BWW Blog: The Business of Auditioning
From open calls to callbacks, auditioning is a major part of the theatre, film, and television industries. For professional actors and performers, auditioning IS their job. Booking a show or commercial is usually a short-term gig, so looking for work is a constant cycle.
On the collegiate level, auditions happen less often, as students aren't using university performances as a means to pay their rent. At a big school like mine, however, there are usually a wide range of opportunities to audition for each semester. Some of our major classes have an audition requirement, so students must audition for a certain number of productions to develop skills in that area. During a meeting for the School of Theatre and Dance, one student inquired about the audition requirement, asking if the audition needed to be "successful." A theatre faculty member then asked what he meant by "successful," to which the student responded with "getting cast." His response surprised me: "A successful audition is not when you get cast, but when you feel connected to the work that you are doing."
This statement struck a chord with me. While rejection has been a part of my theatre experience, it has remained a challenge for me over the years. I tend to over-analyze every minute detail about what I did in the audition room and how I should have done this or that differently. Self-doubt especially creeps in as I do not get the outcome I am hoping for. The truth is that the outcome of auditions is determined largely by factors I cannot control: how big I am, how small I am, my hair color, my eye color, my age, or any number of external qualities. The focus of my post-audition reflection should not be about if I am cast or not but ensuring that I did my personal best and gave an honest performance.
This week, I had an opportunity to audition for a commercial out of town. I found out about the audition on Monday evening and had to leave the next day. I drove over two hours for an audition that lasted less than ten minutes. The audition holding room was like a scene out of The Stepford Wives, as all the girls looked exactly the same. For this particular audition, there were no sides. The candidates had to improv a short scene with genuine and subtle facial expressions.
While it was certainly chaotic and even a bit stressful to get to the audition with my headshot and resume and get back to school for classes the next day, the excitement of the trip made it worth it. The chances that I will book the job are slim, but I felt as if I put my best foot forward and gained more skills to help me nail my next audition.