How changing one can drastically improve the other.
Ever have the excitement of receiving an audition notification quickly turn into a downward spiral of self-doubt? “They’ll never pick me” “I’m not pretty/handsome enough for this” “I’m not ready to be a lead/supporting/principal actor?” “I don’t have the right accent for this” “I don’t look like a Ms. Jones” “This is gonna’ be a complete waste of time”.
I totally have.
But, I still went ahead, did the work, and just said “I’m gonna have fun”. Sometimes I get the role, and sometimes I don’t. That’s the thing–there are soooo many reasons why you might not get the role, and MOST of them have NOTHING to do with you. But, if you go in there expecting to fail–that’s exactly what’s gonna’ happen. And that’s not just for auditions, it’s for anything.
Whether you’re heading into a sales meeting, or going on a first date–if you go in thinking you’re not “right” for this, then you definitely won’t be. No one wants to buy something from someone whose vibe says “you can do better”. And sorry, as an actor (and potential life partner), you’re definitely in the business of selling yourself. Sorry if you don’t like the sounds of that–but it’s the truth.
As an actor, you’re selling your look, your interpretation of the character, your ability to take direction so that the story can be told the way the producers/writers/director envision it, and ultimately, your personality. So, don’t sell yourself short and go in with the mindset that says “You don’t want me”.
Instead, change that mindset easily by focusing on what you bring to the table. Do your homework, then really picture yourself in that role. If your hang up is say, you’re not good-looking enough–first of all–they have your headshot. As long as its current, clearly they think you are. But if you still can’t let that go (I know, it can be hard), think about the how you can help change the way “good-looking” is interpreted on screen. Beauty truly runs deep, so if your look is less than conventional leading lady/man, then highlight that je ne sais quoi in you that makes you stand out. Trust me, you have it!
This little shift in mindset works and will give you the confidence to walk into any audition feeling prepared and confident. Here’s a short list to help you prepare:
- Your look: Like we talked about before, you are being called in because they see something in your headshot that says “I can do this”. All you have to do is go with it.
- Personalization: This character is going through XYZ, if that was happening to me, right now, how would I feel? When I am feeling that way, how is my behaviour? By asking these questions, you bring your personalization into it. No one can be a better you, than you. And you’re selling you, remember?
- Flexibilty: Like any human being, you likely won’t behave exactly the same way every time say, when you’re sad. One day you might be crying, another day you might mask that sadness with anger etc etc. Make the choice that you think fits the character best for your first take, but remember the other choices in case the casting director wants you to try a few different ways. Flexibility and being able to take direction well is another key factor in getting cast.
- Good vibes: The stereotypical tortured artist or Diva is not what cast and crew (or anyone really) want to be around all day. Don’t be fake, you don’t have to be sunshine and rainbows–but being a polite and kind person is always welcome.
It’s that simple. Change your mindset, and change how you show up in the world. Comment below if you have any other hang-ups that you’d like to discuss, or how changing your mindset has helped you. I’d love to hear from you. Until then, break a leg!