car “took a beating.” That meant she wouldn’t be able to drive to my place on Monday. No worries. I could make a new plan.

PLAN B
I knew my roommate would be home Monday morning and we could tape my audition with her iPad. I texted her on Monday morning to ask if the iPad was available, she said her son needed it for camp. Again, the plan gets adjusted.

PLAN C
My roommate offered to use her iPhone 5S to tape my audition. Since the video quality looks better on her phone than on my Samsung Galaxy S4, I quickly agreed.

We proceeded with Plan C, rehearsed the scene, then taped it twice. The second take was much stronger and that’s the one I submitted.

To summarize, throughout the process of planning, the reader changed and the recording device changed. The only constant was the studio space we used. Being flexible became a critical element.

As a final element to this post, let’s look at some other ways the audition could have “gone wrong” before taping began.

  • Studio loses power
  • Yard crew starts mowing
  • Reader doesn’t show up
  • Internet connection fails
  • Recording device didn’t get charged

The list can go on and on, of course, but the idea is that a wide variety of challenges can present themselves between the time you get the sides and the time you selected to record them. Make it a habit to create a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, etc in case a worst case scenario occurs. Odds are, if you’re like me, you will rarely see your Plan A come together perfectly intact. Remain flexible and remember real-life challenges can lead to some of your best work on camera.

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