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How to Feel Great After an Audition: The "Identity Way"

What happens when someone asks you, "So, what do you do, Bob?" Most actors answer in one of 2 ways. Either they say "I am an actor" or they apologize and explain why they aren't in a show right now by saying, "Well, I'm trying to be an actor" or something similar.

Well I have something shocking to report folks; both of these answers are deadly to your self esteem and your career. In both cases, Bob was asked what he did not who he is! This may seem very picky, but almost all the actors I work with need to understand this distinction so that they can reclaim some sense of power in a business that seems so subjective. Let me explain further.

When we say the simple phrase "I am an actor" we are identifying who we are with what we do! If we take this a little further, we ask ourselves "what do actors do?" The obvious answer is, "They act, that's what they do!" At that point I always ask my actor clients, "So, who are you when you are not acting." This usually brings a puzzled look to their faces - probably much like the look on your faces right now - and they ask "what do you mean?"

This is what I mean. Actors act. If you over identify yourself with your business then when you aren't acting, you will see yourself as incomplete. Next, you go into auditions incomplete and "ask" some casting director to make you whole again by giving you an acting job. You back your way into the audition room and lose all sense of power because you have given it away to the person behind the table! You give them the power to make you "whole." See the dilemma?

The Solution

Fact: If the acting business didn't exist, you would still be exactly who you are and still bring all the same gifts and talents to your life.

Fact: What reads as an actor isn't your "performance," it is the "YOU" you bring to that performance. Truth reads to an audience.

  • What if we played a different game with ourselves? What if we got really clear about what gifts and talents we bring to our acting AND our life?
  • What if, instead of thinking of ourselves as "actors," we saw who we really are: creative, passionate, communicators, etc (you fill in the blank)...? What we do is bring that creativity and passion etc... to our work!

Think of how differently you would walk into an audition room if, instead of begging a casting director to make you whole by letting you act, you came with a clear knowledge of what you really bring as a person.

  • What if you came in sharing your gift of creativity with that piece of audition material?

When you left that audition room you would still have your creativity and your sense of who you are. It would NOT be left in that room with someone else deciding your fate. You are as intact and whole when you leave that audition room as when you walked into it -- whether you get the job or not!

This Month's Experiment:

1) Really take a good hard look at how you think of yourself. See if you really identify who you are with what you do.

2) Make a list of what qualities you bring to your life and your performing. Ask yourself, "if acting didn't exist what are the qualities that I bring to my acting that I also bring to my life in general." (Hint: if this is difficult, you may want to ask 5 of the smartest friends you know for their ideas of what gifts you bring, or work with a teacher or a coach on this question.)

3) Once you have your list, start reorient your thinking around who you really are. Apply that to your auditions. Bring who you are into that room with your material and show that.

4) Continue to get clear on your gifts and use them in every area of your life... at your survival job, in class, with your friends... everywhere. See how much more you are than "just an actor?"

5) Have a fantastic month!

By Roger DeWitt, ACC

Roger DeWitt is Certified Life Coach specializing in working with performers and people in the arts. An expert in "the business of acting," he works with his clients to change the way they think about "the business" and their life. They move "up the ladder" faster and happier with better results. A specialist in procrastination and overwhelm, he also offers a complimentary e-course at www.stopoverwhelm.com. Roger works with individual clients and groups and can be contacted through lifeartistrycoaching.com and www.actorslifecoach.com.
© 2004 - Roger DeWitt and Life Artistry Coaching (www.lifeartistrycoaching.com).