This year I traded the largest city in the South for a quaint small town adjacent to a medium size city in the Midwest. The move brought lots of changes, some I liked, some I loved, and some I … well, hated. Eating brats at a beer garden is definitely a new Love, while Likes include less traffic, close proximity to one of the Great Lakes, and the potential to build a snowman on occasion. Walking the dogs on cold mornings probably falls in the Hate category.
I could find a lot more things to hate if I tried, such the work involved with a move. But, focusing on the difficulty rather than the destination wastes valuable time and energy. I’m not suggesting I’m a saint. I did my share of grumbling along the way. It served no real purpose other than to create more negative energy.
Many of my fellow actors seem to grumble about one particular part of the job: auditioning. It always amuses me because it’s really THE JOB. Some of the busiest actors I know audition almost daily or several times a week and book less than 5% of the time.
Actors who frequently grumble about auditions are making a choice. They are focusing on what’s outside their control rather than what is within their control. If you start to focus a significant part of your attention on perceived negative aspects of the work, it’s likely you’ll soon feel overwhelmed and stressed. You may take every rejection personally, too, and begin to wonder if the industry (or the universe) isn’t conspiring against you.
Auditions are a necessary part of the process of finding the right actor for the role. They sometimes come with several days notice, sometimes last minute. In my experience, they can be highly inconvenient due to location and appointment time. I recall more than a few early or mid-morning auditions scheduled out-of-town where I had to travel overnight (often by bus) to get there in time.
I think the goal with anything we could potentially hate or strongly dislike is to find something about the experience to like or love. You don’t have to immediately love being in a room with a total stranger evaluating you. You can choose to like preparing for the audition by researching the company for a commercial project or choosing what to wear.
Earlier I mentioned walking the dogs on a cold morning. This morning’s walk happened during 35° conditions. The one change I made from the norm was taking with me a travel mug of hot coffee flavored with Peppermint Mocha creamer. Small but significant adjustment to the routine. Suddenly I felt no rush to get back inside.
Anxiety or any negative feeling about auditions may compel us to rush through the experience, inside and outside the room. Before your next (or first) audition in person, take time to look at the process you created and see if you are rushing through any steps. Sometimes we even rush in the room, so focused on getting it over we miss actually enjoying the moments in there.
While you’re reading this post and investing in your career, take a few minutes right now to write down a list of reasons you like or love auditioning. Make it simple. “I love meeting new people. I like to entertain. I love the chance to meet other actors.” Whatever list you begin, keep adding to it in the weeks and months ahead and see how much Like and Love take over that other 4-letter word you once used a lot.