You worked your butt off. You were perfect for the role, you were born for it, it was written almost perfectly for you. You prepared, you were focused, you checked the route and even arrived early. Everything went well in the room, you were polite, you smiled, you made good eye contact with people. And they liked you, you can see it, they responded so well to your audition performance. And you walked away from the audition with your head held high, because you know you couldn’t have done any more to get the role.
But the call just doesn’t come. They don’t even let your agent know. And you didn’t get the role.
Why Not? Well, if you’re like me and every other actor I know, you will drive yourself crazy trying to work out what variable you could have changed to be successful.
But please read my 7 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Acting Job, before you drive yourself up the wall.
ONE: Existing Profile
It’s one of the most common reasons for you not getting the role. Either you have an existing profile which doesn’t match what they are lookng for - you’ve done some telly commercials and you’ve become known for that, or they were looking for someone with a strong existing profile than yours currently is. Outwith your control.
TWO: You Didn’t Match the Look
I wish it were different, but we have the most superficial industry. If the director wants green eyes and red hair, all the blondes can forget it. But wouldn’t they just say that in the casting breakdown? You wish! Couldn’t we just dye our hair? Are you expecting logic and imagination from creative people. Ho Ho Ho - come on now. Look, they wanted skinny and you’re muscular, they wanted tall and you’re short - you can’t be all things to all people and who would want to be. It’s okay, you didn’t match their look - you can do nothing about it. Outwith your control.
THREE: Existing Relationship
This one is a mother-fucker. Forgive the language, but I hear it once a week. They went with the guy that the director already knew. They went with the girl they’ve worked with before. If they wanted that guy or girl, they probably should have just asked him/her directly. But hey ho, existing relationships are not something you can benefit from - until - you benefit from it. It’s rife, so in a long career, if you haven’t pissed too many people off, you might get to benefit from this one which is, outwith your control.
FOUR: The Producer Didn’t Like You
I know people who got down to the last few for a big big commercial, only to be told that the Producer/Director/Casting Director/Someone’s Auntie Freda didn’t like you. Look, you can work on being likable, pleasant, personable when you come in the room, but to be honest, you really can’t make people like you and fuck knows why they don’t like you and for God’s sake don’t try to change. If someone just doesn’t take a shine to you, fuck them, move on - outside of your control entirely.
FIVE: You Weren’t Directable on the Day
If you’re lucky enough to get a bit of re-direct, you’ve got to make the most of it. It’s a common issue that the director wants to push you in a certain direction and you’re wedded to your choices. If they can’t direct you, you’re not getting hired. This IS within your control, so listen carefully to what you’re being asked to do, and interpret it well. The quick tip, is listen to what they say, repeat what they said for clarity and a bit of thinking time, and then make a bold and exciting choice in the direction they want. Don’t try to be subtle, your choices will be invisible.
SIX: You Didn’t Make Exciting Choices
Within your control, don’t be bland like all the other tedious fuckers that came into the room. Make strong, creative choices. Lean away from the obvious, avoid the conflict, it exists without you turning every scene into a fight. Totally within your control? Don’t know how to make strong choices, get in touch with us, I’ll gladly teach on Skype how to make bold and powerful choices in your audition pieces.
SEVEN: You Let The Nerves Get The Better of You
Nervous or excited? It’s a mindset thing. A lot of people lose the role because they can’t control their inner game. With all the talent in the world and the best technique, if you don’t have mental toughness, you’ll fold like a cheap pair of pants. Get your nerves under control, take the edge off your nerves and take control of your performance. If this kind battle is tough for you, then download my book The 12 Obstacles, it’s completely free to download and will help you overcome many of the inner struggles that make us fail in auditions.
Now listen, the first FOUR are out of your control. And you can stop fretting about them. You couldn’t do anything about those things. And they were probably why you didn’t get the role.
However, if it happened to be the last three, then that’s within your control to do something about it. You can get help, find an acting coach, start to build your skills in the area of those last three, don’t let them stop you getting the role. And if you still don’t get the role, it’s out of your control!
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Mark Westbrook is an audition success coach and the head of the full time diploma in stage at Acting Coach Scotland