In the years I’ve had the privilege of working in this industry, I’ve set through a LOT of talent auditions. I can’t begin to tell you how many incredibly talented people I’ve auditioned and later had the privilege of working with on the set. They have given us beautiful moments of insight and inspiration. They have made us laugh and cry and have breathe life into dead ink and paper.
Unfortunately I’ve also had to sit through way too many terrible auditions. People who had no business being there and whose agent’s should have never sent them to the casting. That’s not to say that they were “bad” people, but for a number of reasons, they weren’t what the script called for. Which got me to thinking, what have I learned from all those years of casting calls? What’s the difference between talented and terrible? Usually, it comes down to these 5 simple things.
Know your lines. Nothing’s worse than walking into an audition completely unprepared. You’ve probably heard the old adage, “fake it ’til you make it”. Well don’t. Be prepared. Plan ahead. Apply yourself.
Not all roles are perfect for all people. The best role for you is the one your most comfortable with – the one where you play yourself. Think of it. You’ve spent a lifetime preparing for your role. No one can do you better than you. So that gives you a distinct advantage. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. No one else can play you as well as you can.
Just know that you’re not going to “win” every role you audition for. Don’t take it personal. Be kind to yourself. Not everyone has the same gifts and abilities. That’s okay. Figure out what you’re good at and do it. There are a lot of great resources to help you identify your gifts. Life is not fair. If you expect it to be, you are bound for a life full of disappointment.
Your experiences, which are uniquely your own, can prepare you for future roles in a way that acting classes can’t. None of us want to fail or hurt or suffer, but it is those experiences that can teach us wonderful things about life and who we are. In the end, it is precisely those experiences that give us more depth of character than anything else. So embrace the pain, find the silver lining and learn from it.
Intention in and of itself is not the answer. You have to act on your intention. You have to be purposeful. It’s like trying to convince your 4th grade teacher than you “meant” to do your homework – as if that should have counted for something. What you did and what you meant to do were separated by action or in this case, inaction. Andy Stanley says it this way, “It is direction not intention that determines destination”.
Life is full of disappointments and you can’t get every role you audition for, but tiy can learn from every audition. It can take time to find your perfect role. You may have to audition 1000 times, but that 1001 casting call may be just what you’ve prepared for your entire life. Until then, don’t be discouraged. Choose to see the up side, apply yourself, learn from your experiences and go on. Sure you may need to make course corrections, but don’t sit around and wait for someone to do it for you. You’re the only one who can make it happen. In the end, that’s the real difference between talented and terrible.