The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Post Audition Insomnia

I'm having another one of those classic post audition call back insomnia moments. Today I had an audition and callback. The entire day feeling that elated "God I hope I get it" feeling that dances in your head and sinks into your gut. It also helps that it's another chance for me to see my local performer friends and catch up on their lives. I'm rarely in social situations nowadays. Auditions, callbacks and rehearsals are often the closest I come to a "night out with friends." And being that over stimulated does not sit well for an indoor cat like myself.

Occasionally I sit back and wonder why I'm a performer. I get plenty of thrills with other parts of my life. Squatting and Deadlift frequently prove to be quite fun. But then I'll hear about an audition. I'll flip through my schedule and see where it lands on the calendar. I'll try to place myself in that time of year, I think about the show and it's importance to me - and if I want it bad enough I'll chase it down like hell. That eagerness, that sensation of potential - it's like being in a new relationship.

Calling to get an audition slot often times feels like calling a friend of a friend for a date. "Please let me entertain you for a few minutes, I promise I won't bore you." 

I'll sometimes end up learning the whole show before I've even scheduled my appointment. I'll have the sides memorized before I even sing a note for the audition panel. If I want something and I feel a connection to it, there are few things that will keep me from doing very very well.

Under Pressure

There is something to be said about the weight of pressure one feels when doing an audition or callback. There is a heaviness to the situation. Very few find comfort in it. People either make small talk, or try to make the world smaller but talking about the people you know in common. We'll make jokes about the sides or the show, the music, everybody is reaching for relatability. I've tried the Ol' "where do you come from, what brings you here" kind of thing. It's made for some fun talk that doesn't center around the work in front of us.

I think in some manner we often reach for tangible things we can relate to and eventually we just start reciting our resumes and name dropping. This can get ugly, and I honestly don't think people are intentionally condescending or attempting head games when doing so - but this kind of "one upmanship" is very frequent banter in the audition halls. I'm not ashamed to say that I've engaged in such talk before, it doesn't really bother me when I hear it. I don't assume that anyone is trying to intimidate me, and if they are they are failing. Talk is cheap, my friends. I much prefer action. And after learning to become friends with frequent heavy squatting, you discussing your contact list does nothing to incite fear in me.

I suggest everyone manifest the same mindset, then we can all yack about this and that and just enjoy the company. Everyone in the group is after all, a performer - an entertainer. Lot's of fun to be had.

The Waiting Game

It's always a waiting game. You wait for auditions to be posted. You wait for the audition day, then callbacks to be posted or to be informed of said callbacks. Then at the callback you sit and wait as they bring in some people, bring in others, move us around like chess pieces. You often wonder what they are thinking, but to do such pondering is futile.

Then when the callback is's done. You sit and wait for a phone call. Or maybe you start to be much more attentive to your email...just in case, you know? Or you do what we did in college, click refresh on the online callboard until the cast list was posted. It feels like you're taking cortisol injections to the face. Good times.

How does the expression go? It's almost worst not knowing? The post audition feels could be described as a perpetual Shrodinger's cat in the box. Is the cat alive or dead? If I didn't get the part, Who did?

In college the cast list would go up and you'd either see your name or you wouldn't. In professional theatre you just won't receive a call. Then you'll see promos begin to be passed around, you'll see a Facebook event page. Then you'll start to think...I'm pretty sure I didn't get it

...but I better check my email spam folder just to make sure.


As much as not getting a role (or a callback) sucks, the joy of landing a job feels completely badass. It feels like winning. Which I guess in some ways is very true. If this were a contest, you would have won the contest. But the person cast isn't necessarily booked because of their talent or audition or whatever. It's frequently lost to things completely out of your control. The facts of life. And regardless of the "wisdom" I pretend to understand and convey, losing...or just "not winning" never feels good. 

But frankly I'm trying to not linger on that. I learned a long time ago that you can't live and die by every audition outcome. You'll wear yourself and all of your loved ones out with that roller coaster. Cortisol makes you look like crap.

"Ambition should be made of sterner stuff."

Announcements. Kind of.

I'm hoping to move to a mecha where I'll have the opportunity to sing for many auditions multiple times a year, not just a couple of times here and there. Thats right, Ol' Yeargain is gearing up for a potential move to the big apple. And the reason I bring this up is because When and if this happens my job won't be to just sing roles, my job will be to sing auditions. And the focus should never be about the role, it should be about performing a stellar audition. That was a great piece of acting advice bestowed upon by Bryan Cranston.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

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