In the last eight months since graduating from WAAPA I’ve had a fair few realizations about work, life, and big city living. One of those realisations was that for the most part, enjoying the deliciously warm climate and seemingly endless Perth summer for me is now a thing of the past. Instead, I’ve been put to the task of learning to love Sydney’s brisk, wet and windy winters. I think in a lot of ways the weather serves as a great metaphor for the journey we take as actors leaving drama school. See don’t get me wrong, Sydney does dish up some amazing weather and when it does it’s great to get out and bask in the glory of it, but in the colder months of the year, even when the suns been out, there are times I question if I’ll ever be warm again in my life.
At drama school we have that climate control, the bubble; whether it be Mt Lawley or Kensington, WAAPA or NIDA, the support of those institutions that are constantly testing us and making us work, keep our minds sharp and passion for our craft fueled. Keeping that going on the outside is one of the hardest parts of our journey. Naturally it’s also one of the most pivotal elements of ongoing success. People often say to drama grads the hardest thing about acting is the rejection. The thing they don’t make clear is where that rejection hits the hardest. Not just in a post audition sense, but in a not even getting a chance to audition in the first place sense. See I can take post audition rejection; being given the chance to work hard and show my best take on a character regardless of the outcome is fine in my books, but when you see a character you feel strongly suited to and yet can’t get an audition for, that can be disheartening.
Because of this reality one of the things I really wanted to impart to you who may reading this was: do your very best to avoid getting sickly nervous over an audition, never under value an audition, or be lazy in your preparation for it. Because in the real world auditions are your very best friend. Enjoy them! Until you can get consistent work in theatre or film, which touch wood happens for all of you, auditioning is your work as an actor, and it should be rewarding without even landing the part. I recently heard Anne Hathaway say in an interview regarding her screen test for the Dark Knight Rises (which I unashamedly loved so much i wanted to stand up and clap at the end), “I might only get the chance to play this character for 24 hours in my entire life so I’m going to enjoy myself.”
It’s that kind of attitude that will get you a role, and if you don’t get that role, then it will more than likely get you back in the room the next time that director is casting something. The fact is, you wont be right for every role, but if you can develop a reputation with directors and casting directors as someone who loves the process and seizes every opportunity they’re given, they will remember you when the time’s right. That goes for blockbusters right through to guerrilla style indie’s. Give it all you’ve got and you’ll be your agents best friend as well.
My only other advice to you brave peeps about to make the leap this November is don’t forget your friends. Together we thrive. Whether its drinking together, living together or working together, your friends will be the ones to get you through the tough times. It’s their collaboration as artists that will also give you the best leg up in starting your career. Because the second great truth to life on the outside is that creation is the spice of life. It will keep your perspective sharp and creative juices flowing.
Now… Break a leg and see you in the summer time.