When you think of life as an actor not much more comes to mind other than auditioning, rehearsing, and filming. These 3 elements never offer any shortage of interesting experiences but today I wanted to share an experience that is often overlooked. An experience that even as the one involved you need to take the time to observe to even realize how weird it really is. This experience… the audition waiting room.
Think about it… you have a bunch of people all striving for the same thing in a tiny room awaiting their often brief turn to show their take at what is up for grabs. What adds to the humor is the fact that quite often these people tend to loosely look like one another. This becomes even funnier when they give you a specific wardrobe to come in and you find yourself in a room with 8 other guys all 18-24 years old in a baby blue golf-shirt and khakis.
So aside from being visually humorous, what else adds to the waiting room dynamic? The other thing that really stands out is the range in expression you see from each individual at various points in the wait. At any given audition, over a 5-10 minute waiting time span you can see a person go through 4 completely different facades. Here is an example:
- Facade #1: Confused – No matter how many auditions you go to, every one is different. The same can be said for the sign-in process. We all know we need to sign in somewhere, and as a result always find ourselves confused when trying to locate the appropriate paperwork.
- Facade #2: Self-Conscious – Once signed in, the next phase to kick in is a degree of self-consciousness. You take in everyone else, compare it to yourself and bask in the mental lecture and comparison your mind puts you through. All while on the exterior trying to look confident and suave, which often times instead looks semi-constipated.
- Facade #3: Devious – You finally quiet the mind down for the most part and you now revel in the observation of those that come after you. You enjoy watching them be confused of where to sign in, you wait for them to give you their look of comparison.
- Facade #4: Pleasant & Charming – The final and most comical face to be put up comes when you are called into the audition room by the casting assistant. Your devious demeanor sets a new world record how quickly it shifts into the biggest smile as you approach and talk to that person. This carries forward throughout the entire audition and even as you leave the waiting room on the way out. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had guys who want nothing more than the see me flop tell me “good luck man” or “break a leg” on their way out.
So many actors have done it. I’ve done it. Now that I’ve observed it and have become aware of it I want nothing more than to stop it. Why have we allowed ourselves to become so programmed in this experience? Why not look at this way…
- Walk in. Look for the sign-in sheet. If you can’t find it, comfortably ask someone who has already completed it.
- Once signed in. Rest assured in who you are. It doesn’t matter who else is there, how they look, or whatever you mind might put you through. You are you, be that person comfortably and you might be surprised at the much more genuine an impact you can make.
- As you wait, be open to assisting others. If you see another actor struggling to find his way around guide them in the right direction. Trust that whoever needs the experience of booking the role will book the role…you aren’t going to help your chances by making someone else’s life more difficult.
- If you are genuinely yourself throughout all of this, the entire last facade should be completely avoidable. There should be no transition to something more pleasant if the entire time you never engaged anything that would have taken you out of that natural state.
Whether you’re an actor or not, the same observation can be applied to almost anything in life. Consider trying it out, you might be surprised and not only the changes you can make in your own life but the impact those changes can have on the experience of everyone.