Today’s Creative Monday’s post will not be for every artist but it was something I was thinking about today, so I figured I’d write about it. This is more advice for those creative types that go on a lot of auditions or perform live, but it could have an application for painters, sculptors and other artists as well.
Last week, I got an email asking me to come in and audition for a project. I, of course, said yes and the person emailed me info about the audition. It was for a puppet job and over the weekend I familiarized myself with the person that this puppet was based on and felt pretty confident in what I’d do for the audition. Audition day rolls around, and I get there early and I’m totally relaxed and ready to go. The woman who’s running the audition meets me in the lobby and we greet each other and as we are walking to the the elevator she says, “Do you know exactly what we are doing here today?”
I said, “Yes.”
“Great!” she replies, “We’ll get you all set up in the recording booth to see the clips and then you can just do some ADR.
WHAT?! I didn’t say that out loud That’s what my brain said. What I really said was, “Okay.”
I must have said it a little weird because she said, “Did you not know you were doing that?”
I said, “No. I thought this was a puppet audition.”
“It is.” She said, but right now we are just auditioning to do some ADR over some pre-existing clips.”
I smiled, “Okay! Let’s do it!”
Now, here’s the issue. I’ve never done ADR before. It stands for Automated Dialogue Replacement. Another name for it is looping. It’s where you watch a clip from a movie or TV show and then you replace some of the dialogue. This can be an actor replacing dialogue they recorded in the scene that was too noisy to hear, or it can be replacing an actors voice with a new voice, which is what was going on here. Again, I’d never done it before but I thought to myself, “I’m here, let’s do it!” Once we were set up however, I instantly realized that none of the character prep I’d done beforehand was going to work.
This entire audition was turning out to be a complete 180 degree turn from what I thought it was going to be. At the moment I realized this I had two real choices. I could throw a big fit about it and whine and complain saying how I was mislead about what this audition was or I could just give it a shot a do my best. I chose the second option.
You know what? It turned out pretty good. Was I perfect? No, mainly because I’d never done ADR before, but I did good enough to not feel embarrassed. In situations like this I think that really is the only real, professional, choice you have.
When you get thrown, just do your best.
In my years doing comedy music there were countless times on stage where I got thrown. The first time a string broke on stage I was a mess. There have been sound issues, unruly audience members and, heck, crowds that just weren’t into me. In each and every one of those situations, there’s only one real choice. Do your best.
What do you do when something throws you while pursuing your art? Do you have other strategies? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Have a great, and creative, week!
Recently I received a scheduling for a puppet audition through The Jim Henson Company. When I was first called about it, I was initially pretty confident I could go in there and nail it. Then, I received the script and all the information about the audition and I was even MORE confident I could go in their an nail it. The character was something I could hit out of the part really easily, the script was funny (something I usually find is quite rare in these situations) and it would just be a tremendously fun project to work on.
Then, just a few days before the audition, I found out something that rattled my confidence completely. Just completely dashed that sense of ‘I got this” completely. The good old Negative Brain took full control. In one instant, I went from confident to a complete mess. “I got this” became, “Not in a million years.” In fact, my negative brain, as if does, started telling me, “Just don’t even do it. That way you won’t be disappointed when you don’t get it.”
Now, my negative brain is not strong enough for me to make majorly stupid mistakes. I completely understand the consequences of not showing up to an audition that The Jim Henson Company has scheduled you for. So, there was no way I was going to NOT go to the audition.
I began thinking about being nervous about something big in your creative career and how it can completely play with your mind. In situations like that you have two choices. Don’t do it, as your negative brain would have you and play it safe. Or, as the old Nike ad says, “just do it.” And really, there is no choice. Just do it.
Nerves are nothing. They are just a holdover from that primitive brain we’ve talked about before on here. They are there to keep you safe. But when you think about things logically you’ll see that nerves can sometimes misguide you.
Being nervous while swimming in shark infested waters is probably a good idea. You could die.
Being nervous when going into an audition, or unveiling your recent painting, or stepping out on stage to play a new song, recite a new poem, read a new story, etc., those things re not likely to kill you. You’ll be just fine. Sure, you may blow the audition, receive criticism, get booed, but is it going to kill you? Probably not. And in the unlikely event that those things happen (how many people really get booed anymore?) they will all be incredible learning experiences of what to do or not do the next time you are in one of those situations.
So, when it came to this audition of mine, there really was only one choice, do it. I studied the script harder than anything I had recently. I worked on my puppetry even more to be spot on when I went in. Part of the audition would be riffing/improv so I thought of things I may say in different situations that may pop up. I made myself completely ready for this audition.
Was I still nervous? Yes.
Was I going to let that nervousness stop me? No way.
Will I get the part? Who knows? But I’m more likely to get it now that I didn’t chicken out and not go to the audition.
If you are nervous about something, just do it.
How do you deal with being nervous about big events in your creative life? Has the nervousness ever won out? Or did you battle is successfully?