Auditioning is mostly a solo career. Yep, preaching the truth, friends.
As actors, we spend a lot of time by ourselves on the train, in the car, on the bus, in an Uber, on the way to, or returning from an audition. Sure, people might be sitting next to you on the train, but usually, you are self-focused, in your audition zone. It’s rare that an actor will go with someone else to a scheduled audition. Why? We like our sense of quiet. We like to focus and calm ourselves before we perform what we’ve prepared. We make up our own routines: first, go to the gym, eat a good breakfast, go over the script, get ready, etc. Often all the routines actors create around auditioning are by ourselves. When we do an audition, it’s also uncommon that we get to read with another actor, unless it’s for a chemistry read of some sort. Many times, it’s just you and someone from Casting. Scene work often doesn’t have a place in audition land. It’s all about you and what you do, or don’t do, in the room. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to stay connected to others.
Solo time is a great time. No, I’m not talking about Han Solo, or plastic Solo cups, people. I’m talking about time for just you.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and absolutely needed to have that sense of routine and solo time. Self-care is a term that’s getting a lot of important buzz these days. I’m all for it. But if we really want to practice self-care, that means creating quality alone time, quality work time, AND quality connecting time.
Let’s put that monster truck in neutral and be careful not to spin your wheels into the ground.
Think about it. Are you in a rut? Working on auditions, performing your auditions, going to work at your day job, coming home, taking care of family, and dealing with life responsibilities? The danger is that all this life that you are creating can start to feel very alone. Everything can start to feel like you’re running on a spinning wheel that you can’t jump off from. Audition. Wait. Repeat. Audition. Wait. Repeat. Run, run, run to the next thing. We can begin to lose joy, spontaneity, and direction not only while auditioning but also while living our lives outside of our work.
Staying connected to our community is so important in this industry. We need each other. Think about if peanut butter didn’t have jelly? Salt without pepper? Guac without chips? Ok, you get the idea…
Sometimes actors feel deflated after an audition. We can put so much work into something, then get so little time in the casting room. We wait for callbacks or bookings. Sometimes we get them, sometimes we don’t. Rejection is a big part of our lives. So are the highs of booking work and the thrill of being on set, and then it’s all over until we book our next gig.
How do we remain centered and connected with the highs and lows that this industry brings?
- Make time for a coffee date with a friend. Try and schedule it right after an audition. It will refocus your energy.
- Invite someone to go see a film or play with you.
- Volunteer at a local film festival.
- Intern at casting office.
- Ask your agents if they need an off-camera reader.
- Invite some actors over once a month to do mock auditions or work on your self-taping skills and hang out together.
- Start an accountability group with some other actors to help motivate each other to reach your individual artistic goals.
- Take an acting class to not only keep your skills sharp but to meet and work out with others.
Ohhh…that last one is a good one, ya’ll.
Ya hear my air guitar blaring? It’s true I tell ya, taking a group acting class can really rock.
As an on-camera teacher, I literally see actors become physically and mentally lighter when they start to connect to others in an acting class. I want you to think about the next time you take a class. Yeah, the work is important, but so is your mindset when you attend. If you walk in thinking you know everything, then why are you there? I know it’s scary to put yourself out there, whether in class or at an audition, but take that defensive armor off my friend. You look SO much better without it. If you walk in with more of an open mindset from the get go, you will grow more in the work. You will be more available to connect to your material, to your teacher, and to your classmates. Not to mention the benefits of working out regularly are truly amazing. Just make sure the class, teacher, level and techniques taught are right for you and what you are looking for.
Need something totally unrelated to the industry? I hear you. I got you.
- Staying connected doesn’t need to be an industry thing at all if you don’t want to.
- Take it a step further.
- Just grab dinner with someone. Rule number one: you can’t talk about acting. See what else comes up.
- Go on a hike with a friend.
- Check out an art exhibit.
- Take a class that has nothing to do with acting. I bet you’re a great basket weaver. And who knew you were so good at ceramics?!
Above all, remember that you are not alone.
There are so many actors out there doing the daily grind and hustle just like you are. Remember that just as we must make time to work on our material and acting skills, we need to make time to work on staying connected to others. We owe it ourselves to be happy inside and outside of that casting room.
Stay connected. Create! Take a class! Go make tacos with someone! I’m feeling all the feels for you right now!
Adria Dawn is a co-founder of Revealing Media Group, which works with young actors and makes the series Kids Matter: Inside the Minds of Tweens and Teens. Now in its seventh instalment, these educationally distributed films focus on social change. Adria has taught workshops or spoken at SAG-AFTRA Chicago, Franklin Arts Center, University of Michigan, DePaul University, Loyola University, Columbia College Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New Trier High School, Chicago High School for the Arts, Chicago Screenwriters Network, Camp Hollywood in Portland, Oregon, Southside School, Champaign, IL, Chicago Acting in Film, The Chicago Artists Coalition, Deerfield High School, Gray Talent Group, and The Illinois High School Theatre Festival. As a film and television actor, Adria spent a decade in Los Angeles where she earned a “Gutsiest Actor on Television” nomination. She continues to expand her roster of film credits in the Midwest, working both in front of and behind the camera.
Please visit AdriaDawn.com to get to know her more!