I have been told many things by very many different people in the few years I have started this whole performance thing. The one thing I feel you have no control over though are auditions.
Now I have heard many different things from people. A lecturer told me, that as a girl (or women, depending on the role I’m auditioning for. I’m in that phase where it could swing either way) my acting skill and ability has nothing to do with whether I get cast or not. It’s all down to how we look, and that the elusive givers of dreams and work make up their minds within 20seconds as to whether they will give you a job, or sign you, or whatever the occasion may be. So before I go to an audition I make sure I look the best I can look. I’m cleaned, spruced, shaven, painted. I’ve constructed a look for myself that I’m happy with and it takes work, and time, to recreate it for every audition. It’s somewhere between the natural, crazy me and the poised side that I have when I need it.
My honours director in my first year told me I should expect to do roughly 100 auditions before I land my first job. “Just don’t give up” was his advice. My mother seems to concur. Whenever she watches a documentary, or hears a clip about some well-known personality she eagerly phones me to tell me about the setbacks this now-famous person had to get themselves from anonymity to where they are now. I appreciate this. Sometimes she phones on the day that I need to hear it most. And it’s good for us who are struggling to do what we love to hear that stars also struggled once. That people told them that they were foolish, weren’t pretty enough, or thin enough, or that they were merely dreaming.
A friend of mine said I need to become audition fit. That once I’ve done it enough the nerves will go away, and I’ll get good at gauging what the faces on the other side of contract want from me, so I can give to them. And although I’m a realist, I can’t help imagining what it would be like to get the part. How it would feel to be on stage, rehearsing, or being on set. What I’ll probably have to wear, where it might take me.
I don’t think there is a formula. I struck it lucky once and I know it. The one thing that I have learned from my experience is just enjoy myself. If I’m not doing this because I enjoy it there really is no point. I learned this during a dance audition. About halfway through the routine I was dancing l just let go. My technique wasn’t perfect, and I no one knew the routine properly, but I decided to just enjoy myself. I had driven all that way, practiced my song, practiced my pirouettes and now I was here, at this critical moment. And I just let go. I realised the moment that I started to enjoy myself that the whole panel immediately started watching me. Because I absolutely loved what I was doing, and that was the key. And the faces on the other side of the contract saw that.
So now I prepare as much as I can before the time. I know my music, and know the lines. I warm up, I have the backup of my backtrack, and I have the right clothes on. I am dressed for the part, my curls are in my place along with my mascara and my smile. But once I step on that stage (or in the cubicle for film) I just let go. I control what I can and enjoy the rest. I’ll still see how far this will bring me but at least I’ll be enjoying the journey.