On Monday I flew from St. Louis to NYC for a last minute audition. I was super excited to be seen for this paticular project and also excited to be in NYC for a day and see my agents and friends and walk around the city. The night before I left, one of favorite St. Louis local crew members asked me what I would be doing on my day off.
"I'm headed to NYC for an audition!"
"Oh boy! Sounds exciting! Well.....Don't get your hopes up!" She answered back cheerily.
Hmmmm?? Did I hear her wrong? Call me a crazy actor, but don't people usually say "Break a leg!," or, "Knock their socks off!," or even just a simple, "Have fun!"??
I think I must have looked a little confused, so she explained further, "I was on crew for the Mamma Mia tour awhile back and one of the girls had an audition and she explained to me that when you go in for an audition you just can't get your hopes up...Otherwise you end up feeling bad...That made a lot of sense to me, so my advice to you: Don't get your hopes up!...Oh, but have a wonderful time!"
Okay, okay, so my favorite St. Louis crew person meant well, so I took her advice on hope, and bounced it around in my head a little bit. Hope....
Wasn't having hope one of the things that made me move from a small town in Nebraska to New York City to become an actor? I remember in 2007, the first time I auditioned to be Jean, and I had so much hope I could barely think about anything else!! Did I get my hopes up when I auditioned for Spring Awakening? Of course I did. Even when I go to print auditions and am surrounded by beautiful thin girls who have no pores, I still hold out a little hope that maybe they'll go for the slightly awkward, but cute midwestern girl. I can't really think of any auditions where I don't have my hopes up. Isn't an audition a job interview? If I'm gonna bother to audition, then that means I want the job...So therefore, I have my hopes up.
Not get my hopes up? I just spent money on a plane ticket and my only day off from an eight show week to not sleep and audition instead. I have my hopes up. My hope that I might get the part drove me to learn my lines and practice with my cast mates even when I was juggling an already packed week.
Perhaps what my favorite crew person in St. Louis really meant was "Don't lose hope!" I'm not playing dumb here: I know that as an actor I have to audition a lot to get one job, and the more I audition, the more I realize that not getting one job is no big deal because there will be another project in a couple days, maybe even in a couple hours, so it's best not to dwell on the audition once it's over. It's best not to lose hope and to instead turn your focus to your next auditions.
Because auditions might not result in a job, I have to learn to enjoy just the auditions themselves. Auditions become a chance to perform when I'm not working. They become a chance to meet new directors and writers and casting directors. (I can start having hope for jobs that haven't even been created yet!) Auditions become a chance to get better and better at performing under pressure regardless of if you get the job! (But don't forget, the goal is to eventually get the job, right?)
Maybe it helps some people audition better if they "don't get their hopes up," but for me personally, I can't help myself!! I always carry around a little hope, and if it's a job I really really lurrrve and desperately want baaaaaad, (like the job
I have now), I'm not gonna lie, I carry around a lot of hope!! I let the hope drive me to practice and research and do the best I can!
I haven't heard back anything about the job I auditioned for Monday. There are some things I learned by doing the audition. I hope my next audition goes better. I hope my next audition is for something really fun and really good! I have hope, hope, hope....I just can't help myself!