“YOU PRACTICE FOR REHEARSAL, NOT DURING REHEARSAL”
If you happen to be a professional musician or you’re in a relationship with one, chances are that you’ve heard this comment. My wife makes a living as a flutist/pianist, and she has said this many times.
To come to a rehearsal unprepared is unprofessional. Prep time is supposed to be part of your pay, so if you go on stage trying to wing it, don’t think it will go unnoticed. Some musicians are notorious for their level of unpreparedness, and people hate playing with them because that one rotten apple makes the whole basket look and sound bad.
Not preparing in advance is a sign of a careless attitude. It shows disrespect to your fellow musicians, to the intentions of the composer, and to the audience.
Now, you know me. You may believe that I am just talking about the world of music, but I’m only using it as an example to make a point about my own community. The community of voice overs.
Here’s one of the most persistent myths: one of the best ways to practice is to do as many auditions as you can. Even if you don’t land a single job, you still got some on-the-job training. Isn’t that superb?
DON’T BE FOOLED
Especially Pay-to-Plays love using this argument, knowing very well that the chances are slim that you’ll land a job with so many other hopefuls fighting for the same bare bones. In psychology we call this tactic a reframe. Turning something that isn’t a positive into something that will be perceived as more positive. Like lemons and lemonade. You’re not falling for it, are you?
Listen. You know what they say about first impressions and second chances. When you audition for a gig, you are supposed to know what you are doing before you go “on stage.” Just like a musician, you need to be fully prepared and show your very best side. This is not the time to practice and experiment. This is where you need to bring it.
As they say: the audition is the job.
QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY
When it comes to auditioning, QUALITY always beats QUANTITY. It’s not a race to see how many you can crank out in a day. A professional photographer would never take random pictures of couples to convince a bride and groom to hire him for their big event. If he has any brains, he will only show his best work.
Do you think that taking casual pictures will teach him to become a better photographer? No! He’s only bound to make the same mistakes over and over again.
The same thing happens with your auditions that went nowhere. Do you ever hear back from a client telling you why you didn’t book the job? Did you get specific feedback on how to improve? Did someone coach you to correct your mistakes? No, no, and NO!
So, how is doing an audition good practice?
Hey, I’m not saying you can’t use an old audition script and work on it with a coach. That’s very different from doing a real audition and sending it in.
Please don’t be that one bad, embarrassing apple that will end up on the gag reel of the company that was looking for a voice. The next time they see your name they’ll remember you for all the wrong reasons.
Remember: people tend to remember the things that go wrong much better than the things that go right.
Your audition should be as good as the real job, so, practice in advance, not during your audition.