Forget about It

So, last week, I told y’all the tragic tale of my “rebagging groceries” (AKA reliving the audition in the car after the session, trying to improve upon what had happened) after a hand modeling casting and asked you fine folks to share your suggestions for letting it all go. As always, you came through with some great tips! Here are just a few.

Hi Bonnie,

I have an after-audition routine that helps me. After auditions, if I’m mired in “mind taffy,” I consciously replace it with helpful mantras of my choosing. I’ve developed these mantras over time as I’ve found which work best for me, and I repeat them as often as I need to. Useful ones for me include: “I grew as an actor today, and that’s what matters,” “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon,” “This wasn’t the opportunity; it was an opportunity,” and “I am enough.”

Hope that helps!
Sarah Beth Goer

Love it. Especially, “this wasn’t the opportunity; it was an opportunity.” That’s fantastic! Thank you.

Hi Bonnie,

This is how I deal with “do-over-itis:”

I write my thoughts down in a kind of “after action” report. I have a spreadsheet where I track all my submissions, auditions, bookings, and there’s a spot for “audition comments.” So after each audition, I’ll type my notes down — anything from how the casting location looked, who greeted me, who else I met, how early/late the audition went, how the actual audition went, what they asked me to do, etc., usually no more than five or six quick sentences.

This way, by the time I’m done doing my notes, I really don’t want to think about it anymore. I have my thoughts out of my head when it was fresh and onto paper (well, computer), so I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything, and I can always look it up. And just the process of articulating and retelling the story of the audition is cathartic, in a way. If I want to “edit” and “do-over,” I can update and revise the notes in a more constructive way (about what I could’ve done better, for example), instead of reliving it in my head.

And if it turns into a booking, I create a separate folder to hold all the info related to that specific project: call sheets, script, storyboards, photos, etc., and the notes get transferred into a Word doc, as a sort of running log of what’s happening with that project (info on cast and crew, rehearsals, shoot location, etc.).

I have done very little in my acting career, so I’ve never felt like this took “too much time” to do. But this process works for me.

And let me tell you, even non-actors can go through “do-over-itis.” My very first audition ever was for a national commercial that an actor friend thought I should try for because I have the special skills they were looking for. I went into it knowing less than nothing about acting, and even then the next couple days after the audition was an agony of “do-overs.” I ended up booking it and having a blast. Here it is (I’m the ninja).

I found out about Actors Access from another actor on set, and have been reading your column since. Ever since that fantastic first experience, I’ve been fascinated by the whole acting thing. Now I’m contemplating getting into the business as more than just a side-hobby, and I’m sure I’ll re-read a lot of your archived columns to prep. And knowing me, I’ll probably write everything down too. Maybe it’ll make a good book one day. =) Thanks Bonnie for all the info that you share! It’s a big help. And seeing it from different perspectives — casting directors and actors of all skills and levels — helps to make clear that everyone’s path is their own.

Xavier Fan

Ooh, I’m a big fan of logging information, so this suggestion really helps me geek out. I worry that you will — as you may have somewhat predicted, above — not have time for such logging as your auditions increase, but, hey, maybe when your auditions increase you’ll be too good at the “letting go” to no longer need it for that anyway. Still, I love the log idea and think it’s a great way to keep the “audition review” stuff out of your head ’til it’s “log time” for sure. This ties in nicely with the Show Bible concept of running your career as an actor. Very cool!

And, of course, thank you for you kind words. I do love putting this column together each week, so it means a lot that y’all enjoy reading it.

Hey Bon,

In response to your recent column, “The Do-Over,” I have a tip. I actually stole this from Fred Savage, so I’ll give credit where it’s due. In a video interview for the SAG Foundation (which I viewed on their site) he said that he throws his audition sides away immediately upon leaving the room. It’s a symbolic action which he uses to signify to himself that the audition is over. Rip ’em up and throw ’em away.

He humorously added that this stresses his agent out, “What about the callback?” Fred (correctly) noted that if you need another copy of the sides down the road, they can easily be reprinted.

Well, I tried this a week ago. I’m constantly doing everything over in my head — and not just the auditions. I even replay and “correct” my performances in my head after I’ve booked the gig and shot the scene. Madness!

But last week, I gave it all I had in the room. When my time was up and I was out the door, I remembered what Fred said. I took the sides out of my bag, ripped them down the middle, and threw them in the trash can on the corner. I felt liberated!

I will add that I did this once I’d gotten a block away from the building. I wouldn’t suggest doing this in the presence of other auditioners or, heaven forbid, those who may be in a position to hire you. It may send the wrong signal. 🙂

All the best,
Gary Hilborn

Brilliant! I’ve heard this one before and I do think it’s very effective. Well done! Great share.

I’ve also heard of actors using music to help adjust (either into or out of character) and change the tone of the day. A shower can “wash off the audition” too. Very popular is the “having something scheduled” immediately after the audition tactic. Even if you do have an hour or so of traffic to deal with on the way, at least you can start to embrace the anticipation for the fun thing you’re headed to do, rather than reworking the audition in your mind. If you can’t turn off the monkey mind and music isn’t helping as you drive along, books on tape are great. Podcasts too!

No matter what your method is for getting through the desire to have a “do over,” remember that it’s a muscle you have to strengthen through practice and committed repetition. The more you work at it, the easier it will be to slip into the mind of “the audition is over, move on” and out of the need to try an in-car “do over.”

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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