A Spy at 200 S. LaBrea

I’ve written before about Waiting Room Games, The Do-Over, Bringing the Kids Along, and Going There and Letting It All Go. I get that there’s a very particular world actors must inhabit as they go from audition to audition. I really do! But I never get it as hard-core as when I tag along to an audition with an actor friend.

That happened last week.

While my bestie and I were on a playdate, she got notification of an audition, and of course, we went. Because it was at one of the big commercial facilities, it was no big deal for me to be a plus-one, as all I was going to do was hang out in the lobby and play Words With Friends on my gadget ’til it was time to leave.

But instead, I studied people. Actors. Actors waiting to go in for their auditions. Actors reviewing sides. Actors reading signs posted up on corkboards outside session rooms. Actors doing laps to see what else was casting and who was there. Actors taking wardrobe changes into the restrooms. Actors eyeing each other, meticulously.

What was most fascinating to me was the actor who would walk in, case the joint, then start second-guessing everything: “Oh, they’re going ethnic. Oh, they’re seeing everybody. Oh, they’re skewing younger. Oh, they want a blonde. Oh, they’re looking to go urban chic with the clothing.” As if anything anyone sees in the waiting room is a full-on memo from the producers about decisions that have been made, from the top!

It’s crazy! But I realized, sitting there, that this part of my brain — despite the re-bagging groceries I did last year after a hand modeling audition — is actually disabled. And thank goodness! I had forgotten how exhausting that little part of the actor brain could be. It’s the part that majors in self-doubt and feeds on observations that may have no basis in what is actually true about the environment. It’s the inner critic, using fuel from the outside, just at the most crucial pre-audition moment.

What I recommend, if your self-doubt gets loudest right before you’re walking into the room, is that you employ the Critic Spot and relegate that chatty no-good to some other physical space. So, you’re making a deal: You’ll hear it out, in case there is something relevant being said, there, but you’ll not let it derail you right before you’re headed in to read. It may speak to you outside, in the car. So, you start hearing it chatter, creating doubt about choices you already made long before you entered the casting facility, and you say, “Okay. I’ll hear you. Let’s go outside.”

And either you’ll go outside, hear it, and then have it be silent as you re-enter the space and begin your audition, or you’ll say to yourself, “Well, that’s silly. I don’t need to go outside just to tell a part of my brain to hush about something that logic tells me is already just Actor Mind Taffy to begin with.” Either way, mission accomplished. Either you’ve given audience to the monkey mind, thereby stopping its chatter, or — without indulging it — you’ve shut it up entirely, so you can go about the business of auditioning in your most healthy headspace.

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001348.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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