casting-calls-take-risks.jpgWhen we go see a play or venture to the movies, we all can enjoy the performances of those thespians who commit so wholeheartedly to their roles. Being able to deeply delve into another person’s life is precisely the drive that inspires so many actors to enter the field. Although committing to your performances at auditions won’t make you the right fit for every role, your efforts will be immediately recognized and refreshing to casting directors–who will, in turn, keep you in mind for future casting calls. So what is it that interferes with actors giving their all to their characters? While every individual has his or her own challenges, here are a few obstacles to be aware of:


Unwillingness to Take Risks

The fear of possibly making a fool of oneself in public is certainly a rational anxiety. Really now, that’s something most of us seek to avoid as we navigate our daily activities. But when you’re performing, you always have a choice to default to the safe, obvious approach, or to unleash unexpected and complex qualities into your character. With this more risky approach you can still hit or miss the target–indeed, sometimes you can expect to fall flat on your face. But all things considered, it’s a lot less risky in the long run than always playing too cautiously, too predictably, and risk being mediocre. After all, people take notice of subtleties, originality, and bravery. When you courageously dare to reveal your own vulnerability, and express emotions that are normally reserved for private moments or with your closest ties, you will be respected whether you’re the best fit for the role or not. Taking risks is essential to your development as an actor.

The Discomfort of “Losing Yourself”

There was a reason why Francis Ford Coppola asked Talia Shire who played Connie in The Godfather to wear only the finest undergarments under her wedding dress while shooting the film even though it was expensive, inconvenient, and would have been far more practical to find a cheaper version–especially considering no one watching the film would ever know the difference. But Coppola wanted Talia to truly feel the privileged life that her character was experiencing on her special day, in hopes she’d be swept into the role of Connie more genuinely. While it’s obviously a lot more complicated than simply putting on a garment (and many would argue that the real silk was indeed unnecessary) remarkable acting does require a distinct passion to feel the part, and a trust in yourself to momentarily surrender to the quest of bringing “life” to this new person. This distinctly differs from simply memorizing your lines. It’s about going beyond the mechanics of acting and transforming yourself generously for the sake of art. Letting go of yourself requires a conscious decision to release the principles and mores that guide your everyday life for the sake of the character at hand.

You haven’t committed to being an actor

It’s hard not to be affected by career indecision when you are in the auditioning room. There’s a saying out there that maintains if there’s anything else you can envision yourself doing other than being an actor, then do it instead. That’s because it takes so much passion, and conviction, and willingness to hone your craft, and an ambition to put yourself out there despite lurking rejection and financial challenges that it’s going to require your all. If you feel on the fence as far as committing to your career, you might find it helpful to listen to philosopher Ruth Chang who offers insights into the major life choices people make. As Chang describes it, “When we create reasons for ourselves to become this kind of person rather than that, we wholeheartedly become the people that we are. You might say that we become the authors of our own lives.” If indecision is stopping you from fully committing to a role or mitigating your efforts, then it’s something you need to be cognizant of, and address it. Remember, your auditions will be compared to others who indeed have committed to their acting careers.

These are just a few of the obstacles that can interfere with the quality of an actor’s work. Everyone is trying to improve in some area of his or her career. So keep positive–and keep evolving. The world is waiting to admire your work!