Ahem, where were we? Oh, yes. I began my walk down the corridor towards the casting offices. On my way there, I saw a bathroom and quickly ducked into it. I wanted to make sure I didn’t look as disheveled as I felt.
I “took care of business” in the restroom (I’m pretty sure y’all don’t need details), and exited. A little further along, I came across a sitting area with several tense looking adults in various states of nervousness. Some were sitting mouthing words, others were walking around, gesticulating to no one.
I knew I had found my people.
I painstakingly wrote my information on the sign-in sheet and saw that, though others were reading for the same characters, no one but me had the one I had been assigned. I took that as a good omen. The reader and casting director wouldn’t be hearing the same old piece when I went in to read. It would be a breath of fresh air. At least, I hoped so.
I put my things down and sat on a couch opposite a few other actors. One was dressed in a full suit while the other was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I have no idea if they were matching their clothes to the part they were reading, or if this was their normal audition attire–just goes to show that an industry like this has very few solid guidelines.
After sitting in a pretty comfy armchair for about five minutes, I needed to stand up and readjust my clothing. As soon as I got to my feet, I knew that sitting had been a bad idea as my entire body had contorted into one very tense ball of energy. I needed to get up, stretch, and stay standing. Even if that meant I was up for the 30 minutes between then and my scheduled audition time.
I moved over to the adjacent hallway and took my friend Marina’s advice to do a “power stance”. You raise your arms above your head and spread them apart, while also spreading your legs apart (your body is basically shaped like a star).
In combination with deep “belly breaths” this is an incredibly effective way to calm your nerves and boost your confidence before an interview or audition.
Then I stretched, paced, and went over my lines for what seemed like an entire lifetime.
Just when I thought that I couldn’t wait a second longer, I was called into the audition room.
I was introduced to the reader and the casting director and found my “mark”–a piece of tape–on the floor in front of the camera.
My delivery was a blur. I knew that I’d gotten all of the lines right, but my performance started on such high energy that I had no where to go. I plateaued as soon as I started.
The casting director noticed. I thought I was done for.
“I like what you did,” she said, “but this time, I want to see more levels. I want to see you start off a little softer so that you can grow throughout the piece. Let’s do it again.”
HOLY CRAP. She gave me an adjustment–that happens SO LITTLE in this industry. It’s usually a “one and done”. I knew I couldn’t screw it up this time.
With a renewed sense of confidence, I started over. I made eye contact with the reader through out–I matched her tone and intonation and it was as if we were actually having a dialogue (shocking!) instead of me reciting some meaningless lines. Most importantly, I sloooooowed dooooooown. You’ve only got them held captive for as long as you’re in the room and doing your lines. Milk it. (But don’t get crazy.)
After we had finished, the casting director gave me a very generous, “Great job, that was a nice adjustment” with such sincerity that the people-pleaser in me knew it would never get better in life than this moment.
Walking out of the audition room and out of the ginormous studio building, I felt good about my audition, which happens very rarely.
What happens next?
I forget it ever happened.
No, seriously. In this industry, if they like you, they’ll call you. If they don’t, you’ll never hear from them again. Ever. That’s how it works. So, instead of stressing about “will they, won’t they” you train your brain to forget that there’s even a possibility that you may be chosen.
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