Bouncing Back – The Art of Rebounding from a Bad Audition

Let’s face it, it’s happened to all of us. Sometimes it’s just a red-letter kind of day. We’re two minutes late. We forget our sides on our coffee table. We realize two weeks later we never sent a follow up email. Then, of course, we spend our next few days, restless nights, sometimes whole weeks or months beating ourselves up about it! These are things that just happen, sometimes auditions go badly.

But; what about when we make mistakes in our performance during the audition?

Imagine it. You’re in front of a director, casting director, or producer, or ALL THREE. Then suddenly your mind goes grey, you lose your place on the copy, maybe even drop the script and go completely out of frame. You even flub your own name for the slate. It’s just one of those auditions when it feels like not a thing is going right. You walk out of the room, down the hall, and get in your car. Before you know it you’re sitting up in bed saying out loud “What the heck happened in there?!”.

Don’t worry. Breathe. There are steps you can take to pull yourself together.

Forgive yourself!

Do it and do it right away. Giving yourself grief will only give merit to that little overly-critical voice in your head. Shut it down. Pull your head up and remind yourself that you chose this. You love this. There is nothing else you would rather do with your life than this. Anything you love that much, anything that worth having, is worth a bad day here and there.

Keep On Keeping On.

If you catch yourself in a momentary mess in the audition room, don’t let anyone else in there know you made a mistake. They may not even see it as a mistake until you condemn yourself with a sheepish look to them and mutter “Sorry”. Just keep going. Rock the rest of the minutes you have in there. Each moment is gift. Don’t let one silly thing wreck the rest. Be professional, get on with the work, and you will be respected for it.

Remember What You’ve Learned.

This is what you studied for in every acting class. This is what you trained for during every summer camp. This is what you prepared for in every previous acting audition. If you get lost or thrown, use the tools you know to find your way back. These are your bread crumbs. Drive your focus into your character, into your scene partner, into the dialogue, not towards your momentary blunder. That’s how you can make a mistake just that; momentary.

What Next?

So you had bad audition. Now what? First of all, it’s only a bad audition in your mind. It will always only be in your mind. Unless that casting director one day bumps into you on the street and exclaims, “Oh, it’s you! You’re the one who stunk up that audition!” Which will NEVER happen. You never know. Maybe the mistake went unnoticed, or maybe it wasn’t even seen that way. Often times casting directors want to see something organic or honest. Mistakes are part of the game, and they know it. They’ve moved on. So should you. Every mistake, however big or small, is a learning tool. Always be willing to reflect, extract something positive from your experience that you can use going forward, then move on. Perspective is a powerful asset of yours. Use it to your advantage, not your detriment.

You are not your mistake. You just made one. Just like every other actor has in history.

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