My full time job is to audition. Every once in a while I get paid to act on a set, and that is amazing, but my full time job is to audition. I have been auditioning for projects (some that I really really wanted) and although I have had a lot of success commercially, the film/tv world has been a harder shell for me to crack into.
I recently discovered the "problem" for me has arisen because my only intention was the result. The booking of the job. I was having a hard time because when you audition for 100 jobs, and don't book any AND the single way you are evaluating your success is contingent on the job offer coming, it is really freaking discouraging. Like mind-numbingly discouraging.
Then I had one of those "actor talks" with an actor friend. His name is Alex Vaughan (@ohno.alexvaughan on IG) and he is brilliant. The conversation lead to just the right thing being said at just the right time to get me back on track.
We as actors are unique. In a way we are craftsmen. With unique tools. Some examples of these tools consist of one's body, voice, imagination, essence, point of view, intelligence, etc., and they function like the tools a carpenter uses to make things - like a table.
So what does it mean to "make the table?" Great question. The answer has helped to me to feel like an artist. When I imagine a carpenter making a table, my brain doesn't consider the possibility they would be aware of impressing people every step of the way. They would be more focused on just making the table. What I mean is they wouldn't hammer a nail and then look up as if to say, "did you see what I just did there? how great was that hammer to nail move!?"
No. I don't think so. More likely they take the steps one by one to get the table made. Then and only then, when the table is completed, does the carpenter put the table on display. The artistry comes from the process of creation. Being singularly focused on the task at hand - making the table.
Is the table going to be exactly what every person on the planet is looking for? No.
Is the table always going to be great? Of course not.
Is the table going to be perfect? Never.
Is the table going to be unique and from the carpenter's individual creativity? Always.
Now we are talking about acting. So, I must say it is very important to read the instructions casting puts out. I am not saying not to read the instructions. That would be a terrible idea. BUT once you have the lens through which casting sees the character, DO NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH IMPRESSING THEM. If you are preoccupied with that, you aren't making the table. Your attention isn't on the story, it is on the imaginary gatekeeper. Because you don't need permission to play the part in the future. You get to do it right now. So do that. Play the character now. And make your table. Be proud of your table. Send it to casting. Then move onto the next table.
I have made a commitment to myself to approach auditions as another opportunity to make a table. I don't have to try and make the perfect table. I get to use my uniqueness to make a table that has never been seen and will never be seen again. My table will be different than yours. It will be different than Alex Vaughan's. It will be different than Meryl Streep's. To compare our tables doesn't make sense. The table I have in my dining room is different than yours. One isn't better or worse than another. They are just a result of what one is looking for at the time of said table purchase.
I am now speaking directly to myself so I don't forget it. "Connor let the result go. Make the table. Then make another. and another, and another, and another. Make a ton of tables that you are proud of. Let casting choose when your table fits into the design."