In the past month I’ve had piles of auditions and it made me think of what an actor should do after an audition. There are a few steps I go through after each audition and I’d like to share with you my post-audition ritual:
Throw Out the Sides: If you don’t know what audition sides are, they’re selections from a script chosen for an audition. When I walk out of an audition I throw out my sides. Well, that’s my second choice. The first choice is to leave them outside the casting room so another actor can use them. If I left my copy in my car or at home I throw them out the first chance I get. If I get a callback I just look them up again.
Archive Any E-Mails About the Project This includes any casting notices, copies of the script or love letters from the casting director. I get it all out of my inbox. If I have anything to look up in the future about the project I can search for the e-mails.
Try to Forget Anything Anyone Ever Told Me About the Project: I ignore posted “callback” or “shoot” dates which are often wrong anyway. I try to forget any compliment or slight the director gave me and I stop myself from analyzing them (What did he mean by “nice job?”). I try my hardest to not calculate how much I’d get paid on that national commercial.
Take Five Minutes to Analyze the Audition: After forgetting all the nitty gritty and putting business stuff out of my mind I take five minutes to think about what I did in the room and what I could have done better. This step doesn’t take an hour or a week, five minutes is more than enough. This is a great activity to do in your car. It’s famously known that the best audition you ever do is to your rear view mirror on the way home from the actual audition. I take whatever lessons I can from each audition and then move on to the final step:
Forget The Rest of the Audition: Forget those lines you flubbed or the flat line reading and go on to something else. Go hit the driving range, read a book or just watch some TV. Obsessing over a past audition isn’t going to help you land the role or improve as an actor.
This was all prompted by my audition about an hour ago. It was flatter and less inspired than I thought it should have been. By the time I got home I had pretty much forgotten all about it. When I thought back about the audition I said, “I was flat, didn’t do enough with it. Next time I’ll reach a little more with it and let them dial me back.” Those were my only thoughts. I wasn’t thinking about shoot dates or anything, simply that one thought. It took me years to get to that point but it’s probably my most useful skill as an actor (besides acting).
Obsessing over audition and waiting for the phone to ring can make the whole acting experience miserable.