Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Perception vs Reality

Wednesday musings...

When you are you auditioning, you are trying to get a job.

What do you bring into that room besides your talent?!?!!?

If you think talent is the only thing that is considered, you are highly mistaken.

Every one of you who read this blog know people who work in our business who are not the most talented. But they WORK. Why?

Talent does not account for everything. Why?

If you do not begin to truly develop a capacity to see how you come across and begin to work on YOU then why are you there?

If talent isn't everything, but behavior reveals everything, are you working on your behavior as well as your talent?

How are you perceived when you walk into the audition room? Is that perception real or imaginary?

Reality is NOT a fixed concept. Just because you view yourself one way, does not mean you come across that way.

What do you BRING? You cannot control everything - the agenda, the isms of the casting company, the business itself - but you CAN control your preparedness, your professionalism, your language, you accessibility, your personality, your truthfulness.

"What you cannot afford to be wrong about is WHO you are and WHAT you stand for." From my beloved husband, Thomas Young.

As an artist, you cannot compromise that. Do you know the answer to the WHO and the WHAT? THIS is just as important as the study and development of craft.

This does not mean pretending. This means getting real. This means discovering HOW you come across in that audition room, in that consultation space, in the hallway. EVERYBODY talks. Our business is small and the nooks and crannies of each genre in the business are even smaller. How you behave and how you come across is often stronger than your talent.

If you sing like a goddess and behave like a cold fish, chances are "they" will go with someone who might not have the same talent, but rather enough talent with a personality that doesn't seem difficult. Who wouldn't want to work with someone accessible and open?

Don't try to impress. That's phony and "jazz hands" too...that's the pukey perky that is false and nauseating. MAKE AN IMPRESSION, do not impress. The impression is up to you. An impression can be positive or negative.

If you want to pursue a career in this business, you MUST have the capacity to look at yourself honestly and find out how you come across. You must be willing to see it, hear it from the people you trust, and DO SOMETHING about it!

Are you not getting the callbacks but feeling like you did the work?

Are you getting callbacks and then not being asked to stay?

Could it be more than your talent?

Of course, you can't control EVERYTHING, but what about that attitude?

Are you too aggressive? Too placid? Too phony? Too bitter? Too perky? Too negative? Too sarcastic? Too unsure? Too full of yourself? Do you stand for something or are you wishy-washy? Do you take a position or are you a "whatever' person?

How do you speak to people? How do you answer people? Are you PRESENT or vacant? Are you a dark cloud? Do you suck energy or work with other's energy?

Are you sure or are you deluding yourself?

Perception of you and your personality and your work ethic is the reality in the room. That is simply truth. If nerves take you outside your comfort zone, then you have to learn to work with them so it doesn't draw out of you a side you don't want people to see.

Are you challenging? Are you rude? Are you so passive you look scared and cannot stand up for yourself? Are you apologetic? Are you without a backbone?

Either extreme is going to get you dismissed. You need to find a balance between confidence and pliability. You need to find a balance between friendliness and accessibility without becoming phony. You need to stand for something without being a bitch.

Can you do what you say you can do? And can you work with the people you will need to work with? Are you going to be a problem or a wonder?

All these questions are reckoned with in that audition room and in the callback.

If there's ANY confusion, or ANY hesitation, the other person gets the callback or gets the job. Even if they aren't as talented.

YOU have control over this, so why are you making excuses??? DO something about it!

Whether you are in the audition room, or consulting with a teacher to work, or auditioning for a class, or consulting with an agent or manager - HOW YOU COME ACROSS regardless of talent is the reality because perception is reality.

Don't dismiss this. It is JUST as important as your talent and your craft. Don't make excuses for it - explore it and dare to be honest enough to realize your shortcomings and DO something to change it.

Didn't book anything this season? You gonna quit? Well, if that's your attitude, you probably shouldn't be in this business anyway...

But, if you truly want to put yourself in the strongest place to book something - you have to ask yourself the hard questions!

Is your craft good enough?

Can you summon your talent at will?

Are you presenting that talent in the best possible light? Are you showing what you CAN do not what you WISH you could do?

Are you accessible? Are you bringing into the room the most positive and real sense of self you can? Are you bringing anything negative, phony, annoying, overwhelming?

If you can answer YES vehemently to each, then it just wasn't your season.

If you aren't sure - time to do the work.

You have the time - make the most of it!


  1. SUCH an important aspect of the process, managing the way one is perceived as a person in the audition room. Especially considering we often don't really get the chance to SAY anything, the auditors being miles away across the auditorium and in a hurry.

    I learned this the hard way (of course!). I was eventually told by one august member of the British operatic establishment, My dear, you swept in with your (imaginary, I hasten to add) cloak and tiara, and made the panel feel quite overwhelmed. Once I'd worked out that I was rather overcompensating, physically, for my shyness and nerves, I could DO something about it. And I remain convinced that I got my present job the moment, before my second audition, that I attempted a little joke, in German...

    Well said, as usual, Susan!

  2. I've had this same problem. My deal was desperation. I hated my day job SO MUCH that the audition was like a lifeboat and I was going down the third time. Just everything was wrong in that scenario. I think I had starving homeless energy in the room!
    My choice to STOP everything and go back to study more and reacquaint myself WITH myself has given me brain-space enough to look in the mirror and re-commit and focus.
    I am finding myself again like when I was just a kid starting out on this crazy journey and it's very exciting!