Actors have heard, time and again, that a good auditioning mindset is, “Behave as if you already have the role.” Here’s my take on that, from a recent callback situation.

We had already hired the male lead in a feature film I was casting. We knew we wanted him from the first meeting. In selecting actors to play the other roles, we wanted to check chemistry between the actor hired for the lead and those who, potentially, would share the screen with him. So, we hired the lead actor for the day of final callbacks. That way, we could see him play with our top choices for the other roles and match/contrast them in all those important ways (looks, type, build, chemistry).

Here’s what became obvious after just a few actors came through the room for their callbacks: There is no mistaking the actor who truly has the role, when you see him playing with the one who has already been hired.

See, our male lead had no “junk” in his head. He already had the role and was just coming to work that day, doing the part with sides in hand, playing with other actors and helping us evaluate their work. That is a beautiful thing.

So, when we saw actors who were hung up over a change they’d decided to make in their read between prereads and final callbacks or how much they were counting on a job like this or whatever other “junk” they brought into the room with them, we were all uncomfortable. We were watching them TRY to get the role. And we could see how high they’d made the stakes for that experience. That’s not fun to watch.

However, it is exactly that factor that made the right actors stand out. When an actor walked in who had no “junk” in his head, who didn’t SHOW US how high he felt the stakes were for booking this gig, and who just played along with the lead, it was beautiful. At those moments, we were watching two pros at work. We were watching two working actors playing off one another, enjoying the process, and simply showing off their goods for an appreciative group.

The actors who came in knowing that — for the 15 minutes they were in the room with us — the role was theirs, were the ones who got hired for all the other roles.

Look, every time you walk into an audition room, the role is yours. It’s just a matter of showing the casting director, producers, director that fact. If you’ve been asked to come audition, there hasn’t been another person cast yet. Sure, there may be a front-runner from an earlier session, but your job is to come in and make everyone in the room forget about anyone else they saw (or will see) in that role. Make it yours and own it while you’re there.

Then shake it all off. Move on and forget about it. No time for “now what,” “what if,” or “I wish” type stuff. You’re a pro and you did your job. Good. Now, clock out and go home.

The moral of the story is really the story itself. Enjoy your work so much that others enjoy watching you enjoy you work. Cast yourself in the role and take the pressure off feeling you’re going “up for” a job. Come in that room and have that job. We’ll believe you.

What’s your best Audition Like You Have It story? I’d love to hear it! Comments are open and ready for you to play. Yay!

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 Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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  1. Amy April 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    “Then shake it all off. Move on and forget about it. No time for “now what,” “what if,” or “I wish” type stuff. You’re a pro and you did your job. Good. Now, clock out and go home.”

    I may have to print that up and take it to my therapist today. She just CANNOT wrap her head around that concept & insists that I must embrace my “negative feelings” regarding audition letdown/rejection/etc.

  2. Katharine April 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I feel like this article was written for me! Thanks!

  3. Bonnie Gillespie April 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Katharine, you’re welcome! 🙂 So glad it resonated with you. Yay! Lemmeknow if you have any requests for future topics.

    Amy, this is such a good discussion. Obviously, one must not stifle negative feelings, hide disappointment, or walk around with rose-colored glasses on, when that person is actually torn up about an issue. But SO many actors have actually come to grips with the whole, “Hey, it’s not in my control beyond doing my prep work, doing a good job, and then moving on” thing, that it’s not necessary for them to feed a negative emotion they’re NOT having.

    I think it’s only if you’re masking negative emotions that you’ve got an issue to deal with, here. If you’ve mastered the “move on” of it all, that’s awesome! So many actors do not give themselves that gift. 🙂


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