Updated: Aug 30, 2019
You’ve seen them. The actors walking into casting rooms looking like the picture of confidence. The actresses walking out of casting rooms with the “booked it” look.
OK, a fair percentage may very well be already (or still acting)…but what about the ones that really DO have the confidence they project? What are they doing to consistently nail every audition? Where did that inner peace come from? Well, in auditioning, as in life, most everything is out of our control. All the more reason to take charge of what is within your, “circle of influence,” as Covey teaches in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If we think about what we have control over as auditioning actors, what can we honestly include? Preparation, of course, including script analysis, coaching and rehearsing. Marketing materials like resume and headshots. Wardrobe. Hair. Makeup. Research into the people involved in the project. That’s all crucial, sure, but it’s also all useless if you ignore the most important factor: ONLY submit to roles solidly in your type.
I had intended to write this blog with a focus on “tips for nailing the audition” but after searching my 27 years of experience auditioning and talking with several successful actors, it became clear that the “secret” (if there is one) is knowing your type. No, EMBRACING your type. So, let’s talk about that – what it means and how it affects the audition. A bit of a revisit of my Embracing Your Type blog, but important as all hell, therefore worth exploring again from another perspective.
OK, I know. I can hear you resistance members out there scoffing, “Pish-posh, I’m diverse. I can play the strong power CEO or the sensitive mom.” Ummmm…. of course you can…that’s literally your job. You’re an actor. That doesn’t mean both are your type! Let me repeat. Just because you are talented enough to play the role does not mean that it is your type! Type does not equal talent! You have to know your brand. I believe in asking a professional to brand you. Or several professionals! Then stay within your niche. This is no way limits a great actor. Why? Think about it….
Let’s say you are the “Soccer Mom” type.
Don’t soccer moms experience the full range of human emotion? Couldn’t you bring more depth to your characters if you explored the layers of their personalities? Instead of having an attitude of, “I never get to show how diverse I am because I only ever get to play soccer moms,” couldn’t you find ways to bring the Power House, the Badass, the Slut and the Girl Next Door all into your character? And conversely doesn’t the badass always have a softer side? Would that satisfy your craving for diversity? It satisfies mine. Even when entire layers of my character are never are even hinted at on screen. My point is that you need to be super specific with what you submit yourself to. You can look out for that wholesome Dad with a secret weird obsession to showcase your chops while staying in your wheelhouse…. and I don’t believe that any character is one-dimensional, so if you’re stuck on that I’d recommend taking a look at your script analysis routine. Tough love, people, tough love!
Now that we’ve covered what it means to embrace your type, what does it mean to the audition when you do? In a nutshell… Less nerves, more confidence, better booking rate. Most actors with a bit of experience and the ability to self assess will tell you the more “right” you know you are for the part, the more confident you feel. Of course, the other factors I mentioned around preparation and materials come into play here, but overall it comes down to knowing you’re a good fit. Honestly, any working actor knows how to prepare a scene. It’s knowing which ones that people get all huffy about. If you know in your heart you’re not a good fit, it’s going to be really difficult to come those nerves, my friends! Why? Because you already know on a subconscious level that you are setting yourself up to reinforce your negative core beliefs. Artists are very prone to this.
Jen Rudolph of The Actor’s Green Room talks about self sabotage a great deal. When we do not have true confidence in ourselves we are primed for self-sabotage. Ironically, we actually do this negative reinforcement to feel secure. We somehow feel safe and validated knowing that our core negative beliefs were “right.” It’s our Ego saying, “you’ve got this all figured out, see?” or “I knew I wasn’t right for that part so I don’t feel rejected.”
Stop. Going. After. EVERY role that matches your age/ethnic/gender. “Your talent is not in jeopardy” – Natalie Roy. You don’t need to prove to anyone, including yourself, how huge your “range” is. And anyway, it’s all in every character if you look.