No Excuses – Do Your Acting Homework

June 22, 2010

Today I had an audition, a fairly easy one that was right up my alley. I was to wear a suit and just stand up and talk a lot, a skill-set that represents 99% of the jobs I’ve been booking this year.

The problem came with the talking part: see, for some reason I had convinced myself that there were no lines involved in this audition. Thinking on it now I think I got it mixed up with another casting call for the same day, one to which I was not invited. Anyway, I walked in and immediately noticed sides on the table. No problem, I thought, I’ll just fill out the forms and then get to work on the dialogue.

The problem there was that I had arrived on time to the audition, which means that I was essentially late. I didn’t have enough time to fill out my forms and properly prepare for the dialogue, because no sooner had I gotten a headshot out of my bag than I was called in to audition. I couldn’t even send someone else in ahead of me, I was the only schlub there.

So I went in, and luckily the script was on a teleprompter. It was, unfortunately, not the script for which I had minimally prepared (all of a quick glance in the waiting room); so I stumbled through it, choked on my words, swallowed syllables. I basically blew it.

Luckily I’m really good at what I do and even when I blow it, I come off fairly well. The director offered some direction and gave me another go-round. I composed myself inwardly, asked to have the teleprompter slowed down, then did it again like a pro. It was nothing like nailing it the moment you walk through the door, but at least I recovered somewhat gracefully.

Th real problem in all of this debacle is that I’m entirely too lazy a person and have never put in the right amount of work to achieve the goal that I’m after. It takes a lot of effort for me to do the bare minimum; it’s just that I’m generally so good at what most people perceive as the bare minimum that it looks like I’m doing a really great job.

So, to recap your audition checklist:

  • On time means ten minutes early.
  • Know your lines… the correct lines.
  • Read the casting notice or email from your agent carefully, so you know what you’re walking into before you walk in.
  • Review everything once more before you enter the waiting room.
  • Don’t be sitting outside the casting room like a dunce if you’re not ready to go in and nail it. Better to be a few minutes late than on time and unprepared.

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