The Perfectly Imperfect Audition

In any audition, in every audition, whether it is for screen, stage, dancing, or singing, you strive for perfection. You are on show. You are being tested. Your skill is under the microscope.

So you strive for a mistake-free, meticulously structured delivery. But if, for example, you deliver a technically flawless dance audition, you do not stand out. You have shown no individuality, no personal stamp. So you may be qualified to be in the chorus.

The person who dances the solo is the guy or girl who appears effortless and individual. Indeed, the greatest dancers make it look like they have never taken a dance class in their life. They danced out of their mother’s womb!

And the same applies if you are to succeed at any audition.
In acting, you practice the delivery and prepare the moments and pauses. You deliver a faithful rendition of the audition pages. Your delivery is so structured, we can literally see the full stops on the page.

And yet, when we see the great screen actors perform, we can believe that there was never a script in the first place. Such is the unique rhythm they have created. They make us believe they are speaking lines for the first time.

An audition is a fear-instilling place—a room bereft of creative support. And in this space, they ask you to be creative?

It cannot happen, and it will never happen if you strive for an error-free delivery. 

Remember the most important thing about an audition is that everyone is coming in and doing the same lines, delivering the same…pause…in the same way. 

Screen performance is all about moments. And not rehearsed, manufactured ones, but spontaneous, unpredicted ones. Therefore to succeed in the room, the key skill you need is instinct. 
The instinct to feel for, and deliver key moments for your character—to let the momentum of the character, the relationship and the rhythm of your version of the character drive what you deliver.

Yes, I am advocating anarchy!

If you sacrifice instinct for obedience (obediently following the writer’s scene notes and guidance), then you have decided it is better to conform, than to contrast—to obey than to create.

Stop hoping to be noticed, and start planning for it.