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Recovering From a Bad Audition
January 28, 2015
By Loren Chadima, Acting Coach
We all blow it sometimes. We show up late. We forget our sides. We don’t follow up. Then we spend days or weeks (and sometimes years!) beating ourselves up over it.
But what about when the mistake happens DURING the audition?!?!
There you are, in front of a casting director and suddenly, you go blank, lose your place on the page, even drop the script and go out of frame. Or what about when we mess up saying our own name as we slate?!? You know, one of those auditions when it feels like nothing’s going right? What’s the fastest way to pull your self out of this mess?
Seriously, do it…and do it fast. Beating up on yourself will only allow the critical voice in your head to take that audition from bad to worse to complete crash and burn. But, when the plane is going down, what does a good pilot do?
Here are a few quick ways to get that nose back in the air and keep yourself out of that downward spiral:
- Turn off the autopilot (which in an actor’s case is your critical voice.)
- Pull that nose up by giving yourself a break.
OK…you’ve had that bad audition. What’s next after you’ve had what you thought, I repeat, *thought* was a bad audition (note the operative words are: “you thought”.) You never know; that mistake might not be a big deal or you just might be so perfect for what they are looking for that it just doesn’t matter.
- Keep going. Don’t let them know you made a mistake. It might not even be a mistake to them until they hear you say “sorry” or see it on your face.
- Forgive yourself. Let it go. Take care of the blunder professionally: find your place, pick up the sides and get back to work.
- Use your technique. That’s why you have an acting technique. When you get lost, you have a tool – your technique – to get you back on track. Specifically: Make your partner the most important person in the scene by putting your focus on them, instead of your mistake. Fight for your intention – make the reader, or scene partner, feel or do something.
- Don’t apologize or ask to do it again or make excuses – remember that Acting Tip: No Excuses?
- Don’t dwell. This is a waste of your time and a huge energy drain. The sooner you let it go, the quicker you can leave it behind.
- Change your perception. Your mistake, however epic, is a lesson. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? Make a mental or written note and move on. Remember, the best stories come from the biggest goof-ups!
As always, the best way to prepare so that all your auditions are good ones is to be in class!
- You are not your mistake. You just made one. Just like every other actor on the planet.
If you’re an actor or know someone who is feel free to share this article with those you believe could benefit from it and risk being vulnerable right here. Share your experience as a fearless or fearful actor. Who knows, your input just might make the difference in preparing and inspiring someone to deliver the performance of a lifetime!