What to Do After a Bad Audition

of 05

Survived a Bad Audition?

Audition nerves

Alex and Laila/Stone/Getty Images

Regardless of how many auditions you attend as an actor, from time to time you’re likely to experience one that you just don’t feel too great about. Feeling like you’ve had a “bad” audition can leave you feeling low and discouraged. However, it can also be a time to learn some valuable lessons, and here are some of them!   

of 05

Don't Be Hard on Yourself

Actor forgets his lines

Claudia Burlotti/Getty Images

At any point in your acting career, including when you feel that you have had a bad audition, don’t be hard on yourself! Actors deal with many challenges that are difficult to handle on a daily basis—including rejection—and treating yourself in any way other than with kindness will not be beneficial. If you attend an audition and leave thinking that you didn’t do your best work—possibly you made a mistake or forgot your lines—take a few minutes to relax and simply clear your mind. Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. Do you think you’d say to your best friend after they experienced a bad audition, “Wow that was HORRIBLE, you should just give up!”? Probably not! You’d likely reassure and comfort a friend, not beat them up after a tough experience. 

It’s okay to acknowledge your feelings if you think that you did not do your best work, but keep everything in perspective. You’re human! Things don’t always go completely smoothly or perfectly, and mistakes happen. And even when a mistake occurs in an audition, it is typically not a bad thing. After all, as Carolyne Barry explains, “mistakes are gifts.” We can learn from mistakes, and in an audition, we can use them to show a casting director how we would handle a mistake as a professional performer. (A mistake just might land you the job!)

of 05

Keep a Good Perspective About It

Keep perspective

PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Getty Images

It is certainly understandable that it’s not always easy to keep a good perspective when you’re not feeling great. But it’s important to shake negative thoughts as quickly as possible! Recently, I auditioned for a role in a film, and I left this audition feeling disappointed in myself. As I was walking from the audition to my car, I kept thinking over and over, "I could have done better." I aim to stay positive at all times, but I was feeling very frustrated with myself, and I began thinking in a negative manner. I pondered such thoughts as, “Am I really a good actor? Will my agent drop me after that one?!” and, “Is it even worth my time to keep pursuing acting when I just auditioned so horribly?!”

As I approached my car, I looked to my left and I noticed a cemetery. When I looked at it, I almost instantly snapped out of that negative mindset. I was reminded while looking at those gravestones that, hey—I’m still here—I’m alive! I have the opportunity to do better, because I’m still here. This may seem quite obvious, but it can be easy to lose sight of how precious every moment is if we don’t take the time to stop and look around at all that we have. Life moves fast, and it’s important to keep a good perspective. I survived an audition that didn’t go so great, but so what!? I’ll work on doing a better job tomorrow. And that is what we all should strive for every day, isn’t it? 

of 05

Consider What You Can Work On

Practice the craft

Betsie Van Der Meer/Stone/Getty Images

After a “bad” audition, ask yourself why you think that it went so “bad?” What could you improve upon? I put quotes around the word “bad” because in reality, you probably did much better than you thought you did! 

On the other hand, if you really did something awful in the audition room and feel like you need to explain yourself, consider sending a short note to the casting director. Thank them for the opportunity, and explain what you learned from your experience! Most casting directors are wonderful, kind people and will be understanding. 

As an actor (and as a person!) you are a work in progress, and you have the opportunity to grow all the time. Being constantly enrolled in an acting class and an audition-technique class can help you to better prepare for your auditions. Note what it is that you’d like to improve on so you can sharpen your skills. Since my tough audition involved improvisation, I was reminded of how important it is to study improv as an actor. These insights can further your growth as an actor.

of 05

Move On To The Next One!

Performer on stage

Quavondo/Getty Images 

It’s important to learn how to let go. The worst thing that you can do after an audition that doesn’t go so well is to dwell on how “bad” you did. (As mentioned previously, it is likely that you did a fine job anyway!) Even if you deliver your worst possible audition ever, it does no good thinking about what you "could have" or "should have" done differently! The same is true for any past event; it’s over and cannot be changed. We must move forward, and let it go. Focus your attention on what you learned, what you hope to improve upon, and start preparing for your next opportunity. There will always be more opportunities to audition. On to the next!