Let's talk about auditions...
Do you think auditioning is about being perfect? Like, every line has to be just so, said in a certain way, rehearsed, repeated, and then locked in, so that when you're in the room or on Zoom with a casting director, you know exactly what to expect. No surprises. That's what you need to be to book. Perfect.
I remember way back when I was first starting to audition. I'd sit in the lobby with my heart pounding in my throat, mouth dry. I had prepared my audition to the nth degree. I knew every inflection of every line that I was going to say, rehearsed every beat, knew my reactions. In other words, I not only was prepared, I brought my auditions into the room like a polished glass statue, gleaming and perfect. If everything went as planned, the gleaming statue would emerge intact and that, in my mind, was a successful audition.
The problem was, it never went as planned. Something would happen. The reader may have read a line in an unexpected way. Or more commonly, nerves would get to me and I would do, or say, or react in a way that was unplanned. The perfection went out the window and the glass statue would shatter. Audition over.
Perfection is a trap.
Let me say that again and this time, say it with me. PERFECTION IS A TRAP. Strike that word from your vocabulary and replace it with this.
PRESENT. Not like the gift, even though this concept is a gift. I mean like being present. In the moment. Loose. Flexible. Ready to adapt. And more importantly, leaving the door open for something magical to happen.
When you audition, prepared and PRESENT, leaving yourself open for the unexpected and taking each moment as it happens, that's when sparks can fly. If you drop a line, how do you recover? Do you stumble? Does it fluster you? Do you take a moment to reset? Maybe that's exactly what your character would do in that moment. If the reader says something to you in an unexpected way, does it catch you off guard? Do you react spontaneously? These are the golden moments that are gifts to actors, the moments that casting directors look for, the moments that book you the audition.
Does this mean screw up on purpose? No. But what it does mean that preparation does not mean locking in a performance, but rather being so prepared that you are able to be absolutely present, listening, responding, reacting in the moment, and allowing any flaws not to shatter your perfect glass statue, but rather be assets and potential moments of brilliance.
Be prepared. Strive for excellence. Visualize your goals in the audition room and on the set. Forget about being perfect.
Now go out there and book!