As an actor, as a performer, as a human; I'm no stranger to that feeling of rejection. We've all been there. Rejection in auditions, job interviews, life, love; you name it. Developing a thick skin early on is vital to not only your success as a performer, but more importantly as a human.
I've seen many an Actor and Actress drop off, pull out, fade away and give up on this industry because their dreams, be them realistic or otherwise, have not quite come to fruition when they expected them to.
Last night, I had an audition for a new film production called Operation Ares. I was in the worst possible situation I could imagine. A month ago I was in hospital undergoing surgery, the day prior was my birthday and between this and only receiving the audition confirmation with script and monologue about 24 hours prior, I literally had no time at all to go through any of it. What to do?!
Youth and inexperience would have resulted in a range of solutions, such as pulling out by succumbing to fears, trying desperately to reschedule to another day, notifying them that you'd be running late or even arriving there showing clear signs of stress and attempting to memorise everything and stop yourself from sweating and shaking in the process.
Thankfully, I did none of the above. In fact, I arrived early, sat patiently and quietly in the waiting room, crossed my right leg over the left and casually read the monologue to myself, twice only. It was then folded and placed back into my pocket where I continued to wait, thinking about what I had just read, who the characters were, what the backstory was and what emotion I envisaged them to be experiencing in amongst this scene. Once that was done, I waited, focusing only my breathing and lowering of my heart rate.
Alas, it was my time. I was called in and greeted by the Director and Producer. I sat calm, but very assertive. After a small discussion about my background I was given a brief about the story, the characters and the situation. I was given three opportunities to perform the monologue, first standing followed by two seated. I remembered keywords of what I read in the waiting area and much else went by feel and flow of the situation, looking down occasionally. Yes, I ad-libbed and added additional dialogue, but all in context. The first one, I barrelled the lens, the subsequent two, I had a direct eye line off camera with the Producer.
After all three were over, I then sneaked around the room holding a TV remote as a makeshift gun looking like the cool, calm and collected Pierce Brosnan in 007. And that was that. I wasn’t sweating, I wasn’t shaking and I wasn’t stressed or anxious. I was as calm, focused and positive as I needed to be.
What’s more, is that I received unbelievably positive feedback from the Producer, such as being able to listen and take direction very well and quickly in addition to giving great performances with conviction and emotion exactly at the level where it needed to be. I was also told that it’s evident I’m no stranger to auditions as I did exactly what was asked of me and what they were looking for. Little did they know how underprepared I was.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, there are many different degrees and interpretations of success as an Actor and more importantly, as a human. Did I land the job? Not sure yet, it’s too early to know, but with hand on my heart I can honestly say that even if I do not, in my eyes, I walked away successful. This post is not about giving tips and hints on how to land an audition or how to prepare for one, it’s about something so much more important and valuable to your sense of being and personal growth, it’s about self-worth, authenticity and conviction. If you can be truthful to yourself despite all that is happening in and around your world and still maintain a sense of self and remain true to only that, then you will be successful, in the most awe-inspiring of ways.
Success to me isn’t about the relentless desire some have to achieve status, fame, wealth or notoriety; experience and maturity in this game has taught me the power of self-worth, authenticity and conviction. If you can conduct yourself according to these values and virtues, then success will come to you to the point where even if you do not land a job, you can still walk away feeling empowered and successful – having others point it out need really only be the icing on a cake, as it was in this case.
Speaking of cake, I still have some birthday cake leftover. Over and out.