Archive for Auditions

Why didn’t I get that job?

A few weeks ago I went in for an audition and was pleasantly surprised to see a director I knew. This was my second time being seen by this director, and though we had never actually worked together,  they had just wrapped up a project that a good friend was working on. I liked this director. We had a good connection, they communicated their notes well, and the experience felt less like an audition and more like a rehearsal in which I was free to explore and make choices. Even more importantly, I felt appreciated. My time and my choices were both clearly valued by this person. Personally, as an artist there are very few things for me that feel better than walking out of an audition knowing it was time well spent.

Cut to the call back, an equally pleasant experience. Again I felt valued, free, and (hopefully) my choices and connection to the material reflected that. I went home that night confident that I had given the best interpretation of the character that I could.

Now, here’s the kicker: I didn’t get the job.

I would like to say that I shrugged it off, but let’s face it, I’m human and I’m an actor. I dissected my call back from top to bottom over the next week. Was I too confident? Not confident enough? Did I really give it my all? Did I somehow offend someone in the room?

And then I stumbled on this wonderful little video from one of the greats of our generation, Bryan Cranston. Seriously, if you do nothing else for yourself as an actor all week long, watch this clip:

Did you watch it? I’ll know if you’re lying.

One minute and thirty seconds of life changing advice. My job wasn’t to walk into that room and get a job. My job was to walk in that room and create a character, let him live his life, and then walk away. If I managed that (and I think I did) then my work was done. I don’t need to worry about why I didn’t get a job because, as Master Cranston says, that’s out of my control.

I have  one more story, and though this is a borrowed one, it feels like it belongs here. I know someone who was loosely involved with auditions for a major acting school last year. A young man who was trying for a graduate position at this school gave a phenomenal audition. The audition panel was extremely complimentary after he left the room.  They said it was one of the best performances they had seen in years. And in the end he didn’t even make it to the first round of callbacks.

Why? I kid you not, he was too good. The panel felt he wouldn’t learn anything by attending their school, and they should use the slot for someone who needed to grow.

This young man doesn’t know why he didn’t make it in, and he probably won’t ever find out. I’m not saying we don’t get the role because we are always too good (though my ego would like to believe that!) But we can appreciate that not getting it is out of our hands. Auditions are tough, but as long as we walk in, create a character, and behave truthfully, we can walk out with our heads held high and ready for the next one.


Let’s talk about being prepared

I’m going to tell you a story. And I’m not going to tell you the name of the actor in the story because, quite frankly, he is rather embarrassed by the whole situation and it’s hard enough for him to sit here and write this without worrying about anonymous judgement. Plus he should have known better. So all names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent and any similarities to real world people or events are purely coincidental. Especially to the writer of this blog.

This story has three main characters. The first is the aforementioned actor. The second is the rather large and ugly ego of the aforementioned actor. The third is a pair of shoes that should have been thrown away weeks ago. Seriously Tim, throw the shoes away.

One day several weeks ago the actor received an email from a casting agency who claimed he had submitted for a previous project they were working on. The message read like many of these emails do. It named a location and time for the actor to audition for a commercial. And the actor did his homework….sort of. He looked up the casting agency, located in Pennsylvania. He sort of checked out the location where he would be expected to arrive 15 minutes early. And then EGO, the second character in this melodrama, entered via the trap door center stage. Ego whispered in the actor’s ear:

“Don’t worry. You’ll figure it out. You’ve done this a thousand times. What’s happening on Facebook?”

And the actor, comfortable in his illusion of experience, spent an hour coming up with a clever status update rather than doing his research.

And then the day of the audition arrived. As the actor started to dress himself he realized that he had forgotten his audition shoes on the set of his last short film. He felt a cold chill creep down his spine. Fortunately, Ego was close at hand to sooth the actors fear.

“Don’t worry! It’s just going to be another silly audition for a small role in a half thought out concept. You’re the ACTOR! Why don’t you wear the black sneakers instead?”

“Really?” asked the actor. “The ones with the holes near the little toe and the frayed laces?”

“Sure! They’ll be so impressed with you they won’t even look at your feet.”

“Okay. Then maybe I’ll do some vocal work for a few minutes.”

“Um, yeah, you could do that. Or you could check out this awesome youtube video that just went viral off the chain!”


30 unproductive minutes later he walked to the train, in his awful sneakers, and rode to the appointed stop in Chelsea. And then the actor meandered down 24th street towards the Hudson with Ego holding his hand telling him how good his work is.

They arrived together at the location. They walked down the long hallway to the elevator. The private elevator. For the company. Private. Elevator. Ego hesitated.

“Hey man, I’m going to go get a latte. I’ll catch up with you in a minute.”

“Are you sure-”

“Yeah man, I’ll be right back. You do your thang’ actor man!”

And then the actor was alone. He rode up the private elevator and signed in with the secretary in the waiting room. He sat down in the comfortable, plush leather seats, underneath a plethora of prestigious awards and recognitions. His knee bounced at roughly 300 mph. Across from him sat another actor of roughly the same age and look. This other actor looked great in his new shoes.

Twenty minutes later the actor exited the private elevator. Ego was waiting in the lobby.

“Hey dude, how’d it go?”

“Well, the place was huge, I was totally off my game, and the casting assistant definitely took note of my crappy vans. Why didn’t we set out clothes out the night before? Or spend some time warming up this morning? Or look this place up?”

Ego shrugged.

“Don’t look at me man, I’m just the Ego. You’re supposed to be the actor here.”


The shoes have since been replaced.