What Did I Do Wrong?

What Did I Do Wrong?
Friday musings...

Often after an audition (when you actually got SEEN!),  or a callback, or after you get that delightful PFO letter (please don't make me spell that out for you), the first question we ask is "what did I do wrong? why don't they want me?"

Wrong question.  Wrong direction.

It is easy to get sucked into the vacuum of negativity.  Trust me.  The problem with it is that if you go down that particular rabbit hole Alice,  it takes a great deal of excavation to find your way back.

What if you didn't do anything wrong?  Then what?  How do you answer THAT?

Here are the numbers - roughly of course.  95% of us who say we are in the business, are never working.  1 in 11,000 performers make it to Broadway.  And I could go on.  I think you get it.  There are lots of us. 

You have CHOSEN a profession where "rejection" is the commonplace.  You will be told "thanks but no" much more than a resounding "yes" for an actual job. 

This is the crux:  The yes/no is for a JOB.  It isn't about whether you did something wrong.

Casting, as my colleague Paul Russell will say, is glorified HR.  They decide whether you are "qualified". 

So let's start changing the question, shall we?  We need to begin to ask the questions BEFORE we walk into casting, BEFORE we walk into an audition, BEFORE we decide to audition at all.

The questions need to be ACTION ORIENTED.  Am I ready?  Do I know what I can do?  Do I know what I will reveal about my talent/ability today?  Do I have what it takes to say yes to a job and actually sustain what the character, the score, the lifestyle DEMANDS?

As artists, we have a grand capacity for self-doubt.  This is part of the journey.  We question in order to discover.  We question process in order to find it;  we question who we are and why we are in order for the larger truths of communication and life to emerge.

However, business is business.  It doesn't walk a journey of spirit or self-reflection.  It plows ahead,  looks for the bottom line,  and sometimes in spite of it,  real art is created!  It is there to create money through product. 

Of course,  there are exceptions, but for argument's sake, let's take the bottom line in order to make the point.

There is great emotional commitment and integrity in being an artist.  Not so much in business.  It isn't personal in that regard. 

Being an artist IN the business is a constant juggling act and constant reminder of what IS and what IS NOT.

Forget the questions and queries and mind games we play with ourselves AFTER the disappointment.  What about BEFORE?

Are you prepared? Truly?  Is your technique in order?  Are you singing the best material for the audition - that shows what you CAN do, not what you wish to do.

Do you know HOW to audition professionally? Have you actually PRACTICED it?

Are you looking at the call like a job interview?  Are you aware of what they are asking for?  Do you fit the requirements?

Then all you can do it prepare and hit it.  The person who can do YOU the best - is YOU. 

If you achieve that,  you didn't do anything wrong.   You weren't what they were looking for - this time.  They couldn't use you - this time.   They couldn't see you - this time.

What did you do wrong?  You wasted TIME on something you simply can't control or change.  Hold your head high and release it.  Claim your time and your preparation and move to the next.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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