I read a great article by Secret Agent Man on Backstage today called “The 9 Spokes of Your Career Wheel.” It’s about honestly evaluating my strengths and weaknesses in my acting career. Essentially, the author of the column asks you to consider how balanced you are in every area of acting. In what area am I strong, and what are the areas I can improve in? In order to run on a fully supportive ‘wheel,’ each spoke – that represents my training – must be of equal length. If it isn’t, then the wheel won’t work.
“Balance is everything.”
I consider myself to be strong in several areas, while I’ve known that for a long time, my audition technique is the one thing I’m always unhappy about. So much so, that I’ve decided that I need to stay in some sort of audition class on a consistent basis. While I’m an old-hand at auditioning, I waver from complete disappointment to sheer excitement. I’m always working to be better at auditioning, and I’d say that most of the time, I’m feeling that there’s always something I could’ve done differently. Like, get my fucking lines right, or not go up on a monologue midway through. That says a lot. And something I know I need to stay engaged with, and improve on.
So, I went about creating my wheel, and this is what I came up with. I basically used a star-rating system instead of what the author of the article suggests, but overall, I think I’m very strong.
I’m excellent at networking, at my business knowledge, my meeting skills, for example. Got those down. It’s my technique and performance side that is always wanting and needing attention and improvement.
Improv, musical theatre, auditioning – those are areas I want to work more toward improving my game on.
It’s all entirely subjective, and of course, is subject to change. But today, this is how I feel. Right now. Others who’ve seen me audition for them will have a different opinion, I know.
Let’s talk about my audition technique for a moment. And I’m going to be super-honest.
I had two auditions over the last 3 days, and I feel that they went well – but they could’ve been better. I wasn’t entirely satisfied. I’m trying not to cringe or be to self-judgemental about it. It was recently pointed out to me that I always say something negative about my audition technique; or that when I’m asked how an audition went, that my go-to answer is usually: “it was OK” – which is me covering up my disappointment.
We all swing them out of the park or drown in self-pity, and I don’t want to live in the “you sucked” frame of mind. So, I’ve learned to look at auditions as a way of seeing where and how to improve. But when I find myself leaving auditions where I just know I bombed, that’s where I need to look at the opportunity, and not wallow in shame. I’ve learned to leave an audition behind pretty quickly – as something that I shouldn’t worry about, and just keep moving ahead.
I keep a journal of auditions, too. Which I recommend anyone do. It contains who it was for; what monologue(s) I did; what I wore, what casting directors were in the room. It’s very useful when I need to look back and use as a reference.
SO. Enough about that. Back to auditioning! I’ll report my progress in the near-future on this and other areas.