Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Set It & Forget It

A long time ago, I learned to just "set it and forget it" in regards to job interviews and auditions. If I didn't, I'd be playing the "what if" game until the cows came home; re-running every scenario in my head, acting out every single outcome, and at the end of the day, still not feeling any better about my performance.

What exactly is the "set it and forget it" method?  It's where you do your best to prepare for your interview/audition in the weeks/days/hours beforehand, give it your all in the interview/audition and then once you walk past the door frame on your way out, you stop thinking about anything related to your performance in the room.

There's really nothing you can do once you leave that room to better your chances of getting the job/role.  There are no re-dos.  There are no take-backs.  You have to be confident that you did your best and everything from that point forward is out of your control.  Just "set it and forget it".

People always say that the job is theirs to lose, but it's actually not.  It's only theirs to gain.  If you don't get the job, you're no worse off than when you went in, so there's no real reason to stress about it.

Here's an example of how setting it and forgetting it can help keep your life stress-free.

I recently went to an audition that was looking to cast an Asian male who was at least 5' 9", very muscular and looked like a martial artist.  The role would be for a comic book character at Comic-con.  I'm not extremely muscular, but at 6' 0", 180-ish lbs with an athletic build, I'm sure I could get pumped long enough to look "very muscular" for them.

So the night before and even the early morning hours before my audition, I focused on getting my arms pumped with push ups, dips on the edge of a chair and arm curls using an 8-pack of Gatorade (they asked me to wear a tank top, so I decided to just focus on my arms).  This audition was all about looks.  I really couldn't pack on 10 pounds of muscle in one night, but I gave it my best shot anyways.

I walked into the casting office, took a look at the character rendering that was posted on the wall and noticed that the character had the exact same hair that I did!  That's got to be a plus, right?  They were going to make us wear wigs, but maybe I wouldn't need to wear a wig.

I waited patiently as a couple of other guys auditioned before me and I even did some push ups in the hallway for a last second arm pump to get my blood flowing.  When my turn came, I went in the room and performed the standard audition procedure:  the name slate, the 360 spin and a quick two sentence interview.  I still wore the wig because that's what the clients asked for, but at least they got to see my real hair when I gave my name.

I was told that a decision for casting would be made by the same evening, but that bit of info went out the window as I stepped through the door into the hallway.  I wasn't going to wait by the phone for a call.

Comic-con came and went and needless to say, I never got a call from the casting director.  Just out of curiosity, I wanted to see who they cast for the character.  A little bit of searching quickly revealed that the comic book was titled "Blood Red Dragon" and was created by Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane and a Japanese rockstar named Yoshiki.

I found press photos of the three of them at Comic-con, but I never saw the martial arts character that I auditioned for.  Instead, I found photos of the female character:

For a comic book convention filled with guys, why in the world would they keep the almost naked female character and completely cut out the MAIN male character?  <-- I really need a sarcasm font.

If I had played the "what if" game with myself, wondering what if I was taller, stronger, slimmer, etc. it still wouldn't have mattered because NOBODY got the part.  Why did the part get cut out?  There could be a million reasons and none of them would help me for my next audition, so there's no reason to worry about it.

It's better to "set it and forget it" and be surprised that you got the job or booked the role instead of stressing yourself out after each interview.  Some things are just out of your control and you have to accept that.

While I didn't get booked for the role, I did meet a new casting director and I can begin building a new relationship, which is really what I'm focusing on right now anyways.  But what if I was just a little bit more muscular in the audition...

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