I would rather you be a confident, bad actor than an unconfident, great actor.
Obviously, I want you to be both great and confident, and we can be, but I see too many actors destroy their brilliant work in their audition with their insecurity. It has to stop. You’re reading this, so you’re probably an artist. You have a sweet, little, sensitive, arty-farty heart, just like me. So I already know you’re a sweetheart inside. You have nothing to be sorry for when it comes to doing your work at a casting. Stop apologizing for being an actor and start taking pride in it. Like, now.
We can immediately tell when an insecure actor comes in the room. We can tell if that person seems like they’ll be able to handle the pressure and stress of life on a set, if they can handle collaboration, and if they’re too sensitive to take direction. If your vibe makes us feel like you’ll wilt on set, we can’t hire you. We can’t risk our production on you, no matter how great your audition was. Chances are there was someone else who did work that was just as good, but also carried themselves like a pro, instead of an amatuer. Don’t apologize before, during, or after your performance, not physically, in terms of your energy, or verbally.
The first way actors apologize for existing is not taking control of their audition experience to make sure they are prepared to present their work effectively. When you arrive, run your pre-game ritual, and set yourself up for success.
During your audition, if you flub a word or drop a line and need to use the sides to get back on track, stay in it and don’t break, and don’t apologize. Apologizing makes an event out of what would otherwise be a total non-event. Imagine you’re at a dance party and the CD player skips. Sure, it’s weird for a second, but as long as the music keeps going, you just get right back into the groove. But imagine if the CD player suddenly stops the music and is like, “Oh my God. I’m so embarrassed. I’m so sorry, you guys. I promise I won’t skip again. Blah, blah, blah.” We’d all be like, “Shut up and just keeping playing the music. Nobody cares you skipped. We get it!”
Finally, after your performance is over, the worst thing you can do is shit on it. After an amazing performance, so many actors will say something like, “Was that okay? I can do better. I’m sorry I missed that one line/beat/word.” If we or clients loved a performance and then the actor themselves appears unhappy with it, it makes us question it as well.
Who would you rather hire for a project? Someone who puts you at ease, who acts like a professional, who does what they need to do to bring their best work to each take, and who understands that it’s not about perfection but about the storytelling experience, and who seems secure in their art and outlook? Or someone who seems brittle, self-deprecating, and unsure of their choices, work, presence, and capability, who appears fearful or desperate to be liked, or who is trying to get it “right,” whatever they think that is?
Casting and session directors love actors and stories. We audition actors every day and see the differences in their approaches, not just to the craft, but the process of auditioning for work itself. The ones who feel like equals because of their professionalism and their skill are the ones we look forward to each and every time. They’re the ones we go to bat for. So stop apologizing for being an actor or not being perfect or taking up our time. We love spending time with you when you’re doing your job well. Focus on that! Remember, we don’t look at a painting, or a song, or a dance and say, “Yeah, they got it right.” We say, “What a beautiful piece of art.” Just create beauty.
- Apr 25, 2018 5 Risks of Acting in Non-Union Commercials Apr 25, 2018
- Aug 17, 2017 How to Take Full Advantage of Your SAG-AFTRA Membership Aug 17, 2017
- May 30, 2017 3 Essentials for Brilliant Work May 30, 2017
- Feb 9, 2017 Stop Apologizing Feb 9, 2017
- Jan 18, 2017 Why Good Slates Matter Jan 18, 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- Sep 9, 2016 2 L.A. Session Directors on What Actors Need to Know Sep 9, 2016
- Jun 6, 2016 We’re Not Evolved to Handle Acting Well Jun 6, 2016
- May 31, 2016 3 Ways Stage Training Adversely Affects On-Camera Actors May 31, 2016
- Apr 14, 2016 4 Ways for Working Actors to Deal With Emotional Stress Apr 14, 2016
- Dec 1, 2015 How to Handle Unwanted Romantic Advances From Industry Pros Dec 1, 2015
- Nov 11, 2015 Stop Calling It Rejection Nov 11, 2015
- Oct 7, 2015 5 Universal Mistakes I See Actors Make Oct 7, 2015
- Sep 29, 2015 The Unsung Heroes of Casting: Cori-Anne Greenhouse Sep 29, 2015
- Aug 31, 2015 Why Acting Is and Needs to Be Fun Aug 31, 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 12, 2015 Being a ‘Good’ Actor Isn’t Good Enough May 12, 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- Nov 28, 2014 12 Steps to Consistently Brilliant Performances, Part 3 Nov 28, 2014
- Nov 26, 2014 7 Steps Toward Better Headshots Nov 26, 2014
- Nov 12, 2014 12 Steps to Consistently Brilliant Performances, Part 2 Nov 12, 2014
- Nov 5, 2014 12 Steps to Consistently Brilliant Performances, Part 1 Nov 5, 2014
- Oct 13, 2014 Why Actors Must Take Care of Their Bodies Oct 13, 2014
- Oct 12, 2014 Getting Your ‘Look’ Right, Part 2: Matching Your Essence to Your Marketing Oct 12, 2014
- Oct 12, 2014 Getting Your ‘Look’ Right, Part 1: Identifying Your Essence Oct 12, 2014
- Oct 6, 2014 We Are Each Other’s Greatest Resource Oct 6, 2014
- Sep 29, 2014 An Ode to Actors Everywhere Sep 29, 2014
- Sep 23, 2014 A 4-Step Guide for Success in L.A., Part 2 Sep 23, 2014
- Sep 16, 2014 A 4-Step Guide for Success in L.A., Part 1 Sep 16, 2014
- Sep 9, 2014 The Importance of Training, Part 3: 3 More Things You Shouldn’t Tolerate in Acting Class Sep 9, 2014
- Sep 2, 2014 The Importance of Training, Part 2: 3 Things You Shouldn’t Tolerate in Acting Class Sep 2, 2014
- Aug 25, 2014 The Importance of Training, Part 1: Are You in Class for the Right Reasons? Aug 25, 2014
- Aug 18, 2014 The 6 (Often Thankless) Jobs in Commercial Casting Aug 18, 2014
- Aug 11, 2014 You Are Enough: Why You Need to Just Be Yourself in Commercial Auditions Aug 11, 2014