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Why You Didn’t Get the Role

Photo by Jared Erondu

By Marci Liroff

You had a great audition. You killed it. The casting office “pinned” you (casting called your agent to let them know you’re one of our finalists and to let us know if you get another job offer that conflicts). Your hopes are up. You don’t hear anything for a while. Then you get “unpinned” and you didn’t get the role. You ask yourself, “Why? What did I do wrong? What does the other guy have that I don’t?”

I’m here to tell you not to do that to yourself. Don’t go down the rabbit hole on this issue. I had this very thing happen last week on the film I’m casting. We had a final two and then chose one of the actors. The actor who didn’t get the role had his agent email to ask why? My response was this: “Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason. When putting together a family we have to think of all the moving pieces (the wife, the kids) and the overall vibe for the family. Your guy was great. He did everything right. The actor we chose fit better with our existing family.”

In this business, and in life actually, there are so many elements out of your control.

You don’t look right with our lead, you look too much like the writer’s ex-wife, you’re too tall, too short – you get the picture. The one thing you are in control of is your perspective. You get to choose how you are going to feel about not getting the role. No one can take that from you.

Are you going to kick yourself time and time again after each audition because you didn’t do what you wanted to do? Or are you going to learn from it – specifically learn from what went wrong or what sent you off the rails. Are you going to continue to let that voice inside your head that says “I’m not right for this – I always screw up in comedy – I’m no good” or are you going to master that voice and banish it not only from the room, but your head forever. You have this choice.

If you stop thinking, “I’ve got to get this role,” and make it your mission to walk into every room being über prepared and do what you came there to do, you will succeed.

If you make a subtle shift of your mindset so that your goal isn’t to get the job, but to consistently come into every room, knock it out of the park, and build relationships for the future. You want casting directors to bring you back multiple times on all their projects because we know we can trust you.

Remember that we’ve considered thousands for the role, (check out my article Auditions Can Be a Numbers Game) narrowed it down to auditioning about 30 actors (sometime hundreds depending on the role), and if you were chosen as the final two you’ve already won. I know it may not feel that way, but that’s where your perspective comes in.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Warning: I grant permission to share my blog as written with no additions or deletions. Posting my blog is in no way an endorsement of another site unless you obtain my written consent.)

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Auditions Can Be A Numbers Game

0707_marci-liroff-audition-advice-nick-bertozzi-ForWeb.jpg.644x650_q100Illustration by: Nick Bertozzi

By Marci Liroff
“So what are my chances for getting this? Aren’t they going to make offers to name actors?”

When I’m casting and coaching, these questions have come up too many times to not address the subject.

Stop doing this to yourself. You can’t figure this out and shouldn’t be spending any time trying. You’ve been chosen from thousands of submissions to audition, so you’re already a winner.

“Wait just a minute, Marci. How did I win when I didn’t get the role?” Let me break it down by the numbers to help explain. When I am casting a project, I come up with my lists. These lists are part wish lists, part reality lists, and part thinking outside the box and being creative. I have staffed my office with highly qualified individuals who have also cast films on their own. We put our heads together to come up with ideas based on our many years of combined experience.

Then I reach out to my agent and manager colleagues for their suggestions.

We now have a huge list of ideas for a role. In this digital age, agents and managers often submit as many as 3,000 actors for a single role on the first day.

Then we have the delicate task of going through each and every submission to decide who fits the role. Between our casting office’s initial lists and the submissions, you can imagine it’s a lot.

On a film, depending on the size of the role and scope of the project, we may bring in a couple hundred actors for the lead role, along with viewing several hundred self-taped auditions.

Imagine if you were chosen to audition out of thousands of actors. The other 2,800 actors didn’t even get the chance that you did.

You have the opportunity to meet face to face and perform for the casting office.

If you’re good and right for the role, we’ll bring you back and continue to foster you through the casting process. If you’re good but not right for the role, you’ve made a lasting impression on us and we’ll remember you for another project.

I’ve never met a casting director who didn’t have an impeccable memory. Even if we don’t, we are known for our organization and you can bet we took very precise notes for the future. We depend on these meetings and our notes. We’ll remember you for the next project and bring you in because we saw that you were a facile actor.

We may have an offer out to an actor and still hold auditions. Sometimes we shoot for the stars (all puns intended), yet we have an inkling it’s not going to work out. Nonetheless, the role still needs to be cast, so we keep on going. My office will always alert the agent that there’s an offer out so that the actor can decide whether he wants to come in. I always suggest you do, because there’s really nothing to lose. All the preparation you do when you come in and give a great audition isn’t wasted; it helps build relationships and we will always remember that great performance.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Warning: I grant permission to share my blog as written with no additions or deletions. Posting my blog is in no way an endorsement of another site unless you obtain my written consent.)

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The Voices Within

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By Marci Liroff

Do you think these thoughts and utter these phrases to describe yourself and others?

“I’m a hungry actor,” “He’s a starving artist”.  Do you describe those that hire you as “The gatekeepers” or “Those on the other side of the desk”?

Watch your mouth. Watch your thoughts. Watch the loop that goes on in your head tearing you down.

Words matter! Change your dialogue. Banish these terms from your lips and your brain. These thoughts are all pervasive. When you speak them aloud you give them life and energy. I have actor friends who refer to themselves in public and to their family as a “starving artist” while trying to maintain a supposedly tongue-in-cheek attitude. Even if they’re slightly joking, it plants a seed in people’s minds that artists have to starve and struggle for their work. The words and phrases tend to romanticize the life of an artist; that there has to be pain and lack of comfort to attain true art.

In my article “This Will Change Your Life” I asked you to reframe the way you’ve been thinking about meetings and auditions. I wrote about thinking of the whole auditioning process as a collaboration between filmmakers.

I also suggested that you’ve got to stop this deadly “me against them” loop that’s going on in your head. Delete the word “gate­keepers” and anything else that you think is standing in your way. Replace it with this mantra: “I am a filmmaker! I am a collaborator!”

Another self-sabotage move is the idea of luck. What is luck? Some have it and some don’t. Really? If luck exists, why do I even need to get up in the morning? My luck will take care of everything. No need to even insert myself into the equation because it’s out of my hands. I call bullshit on this with a big cherry on top.

I don’t believe in luck. Some say luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. This quote, attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, reminds us that we make our own luck.

As I always preach, perception is about 90% of the game. As an artist and performer, with so many things out of your control, the one thing you do have control of is your perception and how you will let things plant firmly in your brain, or whether you’re going to let go of them. Are you going to stick with the voice in your head that says, “I never get comedy jobs”? Or are you going to change your “luck” and start viewing your opportunity in a different light? Take ownership of this opportunity and get yourself into some sitcom and improv classes. Turn your bad “luck” on its ear.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman did a ten-year study on the topic of luck. In interviews with the study’s volunteers, he realized that unlucky people are typically more anxious and tend to be more hyper focused on the specifics of a situation. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more laid-back and open to whatever opportunities present themselves.

His research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make smart (lucky) decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

When you take control of what you say and think I guarantee a change.
The Universe is listening.

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Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Warning: I grant permission to share my blog as written with no additions or deletions.  Posting my blog is in no way an endorsement of another site unless you obtain my written consent.)