Acting is hard. If you’re an actor, you already know this to be true. If you’re just a fan of TV, films and plays, you may know a little about what the life of an actor is like but you really don’t know how much goes into the incredibly unpredictable and unfair world of entertainment. I lived in Los Angeles for eleven years; I worked with so many amazingly talented actors and some terribly untalented actors. A lot more often than not, the untalented actors found more success than the talented actors. It’s arguably the most frustrating thing about being an entertainer. I specifically remember a girl in one of my classes who was just ok, she wasn’t terrible but she wasn’t great BUT she somehow landed an awesome agent and was constantly auditioning for great roles. I’d look around at other actors in my class, WHO WERE AMAZING and many of them weren’t in the Union, didn’t have an agent, never went out for a legit TV/Film audition… it’s crazy.
The reason I led with the above antidote is because other than watching untalented people achieve success while talented folks don’t, another extremely frustrating part of entertainment is auditioning and not getting cast. Now, in other blogs I’ve already covered fighting rejection and not taking self taped auditions for granted so today I want to briefly discuss complacency. This word is an actor’s worst enemy. It’s the devil. Why is it the devil? Well, take my 2018. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful agent who constantly gets me great auditions. Unfortunately, for us, I didn’t book jack shit in 2018! Talk about frustrating, it’s a killer to continuously get great auditions and constantly not land anything. As actors, we know the business, we know there are 5,000 reasons why we didn’t get cast but it’s still frustrating as hell. And when this frustration sets in, we, as actors can become complacent. We can think to ourselves, “Why am I going to work so hard on this audition if I’m not going to get it anyway?” I’m not proud to say this but I’ve had that thought in the past.
Let me break it down for you. For a two-line role, maybe even a one-line roll, I spend hours on my preparation for the audition. One line! Hours! You spend hours breaking down the scene, learning your line/s so that it’s completely natural, you create back story, you set up your eye lines, you break down who’s in the scene with you and what they mean to you, etc. etc. etc. And then you don’t get it. And that happens over and over again! Think about guest star and/or leading role auditions in which you have pages to prepare. For a major role in a mid level movie, I spent almost two days in my bedroom. So you can see how after not landing roles over and over you can become complacent.
But DON’T…EVER…BECOME… COMPLACENT!!!
One, you became an actor to act! So, take every audition as an opportunity to play a new character. I know, I know, Cop #2 on “Ozark” isn’t your Golden Globe moment but it’s a great opportunity to work on a great show. Even if it’s Cop #2 on a shitty show, who cares, you get to work!
Two, casting directors and your agent/manager know right away who cares and who’s prepared.
Three, even if you don’t land that particular role, you’re still being seen and casting directors, producers and directors may like you for something down the line. I auditioned for “Modern Family” seven times and was finally cast as a straight booking! They had seen me play a number of different roles but I just wasn’t the right fit for those particular roles. Then, the right role came along and they just booked me without an audition.
Needless to say, which is funny phrase because I’m going to say it anyway, always put your best work up for every audition! Put in the work, put in the prep and do your best at leaving it all in the audition. You’re not auditioning for the role; you’re auditioning for the casting office, producers and directors. I know it can be incredibly frustrating, I KNOW… FROM EXPERIENCE ☺ I like to compare actors to athletes a lot, heck as an actor I prepare like an athlete. But most athletes need a short-term memory. If you’re a Quarterback and you throw an interception, you can’t dwell on it, you have to forget about it and move on. Same thing for us actors. Have fun and enjoy the ride, even when it’s bumpy. AND DON’T GET COMPLACENT!