What Could You Have Done Better in Your Audition?

February 11, 2016

When you exit the audition room, do you find yourself mulling over what went well and what went “wrong?” Actors really put themselves on the line in auditions regardless of their skill and experience levels. And the pressure to get it “right” amidst all the competition can potentially wreak havoc in the actor’s mind. Maybe you’ve noticed this with a fellow actor who calls you up after an audition to give you a play-by-play description of exactly how it went.

Now, Bryan Cranston has spoken about a revelation he once had in his career which inspired him to stop going into auditions “trying to get a job.” Rather, he changed his focus to creating “a compelling, interesting character that serves the text, presented in the environment where your audition happens, and then you walk away–and that’s it. Everything else is out of your control, so don’t even think of it….And there it is; you walk away.”

By emphasizing the “walking away,” it sounds like Cranston highlights the finality of the audition process, and whatever happens in there doesn’t consume him after he leaves. This is practical advice to keep things in perspective, and indeed Cranston attributes this outlook as a breakthrough in his career. But what about if you’re an actor who’s still working on your skill set? What if you’re very much in the midst of finding out which techniques work and don’t work for you whether it be in the acting-skills or self-confidence department? Choosing not to reflect upon the audition experience could be a valuable missed opportunity.

So where’s the balance between, on one hand, overdoing the self-reflection, and on the other hand, self-assuredly letting go of the experience? Master Talent Teacher Carolyne Barry has some constructive advice on how talent can review experiences that occur in the audition room in a healthy way, and keep your overall skill set advancing forward. In this video clip, Barry states:

“…Most actors after the audition tend to either forget about it totally or beat themselves up. Neither one of those scenarios is healthy or productive or even creative. I suggest that after your audition you walk away thinking, ‘Okay, what did I do good?’ I’m sure that if you really analyze it you will know what you did well. And then that could be reinforced. But then you think about two or three things that you could do better–not that what you did wrong–but what you could do better. And then you go home and you practice those two or three things. You get a camera whether it’s an iPhone or a regular video camera, and you shoot yourself practicing what you could do better–not lines, but certain things that you could have done better. And so that your acting keeps improving.”

Barry asserts that with this practice, your acting will improve with each audition you go on. When you enter the audition room doors with the frame of mind that this is a learning process, maybe that can help minimize nerves as well.

Have you ever tried this exercise? Have you ever used your cellphone or tablet as a tool to improve your techniques? How do you handle your thoughts after exiting the audition room doors? Please share.