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In the Callback Room

July 27, 2011

I love pretending. Which is why I love performing. Sometimes pretending is easy. It’s easy to perform your favorite song at an audition or perform in a callback as a character who is “right up your alley.”

But sometimes pretending is hard. I’m thinking specifically of being re-directed in a callback room, and trying to make my imagination go where the director wants it to go. Or harder still, doing a cold read for a character I know NOTHING about.

There are so many distractions in an audition. The size of the room, the extra person sitting in the corner, the piano player who can’t seem to keep a steady tempo, my shoes that I didn’t want to wear but my good pair went missing… my list could go on. Not to mention the roller coaster ride it took to get to the audition on time! And then the director says something like “Do you mind if we throw something at you? I want you to read for this person…” When my imagination isn’t enough to pull me thru something like this I can feel my brain shut down. Which is SUCH a mistake. Instead I need to put down the previous character and start building a new one in my head, making specific choices, rather than easy, general choices.

I think, for an actor, learning how to take new direction and instantly apply it is such an important skill. And it’s a skill that can’t be learned without the help of someone outside your own brain. And I’d venture to say it almost can’t be learned without pressure. Pressure like an audition or callback.

This is a slow process, a journey that takes time. So, dear actor friends, keep auditioning. And pushing yourself to do things that feel uncomfortable. Speaking of which, this post has made me realize I need to get back into some improv classes!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. The Reflective Artist permalink
    July 27, 2011 9:08 am

    Great post. I had a callback last week and went through the same fear from surprise that you hit on when talking about dealing with something unexpected. We were told there would be a movement portion to the audition, but it turned out to be closer to a dance call. I move well, but I would never tell anyone “I dance.” I was the only girl there without dance shoes, only socks, though there were a couple guys who were in the same boat as me. We were of course told not to worry, that it was really just to see that we could move, were in our bodies, and of course that we could pick it up. So I allayed my fears as best I could by trying to stay focused on learning the dance as best as possible, marking it at any spare moment. And then when the time came to do it full out, I focused on pretending like I LOVED doing it, and wasn’t I just so great?

    Fake it till you make it, baby.

  2. California Triple-Threat permalink
    July 27, 2011 10:46 am

    Yes exactly! And I’m sure you rocked it! 🙂

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