By Heather Hiatt
Booking the job isn’t just about a stellar audition. We all know that. Yet, there are soooo many things that actors do, every day, that destroy their chances of booking the job.
There are 7 that I think are the worst – The Seven Deadly Sins.
Are you guilty of any of these? Let’s find out.
SIN #1: WINGING IT
I can’t tell you how many times I hear actors say, “It’s just a small role, I’m gonna wing it.”
Why wouldn’t you prepare for an audition like your dreams depended on it? Because in case you hadn’t noticed…they do!
If you’re lucky enough to have a last minute audition or a lot of auditions the same day, then I’ll concede to lack of proper prep time. But otherwise, you’re a professional, and professionals are prepared. ➥Pro Tip: You even have to be prepared for a one-liner audition, but not in the way you might think.
And there’s no excuse for not learning a great cold-reading technique.
SIN #2: “PLAYING” THE CHARACTER
Your job as an actor is to find ways to embody the character, not just “play” them. The tricky part is that you have to really know yourself before you can figure out who your character is. It’s kind of like the oxygen mask in the airplane – you have to put the mask on yourself first before helping others.
Here’s a great freebie called the Magnetic Actor Method Action Guide that will help you do just that. You’ll learn to identify who you are so you can align yourself with your character in a deeper way.
Psst….I’m a Certified Clifton Strengths coach and the Magnetic Actor Method was inspired by the over 4 decades of scientific research that focuses on a person’s natural strengths.
This doesn’t mean you can ignore your weaknesses (for example, you absolutely need to work on the parts of your craft you have less access to); it’s just that you’ll be more successful – as an actor, as a person and navigating the whole industry – when you focus on your unique gifts.
SIN #3: TRYING TO BE DIFFERENT
There are two major problems with this.
- You have no idea what the director is looking for (they often don’t even know what they want until they see it!).
- You can’t possibly be someone you’re not, so why try?
This is why you’ve heard the phrase “Just Do You” (By the way, I think this is the most annoying phrase in showbiz). But if we’re being serious (Acting is our dream, right? So, hell yes, we’re serious!), I have a question for you.
Do you actually know what it means to “just be yourself”?
In a nutshell, “just be yourself” means that you need to infuse yourself into the character. I know you’re asking, “But how…???” Never fear, here’s that great tool again. It’s the Magnetic Actor Method Action Guide and you can snag it here.
SIN #4: PASSING THE BUCK
I know an actor who constantly auditions for the same Casting Directors, but never books. And she’s so irate that she takes to actor forums and social media to complain about it.
She claims she’s doing everything right, but I wonder…
Perhaps she’s so frustrated about not booking that she walks in the room with an “I know I’m not going to book this” attitude. And maybe her “Thanks!” as she leaves the room comes with an eye roll instead of an exclamation point.
We all get frustrated and disappointed, but it’s how you handle yourself when you’re not booking (again, #$@&%*!), that speaks volumes about your character and professionalism.
SIN #5: FORGETTING THE HUMAN ELEMENT
Connect with the Casting Director as a human. He called you in because he thinks you might be the perfect actor for the role. So, say hello like you mean it! Look him in the eyes.
Maybe chit chat if you’ve met before and it’s acceptable. If you’ve never met before, be grateful for the opportunity to meet someone new.
Every audition is a chance to make a connection and to get called in again. And isn’t that everything?
SIN #6: MISSING OPPORTUNITIES TO COLLABORATE
Acting is reacting. So, really hear what the reader is saying so that you can react appropriately. If you’re busy thinking about your next line and buried in your script, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity to create real moments with the reader and the camera.
Also, listen carefully to the redirect; If you’re lucky, it might be coming from the director herself. Here’s how it might look:
DIRECTOR: Can you do it with a little more emotion?
YOU: Do you mean like this?
(You pick a line and reeeallly release the waterworks.)
YOU(CONT’D): Why do you have to leave?
DIRECTOR: Hmmmm. Maybe you’re just really angry instead of crying.
YOU: Do you mean like this?
(You wipe your tears away.)
YOU (CONT’D): (with intense venom) Why do you have to leave?
DIRECTOR: Yeah, like that.
Boom! You just collaborated with the director! How cool is that?
SIN #7: TAKING YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
You’re an actor because it’s your passion. But we all know the booking statistics aren’t in our favor, so there must be another reason we do this.
I suggest you do this because acting is exhilarating. So why are you so dang serious all the time, especially in auditions?
This doesn’t mean you can blow off auditions (see SIN # 1); it just means that you should find a way to have more fun.
Maybe it’s a mantra that reminds you to play. Or maybe it’s a funny story you can share in the slate/interview portion.
Find your joy in this crazy business, and in the work, and showcase it.
A lot of what I talked about here goes back to figuring out who YOU are and what you bring to the table. So, I’m really excited that my FREE download is going to help you do just that. It’s called the Magnetic Actor Method Action Guide and it’s designed to get you thinking about what makes you tick so you can connect with everyone, including your character, on a deeper level. And it’s FREE! You can grab it by clicking here.
Heather Hiatt is the founder of The Magnetic Actor Method (inspired by the 40+ years of scientific research designed to help people identify their unique gifts) which teaches actors how to crush self-doubt and revolutionize the audition process so they can truly embody any character they have to play, and book more work.
Heather discovered a way to crush self-doubt and fear that has totally revolutionized her audition process and the way she feels about herself and her work, regardless of whether or not she books. She created a 5-step Action Guide to help you do the same, and you can grab it here.