Plan for Success Not Failure
“You may delay, but time will not.” - Benjamin Franklin
You can’t plan every little detail or control everything, but you can prepare as much as possible.
It goes without fail whenever I have something important, like an audition for example, the week it happens things go sideways. I doubt I’m the only one out there that has had something go ‘wrong.’ What can I do to “avoid” this? Absolutely nothing!
I can’t control life or what happens, I can only control myself and my own actions. I have found a few tricks to help take the stress off and to keep from feeling like I’m losing my shit.
Here they are -
I write a list of what I need for my audition in my planner. I set a due date to make sure these are all taken care of at least 2 days in advance.
Resume & Headshot (stapled together)
Audition Attire (Make a detailed list of what you’ll be wearing to save time.)
Gas in my vehicle (because I drive, in your case check your choice of transportation).
Sheet music (Printed, marked, and in a binder.)
Dance Attire (If needed.)
Copy of my monologue(s) to look over. (This helps calm my nerves.)
Portable phone charger (If you’ll be out all day this is handy if you can’t find an outlet.)
Other materials needed for the day of the audition.
I keep notes of things I personally like to wear to auditions. This may not be something important to you, and that’s ok. This helps me know what I own and prefer to wear so I can keep track of where it is to make sure it’s clear and ready to go.
List of audition materials - monologue and songs. Show they come from, genre, type, etc.
A reminder to check my Acting Resume every month to include any updates.
Schedule time to work on current audition pieces.
Schedule time to search for new material.
Now, let me be blunt, I'm not a perfect person. Each week looks differently for me. I plan from week to week. I set my priorities at the beginning of the month based on what I know I’m doing.
For example - If I know I have an audition that month, then my focus is working on audition material I have. During the months I’m not auditioning, I like to read new works. I could be doing it for fun or with the intention of looking for new material for myself and/or clients.
That’s the most important part I’d like to point out - intention. I set my focus intentionally based on what’s happening in my professional life. I have found that laying out a plan allows me to see where I’m putting my focus and energy.
I have bad days and weeks too. They suck and I frankly don’t like feeling like being set back. However, I do my best to give myself some grace and look back in my calendar to see what I have gotten done. I adjust during my bad days and/or weeks and narrow down what absolutely must have my attention. If it can wait, it does.
When the week of an audition rolls around I can feel comforted knowing I have done the work ahead of time so I can relax and focus on the audition. I’m not stressed around worrying about what I’ll wear, having my materials ready, or if my pieces are memorized because I did the work early and often.
I don’t make templates or charts for others because I strongly believe you should make your own system. Find what works for you. Trial and error, but the most important thing I do strongly recommend - keep track of what worked and what didn’t. Make notes of the reasons why.
For example myself - I’m not a morning person. I tried for one week to get up before my kid to work out. I set my alarm, had my workout clothes on, everything I could find to help me be that person who gets up early to work out. I made it two days. I work so much better at night after everyone goes to bed. I’m more awake, my focus and intention is present, and it’s a time when I want to work out. The same goes for when I work on my business, my work as an actor, etc. I work better at night.
I also like my paper planners. I have two and they’re both different. One is for my personal life and the other for my business. They both need different things, but they’re both paper planners. That’s because I work better when I write things down with a pencil on paper. I’m more likely to do and check the things I have written down. I’m also more likely to do them intentionally and well.
So if you’ve made it this far and you’re thinking, “Amelia, I don’t like to plan, and you haven’t convinced me to do so.” That’s ok! I’m not trying to turn you in to me. This blog is to give suggestions.
This blog is also to make you think differently too. What’s something you could plan that would help you as an actor? What is something you struggle with before/during auditions?
If you’re struggling with what to wear - plan 2-3 standard outfits you wear to take the burden of what to wear off your shoulders.
Not happy with your audition pieces? Start making it a monthly goal to read X amount of plays a month. Change up how many you read each month so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Base your reading goal around the realistic amount of time you have to commit to read them.
Afraid you’ll forget your headshot and/or resume? Have extra copies in your bag or e-mail yourself copies to print on the go.
Not one to carry cash with you? I like to carry some emergency cash stashed away in a secret place that I know about that’s always with me.
Look at what’s important to you and where you may be struggling. Focus on improving there.
In this business you are your own advocate, administrative assistant, dresser, sometimes driver, and you’re responsible for yourself. I encourage you to take the time to invest in yourself as an actor.