One of the great mysteries (and frustrations) in the casting world is why some actors don’t show up to their audition appointments. Right now you, the actor, are either shouting at your computer in exasperation because you would never miss an audition, let alone be unprepared or late. Or, you are going though the list of what seems to be legitimate reasons an actor (ahem, you) sometimes miss auditions. And while I’ll fully admit those legitimate excuses exist, I’m sure it’s not nearly as often as I hear them. What’s the big deal? That’s well covered territory, but a quick recap: it’s a BIG deal. So, what gives?
Commercial actors should never stop assessing why they don’t show up.
Contrary to what you might think, the no show phenomenon happens across the commercial board. There are no shows/cancels with union and non union actors, men and women, veteran and novice, young and old. Some groups are bigger offenders, but it truly happens with every group out there.
So why don’t you show up? The actor NO SHOW is the single biggest form of self sabotage there is. It takes booking the job out of the realm of possibility. It also takes “booking the room” (making fans of the casting team because you gave a fantastic audition but don’t book the actual job…) out of range. It takes the opportunity to gain experience, knowledge and confidence away. It stops all forward motion. But self sabotage isn’t the reason you don’t show up, it’s the result.
Ask yourself: when you get notification of a commercial audition are you…
THRILLED? Then you are in the right place. The term may be a tad extreme but you should feel something in the positive realm. Some excitement, some enthusiasm to meet the challenge. This is the goal. You then start the process of reading all the info, looking into wardrobe, going over the boards/learning copy, and even some research on the director or product. If this describes you, you are doing the right thing. Keep it up. Actors who are psyched when receiving commercial audition notices tend to do whatever they need to do to get to the audition.
NERVOUS? You are likely still in the right place, you just need some help. Nerves come up when not feeling confident or prepared. You may be nervous because you are new to the commercial audition process. You may get butterflies because you don’t audition on a regular basis and never quite feel comfortable. Maybe you took some time off from the industry for personal reasons and are just getting back to it. Confidence is a key factor in commercial audition success, and the road to (re)gaining confidence could be different for everyone. The answer could be a commercial class or series of classes where you’d learn not only the ins and outs of the commercial process but also a chance to tackle all kids of commercial auditions. It could mean hitting an “actor gym” to refresh what you already know and get a few current auditions under your belt. It could be as simple as some time in your own home putting yourself on tape with commercial copy, or something completely different like deep breathing or meditation. The knee jerk reaction of a nervous actor might be to cancel, or just not show to the audition. I would encourage you, however, to power through that impulse and get there anyway. Do the best you can. Then seek a solution to the nerves.
ANNOYED? Ok, maybe now you need to reconsider. There are actors who hate commercial auditions. I’ve met them. They either find the process ridiculous (and let’s face it, it is) or demeaning in some way (I hope to goodness an actor never leaves MY audition room feeling that way, but I’m sure process as a whole could leave one feeling that way) OR… that commercials are beneath them. When you find commercials to be ridiculous or demeaning, maybe you need to step back and reconsider. When you have a negative reaction to the process it’s extremely difficult to drop that in front of the camera. And by that I mean you’ll never book the job anyway. Bitter, annoyed, unhappy, bothered, agitated actors don’t book commercials. When this is how you feel, reconsider. You don’t have to do them. Some actors come to a point where they feel like they’ve surpassed the need to pursue commercials. Good for you! If it’s not fun and you don’t need to book commercials, don’t pursue them! But spare your agent the time and effort and casting directors the drama of canceling or simply not showing up. Gracefully give up the pursuit while respecting the others involved.
Frustrated? (small letters because it’s tricky) I think frustration is different than annoyance. When you feel frustrated after receiving an audition notice, ask yourself why. If it’s because you never book them and you feel it’s a waste of time, then it’s class time. If you actually loathe commercial auditions and just wish it was a theatrical appointment, life is too short. Right? Be honest with yourself.
Are you making strange excuses? Like: I’m not right for the callback… (yes, I’m aware of this exact excuse). Wait, you aren’t right for a job the director/agency creatives believe you ARE right for? Reconsider what’s really going on.
It’s a new year. Don’t shy away from asking yourselves the hard questions… A commercial pursuit is rarely the dream, and knowing that brings freedom. When you get a certain feeling after receiving a commercial audition, consider carefully what that means, make decisions… and GO FOR IT, whatever that is, tenaciously and wholeheartedly.
**Want to take a 4-week Commercial Class with Laurie Records? Check it out and sign up now at: www.laurierecordscasting.com.**