CHANGING THE TAPES IN OUR HEADS
We all know what we want, right? You want confidence walking in that audition room. You want to walk out feeling like you nailed it. And if you don’t book it, you want to minimize that feeling of rejection. You want to find a way to keep going. You want to be persistent in this career, without losing your mind and with some degree of joy!
And all that is possible. But it might require a change of perspective. It may mean…
CHANGING THE TAPES IN YOUR HEAD.
Tape #1. “The ‘I have an AUDITION!!’ Tape” Does the word audition make you shudder? Would you rather chew tin foil? I kind of hate the word, don’t you? It feels more like a judgment or trial – rather than what it actually is, which is of course an opportunity. So let’s agree to call it an “opportunity.” If that still feels like a bit of pressure, let’s agree to call it a “Collaborative Meeting.”
Because that’s really the truth of the matter.
You are going into that audition room to “collaborate” on a character – with a peer. Yes, peer. You, the actor, and the Casting Director each have a job to do, that neither one of you can do alone. The Casting Director may have been doing this for years, and maybe you have or maybe you haven’t been acting for years, but you need each other. They can’t do the acting job at hand and you can’t cast the role for them.
You can help each other by changing the tape from “I think I’m gonna throw up,” to “I’m looking forward to this Collaborative Meeting.”
Tape #2. “The Casting Directors are Evil Tape” I know many people that are literally terrified of Casting Directors. They feel they’re the only ones standing in the way of success – as if they are the barriers to a successful career. Soooo not true. The amazing Casting Directors I know are some of the warmest, most genuine people in this town. Granted you’ll find the occasional not so nice (I’m being kind here) CD, but most are pretty great people. And talk about a difficult job. Casting Directors get bombarded from all sides. Managers and agents fight to get their clients seen – producers and directors might have constant demands – all while trying to meet a pressure filled deadline.
So let’s change the tape of, “Casting Directors are the Guardians of the Golden Door and I gotta cross an alligator filled moat to reach the promised land,” to “Hey, this CD is a pretty nice person, albeit probably stressed right now, but I’m here to offer a solution.”
Tape #3. “The Competitive Waiting Room Tape” Have you ever walked in, looked around and said to yourself, “Oh my God, that guy/girl is SO much better for this role than I am.” Hmm… How do you know? What if their availability won’t allow them to take it should they be cast? What if their quote is too high? What if they didn’t prep as they needed to? You only have control over yourself. And no one else. So focus on what’s actually helpful, to you, in this moment, and continue to do character work as you sit and wait.
Change that tape from, “He/she is definitely gonna get this,” to “It doesn’t matter that someone else might be right for the role, I am uniquely me. No one can create the character exactly the same way I have, and I have just as much chance to get the role as they do. Now stop the uselss comparison and focus on what’s important.”
Tape # 4. “The ‘I Knew They Didn’t Want to See Me!’ Tape” What if, upon entering the door, Casting seems distracted; seemingly uninterested that you’re there. Do you think, “Oh my God, he/she didn’t want to see me for this role and now I feel like an idiot being here?” Sound familiar?
What if we changed that perspective to something closer to the probable truth? What if Casting just got a text that said producers have changed their minds about a particular something? Now they want an edge to the character. Just yesterday they said they wanted to see the softness in the character. This is just an example of course. Or what if the text was an urgent one from their child’s school or any number of things? The point being, that when you walk into a room you have no idea what that Casting Director may be dealing with on a personal or professional level at the moment. Likely, their seemingly distant attitude has absolutely nothing to do with you. Casting doesn’t generally waste their time. Like I said, they’re on a deadline and chances are they’re not having you come in just for fun.
So how about we change the tape from, “They never wanted to see me in the first place,” to “Something is on her/his mind. I’m gonna make their day easier as we ‘collaborate’ on this character.”
Tape # 5. “The ‘Person Before Me Got 45 Minutes’ Tape” So there you are in the waiting room. The person before you has been in there forever. “What could they be doing?” you think. Your mind instantly goes to, “Ah! They’re nailing it! Casting is so interested in them that they’re spending extra time with them! I knew it. I don’t have a chance in this role.” UGH. No. What about the possibility that yes, they were right for the role, so Casting tried over and over to bring out a specific quality in them and lo and behold, they had a difficult time at it? What about that?! Don’t assume you know what’s happening in a room that you are not even in. It could be a million things.
So let’s take “I’m wasting my time even going in there right now, because I don’t stand a chance,” and turn that into, “Hey! I get to go in that room and BE this character for 15 minutes.” Let that be the joy. And that’s it.
Remember to always walk in there to GIVE something. Never to GET something.
Tape #6. “The ‘He/She is So Much More Interesting Than I Am’ Tape” We’ve all seen this one right? It’s similar to Tape # 5. The person before you walks out of the room in peels of laughter. The Casting Director escorts them out the door and gives them a giant hug and warm smile. You’ve lost the role, right? NO! Not unless you talk yourself out of it. What if Casting had a long-term relationship with this person? Or they have a mutual friend? Or they connected on some level? Maybe they talked about their dogs for the love of Pete. Who knows! And you don’t care. Because roles do not get cast merely because of long-term relationships, mutual friends or personal connectivity. They are cast because the fit is right.
So rather than let our heads go to, “This Casting Director probably won’t like me as much,” let’s think of it as, “This CD is actually very warm and lovely!”
Tape # 7. “ The Rejection Tape” This is just fact: You are not going to be the right fit for every role you’re up for. Even though you may have been the best actor in the room that day, maybe they needed older, younger, taller, shorter, etc. Do you care? No. Because Casting Directors have the best memory on planet Earth. Did you do your prep? Or as much as you could with the time allotted? Go in and do your best possible work, and you will be remembered. You may not be right for this role, but you may be right for one down the line and Casting tucks away the memory of a good “collaborative meeting” every time.
And finally, my very favorite word is: NEXT! A good time to smile and say it (to yourself please!) is as you pass through the arch of the audition room doorway. Look forward to the next super fun Collaborative Meeting, because there will be one. And know that there’s gonna be one that you nail; that you’re spot on right for and that you’ll book. Enjoy the journey.