We’ve all experienced the post audition blues. We’ve read the script a hundred times, put in hours of detailed work on the scenes, and done an intense physical workout in anticipation of that career changing role. Only to hear that someone with more profile and less talent has landed the role. So, how can actors manage their expectations after an audition?
Friend/Family: How’d your audition go?
You: I’m a terrible actor!
How many times have you heard another actor beat themselves up after an audition? “I sucked” “I can’t act.” “I will never get that role.” I hear it daily. It’s actors trying to lower their expectations of success so that they can avoid disappointment if they don’t book the gig. The only problem is they still want the job. But now they will have to be excited, and suffer, in silence.
Trying to control your expectations and/or excitement after an audition is pointless. As actors we are inherently emotional beings. We feel. And recognising how we truly feel about something is the most important step in staying healthy in the face of rejection. It’s okay to be excited. It’s okay to be scared. It’s OKAY TO WANT A ROLE. So the first step in managing your expectations after an audition is to stop trying to manage your expectations. Ha!
It’s really easy to feel helpless as an early career actor. Contorting yourself into any available character in order to land a role; to get that break. But hear this! Your career is your career. You are in control. And the best way to stay in control of your career and your post audition expectations is to have a goal – or in acting terms, an objective. Let’s talk about audition objectives and career objectives.
Audition objectives will vary depending on the role, and project. Here are some of the most common audition objectives I use: to have fun, to be on time, to challenge myself, to earn money, to do my best work, to improve my relationship with the casting director, to show a director my work, to hit an important moment… what do all of these objectives have in common? They aren’t about landing the role. They are all things I can achieve in the audition room. Next time you have an audition, set yourself a goal that you can reach in the room.
Career objectives are equally as important for managing post audition blues. And again, they will vary depending on the type of job you’re up for. Career objectives are all about audition selection. If you go into a commercial casting for toothpaste with the career goal of working with Martin Scorsese – YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL TERRIBLE AFTERWARDS. But if your career goal is to survive in Hollywood until the end of pilot season, you’ll feel fine. So you can see how aligning your audition goals with your career goals can minimise the damage after an audition.
In an attempt to save ourselves the heartache of missing out on a role, we practice not talking about auditions. I totally understand that way of thinking… but I think it’s time for a change. It’s time to start sharing our thoughts/feelings/expectations/hopes/fears. I’m not talking about posting a #auditiontime post in your instagram story. I’m talking about sharing with a close group of friends and family. People who know you, and your goals.
I have started sharing my acting hopes and fears with my family and non-actor friends, with the caveat that I will let them know how auditions went; if I want to talk about it. I don’t want the added pressure of living up to their expectations! But I know that it’s important to have an emotional safety net; people to talk to when things don’t go your way – and people to share in the excitement when they do!
I’m not great at conclusions, so all I will say is; it’s okay to want something, but let go of those disney-castle-proportioned-high-expectations, and good luck!