Auditions: Are They A Pleasure Or A Chore? By Nicole Gaskell
It is a question I often ask myself when preparing for an audition or walking away from one, "Am I enjoying this process right now or do I secretly wish I was doing something else?" or, "Did it feel like hell, could I not wait for it to be over?"
On a personal note I can say – I've most certainly experienced both scenarios!
I've come into contact with a huge percentage of actors who see auditions as a chore/ unpleasant experience and a much smaller percentage who love them.
Whilst it may take an actor time and lots of audition practice, I believe we are all capable of turning audition loathe into audition love.
At times, I've been frightened of auditions myself - but I've also witnessed other actors turn their negative audition views around...
Recently I had a very last minute audition for a well known classical play – touring No.1 & No.2 venues.
I had to choose a specific monologue to perform (which in my case I didn't have under my belt) and of course there was the actual play I needed to know about.
I started off with 'audition chore' thoughts, such as 'there isn't enough time to do all this', 'I've only got a few hours', 'I need quiet prep time, ahhh...' etc. etc.
In this particular scenario it was only arriving at the audition venue and witnessing the fear on other actors faces in the waiting room, that made me realise that I needed to tweak what I was doing.
You see, I was in panic mode.
Did I know my lines well enough?
I made the decision that rather then fuelling my doubt, I would actually have the lines/ book to hand.
This worked given that my character refers to her diary later in the scene.
It was late in the game, but making that one decision totally grounded me and really helped to diffuse my stress.
I got into the room, made a connection with the panel (you can actually listen effectively when you're not worrying) and delivered my audition piece.
I'm big on playing your audition piece to another person, i.e. looking them right in the eye, as if they are the person you are talking to in the scene - the reality of doing as opposed to pretending!
Well it actually felt effortless and fun... and ironically I didn't look down at my lines once!
I got a recall and have lots more stuff to prepare, but this time I'm much more relaxed about it all.
So how can you turn audition loathe into audition love?
You need to reflect on previous negative audition experience.
Pinpoint what it was that was creating audition ill-will and put steps in place to counteract the negativity next time.
It's worth remembering that most established actors have been through this process too - audition technique is something that you'll no doubt tweak for the rest of your career.
So, of course auditions can be pleasurable!
Like any job interview, they will always be nerve-racking, but if you deal positively with the obstacles clouding your ability to 'give your best', you might just find yourself having fun!
Actors Temple offer coaching for anyone preparing for film, TV, stage or drama school auditions, who wants to turn their current experience around.