You practiced, practiced, practiced… but still, no Carnegie Hall! So, what happened? Well, a number of things could be in play, or entirely absent from your auditions, as the case may be.
Here are 5 reasons you probably didn’t book that last audition:
#1. Your audition lacked the use of “Yes… and!”
Doing “everything they asked for” for the audition and nothing more is NOT what scores you the job.
Improvisation is vital to everything you do as an actor and voice talent, and that’s due in large part to a concept known as “Yes… and!”
In other words:
a) Agree with the reality posed in the script, and…
b) ADD to it!
The ‘and’ in every performance equation is YOU! It’s your twist, your expression, your point-of-view. Thus, “yes… and!”
‘Yes’ means you’re agreeing with the premise, or direction posed… but don’t stop there. Offering your point of view in addition to embracing the reality is the definition of ‘Yes… and’. Your point of view is critical to your performance, regardless of the medium. It’s what anyone auditioning you is after.
Your delivery should never sound like someone is putting words in your mouth. If you’re attempting to please everyone, it’s likely you won’t please anyone, especially yourself. We need and want to see your point of view, your creativity in your auditions. It’s what makes you valuable. So BRING IT!
#2. No risk = No reward!
It takes confidence to risk. In fact, without risk there really is no success at all. Therefore, it stands to reason, to succeed at anything you must risk—a lot!
There’s nothing safe in “playing it safe”.
Think about it: the last job you landed you booked because you did something that challenged your comfort zone. You went further than you thought you would and even surprised yourself! THAT’S precisely what’s required of you on every session, on every take, on every audition.
#3. Ask yourself honestly: “Are you treating your audition differently than you would treat your ultimate performance?”
Some actors are remarkable… only once they book the job, but they repel the audition process. The problem is your best performances, in fact your entire career, will die on the vine if you don’t get past this conundrum.
Auditions are vital to whether you will or will not work. You build your reputation over time based on your auditions. (No one relishes the audition process. Even seasoned casting directors bemoan the perils of holding auditions, but mostly because so many actors neglect to master them.)
Keep in mind: You become the effect of that which you resist! If you resist the audition process it will ultimately cost you your career. On the other hand, if you buck up and embrace it, and master making your auditions seamless with your final performance then you’re sure to enjoy a long, fulfilling career!
#4. “In a World…”
Is your audition great but not for the context of the spot you’re auditioning for? For instance, is your performance better suited to an episode of “NCIS” rather than “Modern Family”?
It’s your job to understand the style, context and premise of the production. DO YOUR HOMEWORK—you may (or may not) be offering a performance consistent with the “world” your character exists in. Chances are you’ll land work that generally feels more familiar to you. Something you know something about and you can embrace without it still being too much of a leap of faith. Does the project already appear to be in your wheelhouse, so to speak? (No wonder you were invited to audition!)
#5. The best audition doesn’t necessarily book the job. One of them does!
You may have felt great about that last audition. You wouldn’t have changed a thing! You were on fire! Yet—no cigar. What gives?
Before you resort into your crestfallen cave of self-pity, know this: Your job as a professional voice actor is to offer the most finished performance possible with every audition. And they either hire you—OR, let’s face it, their production will flounder without you. It’s as simple as that.
If the client goofed and hired someone else instead, take pride in the fact you offered your very best, and you’re committed to continuing to do the same with other projects because you’re in it for the long haul.
It’s very likely your best efforts did NOT go unnoticed. After all, it’s art by committee. There’s always elements beyond your purview. So, if they don’t hire you for this production, take comfort in the fact that you may have made fans in the room (with the casting directors, producers, director, and writers) who will keep you in mind for future opportunities, provided you continue to show up on their radar.
Auditions are your most important form of promotion, they just shouldn’t be your only form of promotion. Keep going. Tenacity is necessary to succeed at anything, and that’s especially true when it comes to your acting and voiceover career.
Copyright © 2021 by Kate McClanaghan, All Rights Reserved.
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