Stop Apologizing In Your Auditions

“You’re just there to collaborate over a project, and some people sit at a table, while you present a plan.”

By: Mar. 14, 2024
Stop Apologizing In Your Auditions
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Spencer Glass, career coach for actors, explores the subconscious apologetic energy that lives in artists. Glass, an actor himself, has battled the apology voice, and describes how it creeps out during auditions.

Everything said in this article is both wonderful and wrong. The greatest thing about show business is that it’s a completely subjective industry. Every single person in the 5th row at a Broadway musical will have entirely different opinions from one another on any given show. Advice will work for some, and then not work for others. Certain creatives will respond or receive an actor, while others have different visions for their projects. I think it’s always important to ground conversations around being an actor with this acknowledgement. Below are my two cents on a subject I think we don’t talk enough about. 

Somewhere in your middle school musical, 8AM acting class sophomore year of college, or during your traumatic, summer stock rehearsal process, you might have been systemized to believe that you’re an inconvenience and it’s safer to put your head down. Perhaps your voice teacher in high school would remind you your singing isn’t your strongest tool as an artist, or a dance teacher embarrassed you in front of the class, snatching away your love for movement. I remember politely questioning feedback I’d get in college after a scene or a song, and being shut down with a curt response that immediately made me apologize for wanting clarity. “What don’t you understand?” was usually what I was met with when I wanted a professor to elaborate. Moments like that pushed me to be an actor who wanted to get in and jump right OUT of the audition room, cause zero issues, and apologize before I even opened my mouth to share my talent. Better be safe than sorry, right?

I asked a ton of actors “what overwhelms you about auditioning”, and the response was as follows:

1. “Not being able to control how I’m received as an actor”
2. Forgetting lines/lyrics, or cracking on a note during a song
3. Feeling like “I have to prove myself or I won’t be called back in”
4. Being an “awkward” person in the audition room

These swirling thoughts flooding our minds the night before, the day of, and seconds upon your audition, create an apologetic version of ourselves that stems from fear of not feeling we’re enough. We walk into the audition room and maybe our shoulders are up to our ears instead of down and relaxed. We introduce ourselves as if we’re bothering the team. I remember back in the day that if the team asked me to back up a bit from the table to create more space, instead of simply responding with “of course” while taking a few steps back, I’d respond as if I had actually done something wrong, and would verbally apologize 3-4 times in a row. I looked green, and I wasn’t. We dim our light to protect our hearts, when really, we should be dialing up our undeniable gifts…and that can feel scary. I’m not suggesting you enter the room ‘holier than thou,’ but rather, enter the room with less pressure on how you’ll be perceived, and more emphasis on the fact that you could be the answer. 

When we decide ahead of time “they probably won’t be into me” or “I can’t mess it up and I MUST get a callback,” we’re providing a kind of energy that feels inauthentic and put on. We’re so STRAPPED, that we’re shut down. The apology monster within us resists deep, connected, and centered work, because the entire time we’re thinking “what are the people behind the table thinking?”. Our mission to be “right” sometimes persuades us to make no artistic choices in the audition room, for fear that we’ll look weird, or “get it wrong.” Apologizing for auditioning leaves us with safe and nice auditions. And I guarantee - you aren’t a “safe” and “nice” actor. 

I dare you to give yourself permission to step into an elevated version of you. The second I stopped painting this visual that auditioning had to be scary, and I had to be perfect, and I had to be this robotic prim and proper version of myself, the quicker I stopped apologizing for my talent and started owning the room and asserting my career. I invite you to remember that casting teams and creatives behind the table are just as determined as we are as actors. They have a job, just like us. Often, I find that actors lose sight of the objective of an audition, and focus primarily on the power dynamics of the audition. There’s no hierarchy. I want you to reframe the world of auditioning, and no longer see it as walking the plank. You’re just there to collaborate over a project, and some people sit at a table, while you present a plan. 

Three Ways to Actively Combat Apologizing:

1. Important Reflective Questions 

-What are you telling the team about yourself when you enter that room? What’s your favorite quality about yourself, and how can that shine through the moment you walk in?

-What information are you giving the team when you receive an adjustment in your audition? What do you want them to know about your relationship to creatives, and your work ethnic as an actor?

-How might you respond after inevitably flubbing a line or cracking on the last note of the song? What about your professionalism can be insightful for the people behind the table to understand? 

2. The more ownership, the less your mind races

As a career coach for actors, I’ve found that clients start to enjoy auditions when they look forward to what they’re bringing into their auditions. Preparation isn’t just memorizing lines or bringing in a song you know really well; it’s taking ownership of the material you’re presenting that day. A lot of actors play it safe, because it’s better than getting it “wrong.” Having an angle on the character, with clear, honest and bold choices that you’re amped to share with the team, turns off your radar (which by the way, might be tightly wound and completely taking over your audition). We release the grip on ourselves, when we create a pulse for the role we’re auditioning for. 16-bars of a song can tell a lot, whether it’s an open call or an invited audition. Your 30-seconds in front of the table will feel so much better when you’ve created 16-bars that are activated, and tailor-made for you with smart and nuanced choices. The only agenda we should be thinking about in the room is your agenda on the material. When we bring in an innovative take, and care about lifting the text, we enter our auditions feeling special because we created something special. This completely redesigns your objective for the audition that day, and you’ll start to find yourself wrapped up in the joy of bringing individuality into the work, and not in the “what if’s” of your audition.

3. Affirmations before entering your audition

-Today, I create the reality of this audition, and I’m visualizing focused and easy energy.

-It’s not my business what anybody behind the table thinks of me, and I radiate confidence even in shortcomings.

-No one is rushing me today, and fast is last. I embrace every second.

-I’m a rare find, and an answer that brings creatives and casting a lot of peace.

-I have officially left the old version of myself, and am bringing a renewed and fiery vibe into the room today.

Let me be abundantly clear that this isn’t going to be something that’s solved overnight. This is a practice. Audition nerves will always be lingering around you, but nerves are a sign of care and excitement while apologizing keeps you from claiming your work and artistry. You’re too unique and deserving to keep apologizing, and I know you’re about to step into the most divine version of yourself in the audition room. I believe in you. 

Stop Apologizing In Your Auditions
Photo Credit: Katherine McManus Photography

Spencer Glass is a career coach for actors, and an actor himself, who has been seen off broadway at New York City Center, across the US on Broadway National Tours, and regionally at theatres around the country. His business, Spencer Glass Coaching, has reached artists globally, and when he isn’t on stage, he’s guiding others and helping to create a sharp and specified roadmap for his clients’ career. Growing up in show business, he’s always embraced actors and loved watching them win. He engaged his business side at a young age, which lead him to guiding artists and mentoring them to be business people in their own careers. Spencer is a multi-hyphenate who had two shows with BroadwayWorld (It’s The Day Of The Show Y’all & Ten Minute Tidbits), and has interviewed and performed with actors like Sheryl Lee Ralph, Eva Noblezada, Derek Klena, Laura Bell Bundy, Grey Henson, among others. You can book a session with Spencer at, and follow for free tips and advice on his TikTok page, @Spencer.Glass, and his instagram, @Hispencerglass.

Vote Sponsor