When you are applying for jobs it’s usually your CV you have to worry about – your experience, your degree and how it all fits in with the company for which you are hoping to work. But with auditioning, it’s different. It’s not only about your training, your experience and how you look on paper: most of the time it’s about you.
All of us worry about what people think of us at some level (are we pretty enough, smart enough, are we liked) and the idea of someone criticising our person, our core, is terrifying. Unfortunately, as actors, this is something we have to deal with on a daily basis, and somehow we have to find a way not to take it personally.
It all depends on the panel. First, they will have a clear of vision in their heads of the character for which you are auditioning and even if you think it’s written for you they might disagree completely. And sometimes it’s not even about your looks. Sometimes it’s that vibe between two people that we just cannot control. It doesn’t matter what situation or where, whenever we meet a new person we pick up a vibe from them, their energy so to speak, and almost instantly we will respond to that – either we like it or we don’t.
Ever met someone you just dislike instantly but you don’t know why? Just something about the way they talk or move? Well, sometimes that’s you at auditions. Sometimes the panel just won’t like you and your energy for some reason; they might not even be aware of this themselves. And it doesn’t mean you are not a good actor or are a bad person.
I recently auditioned for a play and thought I’d be absolutely brilliant for the part. In my head no other actress would be able to play it and the director just had to see that. But of course she didn’t. She gave the part to someone else and I thought why?
Was it my personality? My looks? Or worse, my acting ability? Then after sobbing into some Ben & Jerry’s, I read an interview with Skyfall’s Naomie Harris in which she explained that she never gets worked up about not getting a part. If she doesn’t get it, it simply means it wasn’t her part – it was meant for someone else. And that mind-set is vital if you want to survive the life of an actor, I realised.
So don’t panic when you don’t get the part you want. Just because they don’t pick you doesn’t mean you are not talented. Even the biggest actors don’t get jobs. You never know what the panel are looking for, and sometimes they don’t either. Which can be very frustrating when you just want your big break now.
The same goes for those of you who are auditioning for drama schools – it’s not necessarily about your talent when you don’t get that important recall you’ve been waiting for for years. Every school is different and it all depends on the people who sit on the panel – and to be honest, some of them might not have a clue about what they want either.
You may not be to their taste, but that’s ok. The next audition might be a different story.
Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie