Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do As I Say, Not Always As I Do

There are very few things that are within your control in this business.  In fact, one of the first real obstacles every actor must overcome in order to be successful is the mental obstacle of learning to build a career in an unfair industry.  Most educated, most talented, most attractive, most qualified, most dedicated -- all things that will never consistently guarantee you get the job.  Neither the masters in fine arts you hang on the wall nor the long list of designer coaches you've trained with will default you into a role when they're looking for a little more Audrey and you're just too much Marilyn.  Too tall, too short, too bubbly, too dark, too young, too old -- all things that can (and will) knock you out of the running at some point.  The key is to learn to not have to be everything to everyone all the time.  You can't control it; you can only be you.  The actors who are confident and comfortable with being just themselves are the actors who build long-term careers.  

That being said, do not sacrifice the things you actually do have control over.  Though at times it doesn't seem like it, there is a long list of things over which you have complete control.  I've mentioned some before, and I'm sure I'll touch on others later, but today I want to tell you about my audition last week for a movie that I botched. 

Yeah, you read that right.  I know you come here for inspiration and for a guiding light in the navigation of this business, but sometimes our mistakes are our greatest teachers... and I'm no different.  

It was a great opportunity, a nice supporting role in a made-for-TV movie that was already getting press.  It was for a wonderful indie casting director who does TONS of movies, and I would die to be on her good list.  I finally got in to see her and for a role that was right in alignment with the types of roles I'd like to continue to build into the brand I'm developing for my career.  Glorious opportunity. 

Then I shot myself in the foot before I even walked in the room.  I (more or less) have control over how and when I get to the audition.  Allowing myself enough time to battle the inevitable LA gridlock in order to arrive at the office on time and stress-free is something that is entirely within my control.  I pushed it too close and spent the 40 minutes in traffic freaking out that I was going to be uber late for my glorious opportunity audition.  What's even worse, I was also getting increasingly angry with myself during the drive and how stupid it was to leave late.  Of all the things that can knock me out of the running, carrying stress from the drive into the room with me is something that I have the power to keep from happening.  I was supposed to be "bubbly dream girl" in that room, and while I pulled it together and gave a decent read, it wasn't booking material.  It wasn't my A-game.  

My job is to bring my A-game.  Every. Single. Time.  Letting a stressful drive get in the way was within my control to prevent.  Lesson learned.

An actor's second biggest mental obstacle to overcome?  Learning to let go of a bad audition.  Because guess what?  Despite your best efforts, they will still happen from time to time.  

Yep.  There's another thing you can't control.  Welcome to this crazy life.

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