Humor by Diane Farr
I began auditioning for acting jobs at the ripe old age of 12. Thirty years later, including a 15-year run on television, I sometimes just get offers for work. Often, however, I am still required to run pell-mell around Los Angeles or New York, interviewing for film and TV jobs.
I've put in much more than the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell suggests would make you an expert in any field - including the field of job interviewing - so perhaps my fellow underemployed Americans would appreciate a professional actor's (read: continual interviewee's) tips on keeping your confidence intact when hustling for work.
As you might imagine, an audition - which is actually a full performance but without any pretty clothes or hairstyling (or pay) that must be performed while balancing 10 pages of script in hand in front of a firing squad of hiring types who openly judge me as I pour my heart out with someone else's words - could easily crush your confidence.
Yet, that is not the spirit-crushing part of my job interview. That's just the "art" part.
When I begin the work on the five to 20 pages of dialogue I am asked to learn and regurgitate with charm, I have to pull out my emotional baggage and give it to a character. Depending on the type of artist you are, that takes somewhere between 15 minutes and 10 hours. Professional coaches are often hired and paid by the hour to do this. Or if you are a studied actor, fellow thespians will be called in to practice and or direct you to this dark/vulnerable/funny place, which may end up costing you more when you are asked to return the favor.
On the day of the audition, I imagine that men spend 15 minutes preparing their face, shoes, clothing and car. That is enviable to me as a female, since my hair, makeup and wardrobe must meet prom-night standards. This plus commute time is a minimum two-hour commitment for all actresses, regardless of whether you like to play dress up.
Then there is the first hour after the audition - which years of experience will teach you is the only time you should ever allow yourself to think about this potential job again. Because if you will be offered it, you will get that call within the hour.
Sadly, new actors (meaning anyone younger than Betty White) will spend much more than one hour hoping and overanalyzing the audition and themselves. This process will not help you land this job and can crush your chances for the next.
This self-flagellation will certainly be revisited when we eventually learn who got the job we spent at least two (but perhaps upward of 12) hours trying to get. And after many decades in the business, we will probably know this person, which is its own special penance.
In summary, here are the CliffsNotes after putting myself through this insidious job-fetching process for longer than Lindsay Lohan has been alive:
The interview itself should be the shortest and therefore easiest part of the process. Think of it like a first date that will be over and gone before you know it - so don't save your best stuff for next time or there won't be one.
Start the clock the minute you walk out the door and only allow yourself the next hour to think about everything you just did from prep to curtain call. And if by chance you later hear who got that job you put time and energy into - wish them well. Someday you will land the right job and all those good wishes may work as a force field when the playa haters turn on you.
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Humor & Funny Stories - An Actor's Tips for Jobhunting | Humor - Diane Farr
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