I’ve dabbled in acting for over 20 years, and I’m on the roster of a Toronto talent agency. I’ve auditioned for multiple commercial roles, and occasionally, I even get booked for one!
On more than one occasion, my talent agent has said to me, “If you want to work in this business, you have to accept that auditioning is your full-time job. Getting booked is just a bonus.” It’s like the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. And you’d still eat the sundae without the cherry, wouldn’t you?
So, it’s probably more accurate for the title of this page to say Auditioner. Nevertheless, I’ve dabbled in acting for over 20 years, and have had the same agent the entire time, Lisa Burke of The Burke Agency.
Every No Gets You Closer to a Yes
Rejection in the ‘business of acting’ is common and expected. But, I guess it’s kind of like working in sales where every No gets you closer to a Yes. You just need to keep selling, or in this case, keep auditioning – until you get a Yes.
So why do I stick with it when I mostly audition, and how is it relevant to the services I offer here? The answer is actually hidden in the question.
A Video Audition is a Video Interview
Auditioning for commercials and tv work is all about presenting yourself on camera.
Auditioning often requires you to talk to the camera lens and level up your energy and body language. These are all video communication skills!
Auditioning on camera is like a video interview – in fact, that’s exactly what it is. Just replace the words video audition with video interview. In both contexts, you’re being recorded on video for the purpose of getting a job.
Auditioning requires you to present yourself to an audience that you don’t know – the audience at the audition and the audience who later views your video.
Tell Me About Yourself
Auditioning often requires you to improvise by responding to prompts you aren’t prepared for – just like interview questions. In fact, at the beginning of auditions, actors are sometimes asked to respond to the prompt, “tell me about yourself”, just so the director can get a sense of your personality.
I’ll never forget the time when I froze in response to that question and came back with an answer that revealed the most mundane aspects of myself. There were so many more interesting things I could’ve said in that moment – I was mortified. My personality did not shine through at all!
Actors Have Video Resumes!
Actors often have a demo reel – which is a video resume – is it not?! Aha!
They also have a written resume – albeit, it includes things you’d never put on a regular resume like your age, weight, and height – ouch!
You Want Me To Do What?!
Auditioning on camera forces you to step outside of your comfort zone. It forces you to do things the average person would never consider doing like being recorded modelling an incontinence product – and nothing else! Well, from the waist down, at least.
Auditioning Builds Character
For starters, it builds character when you start getting auditions for roles that highlight your age, like the one I just mentioned above – or roles like Mom of a Millennial, or ones that highlight your personal appearance – like wrinkles!
And while it’s great to get booked, when you’re booked because you had the best resting ‘squint’ face – well, there’s a brief moment of self-reflection, if not self-loathing. Luckily, it’s meant to be funny – and funny is good!
Oh, and another thing, freelance actors platforms like Mandy.com often request video auditions – just like the trend towards asynchronous video interviews.
Actor Training is On Camera – AND You’re Assessed!
Training for commercials and tv work is on camera. You practice your skills and your lines to the camera – then, you’re critiqued – by your coach, your peers, and yourself.
Not Everyone Wants to Be an Actor
Acting and improv classes are an excellent way for people to come out of their shell. Many people sign up not because they want to be actors but because they want to become more comfortable expressing and presenting themselves.
An Opportunity to Play
You know what else auditioning is – it’s fun! Like acting classes – auditioning is an opportunity to play. It’s an opportunity to pretend to be someone or something you’re not.
Many times, you’ll hear laughter and commotion coming from inside the audition room – followed by smiling, red faces coming out of the audition room.
Auditioning also causes you to be more playful and to have fun in your personal life. Take this homemade commercial as an example! This Thrills gum commercial was produced for one of my sister’s classes. She had to create a promotional ad for a product and reached out to me for help. We got to work writing the script and storyboard, and voila…that day was full of laughter and play!
How I Can Help
So while I may not have a long list of credits on IMDB, I still know what it’s like to feel uncomfortable on camera. I know the icky feeling of being judged by a panel of strangers. I know what it’s like to feel not good enough, not right for the part (or job), not talented enough….the list goes on.
I know what it’s like to have anxiety before the audition from not knowing what to expect and regret after the audition from wishing you’d responded differently to prompts.
I know what it’s like not to know how to respond to the prompt, “tell me about yourself” when that should be the easiest thing to talk about! You often don’t realize how much you have to offer and how talented you are – until you do! Does that make sense?
I know what it’s like to be afraid to put yourself out there and risk rejection and failure. But don’t forget, every no gets you closer to a yes, or put another way, “failure is success in progress” – thank you, Albert Einstein.
These are all issues that you can overcome – just like I did!
I’m excited to bring all of the lessons learned from these four perspectives – educator, student, solopreneur, and actor/auditioner – together in order to help you develop your confidence on camera and share your awesomeness with video so that you can land your dream job!