Auditions are a strange beast. As a performer we long for them, we spend months dreaming of a call or a response to an email, and yet, when we finally receive the carrier pigeon, we find ourselves in a state of fear.
Having spent a decade in this boat-come-dingy, it’s clear to me, we pile too much pressure on ourselves. We’re very much our own worst enemy before we’ve walked out the front door, let alone into the audition room. We often forget the people in that room want us to do well. It’s true that sometimes they find it impossible to raise their head above a laptop screen, or struggle even to remember your one syllable name… but it's easy to forget, they want you to nail it.
It can also be hard to appreciate the complexities of production, whilst you’re the one being asked to improvise with a hoover. I recall the first audition I had after drama school where the director stopped me halfway through a scene to ask if I was mentally handicapped. I couldn’t stop laughing because of the ridiculousness of the situation.
As performers we place ourselves in crazy scenarios continually. It’s how we adapt to those scenarios that makes us stronger, and subsequently successful. One tip is to use auditions as future anecdote opportunities, as opposed to cringing at the horrors. I’ve found talking with friends and family is the best therapy.
I have a crocodile skin. It didn’t come easily. And there’s certainly lot of bruises to show. But what is key to remember is that what we do isn’t normal. We find ourselves in a world where people choose self-check outs over a free cashier. We text rather than call. Yet performers charge through this norm, putting themselves out there and often without feedback, guidance or support, and certainly no polite email to say, “Thanks but we went a different way.”
The truth is, we don’t acknowledge how impressive we are. To go through large periods of nothing before we’re told to bungee jump off a cliff is unthinkable to most people. When the time comes, and we’re taken off this world, we can be proud that we went for it. We tried. We gave it our best... and someone thinks I’m mentally handicapped.
Find out more about Rob Macpherson