Don’t be a Jerk: Personality 101

This post is inspired by Ben Hodge (@benhodgestudios).

“Don’t be a jerk.”

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

When you are auditioning, be nice. Be professional. Treat others how you wish to be treated, and such. Treat EVERYONE nicely. Not just the CD and everyone in the audition room. EVERYONE. I am willing to bet that you (we) are being judged…sized up…analyzed…critiqued…typed…etc., from the moment we walk into the office/theater. Accept this as true, and act (behave) accordingly. Sure, you might be nervous…afraid…and contemplating running straight back to your car, but rise above your nerves (fear), take off the mask of self-importance, and interact with civility. We need more of that as a general rule around here, so, please, for the sake of your fellow actors and the people who play a big part in your career, don’t be a jerk.

Now, I know. I know. It can be challenging to be kind, nice, friendly, etc. at all times. Especially when you have been to the casting office 6 times in a given year and the casting office is 160 miles from home. One way. Ugh. You’ve  made it to callbacks 5 out of 6 times, and during the “producer session” (well, I think that is what it’s called) or the callback, the dudes in the corner with their arms folded kind of look like they would rather be anywhere else than in the room watching your blooming audition. Yes. It happens. This experience is not unique. Rise above. Don’t take it personally. Smile. Nod. Greet them before you start and say thanks as you leave. Why not? It’s simple, and makes you appear easy to work with.

Let your inner child come out and PLAY!

Be yourself. Or, the best version of you. Enjoy yourself and the process. You are an actor and you have been called in to audition. You enjoy acting – you love it, I am guessing – so remember that and reazlie that you have an opportunity to do what you love. An audition is YOUR CHANCE to ply your craft, share your gifts, interpret a script, etc. You love this, yes? Good! So, bask in that feeling and let that come out of you during your time in the casting offices. Yes, there is pressure. But, share the joy, not the pressure.

If you keep things in perspective, take nothing for granted, and remember why you are where you are, then you won’t be acting like a jerk. People remember jerks. And, most of the time, jerks don’t get get the job. Be remembered for your work. And your attitude – your positive attitude. Be nice.

I recall a radio interview with a American woman who went to France to raise her children. She wrote a book about the cultural difference she found in parenting. One thing I found wonderfully striking about her experience was that, in France, children are taught to say Bonjour or “hello” to everyone they meet. Everyone. This “forced friendliness,” to me, points to an effort or a philosophy which encourages children to respectfully acknowlede the existence of others. In this, our sometime mad, mad world, where we plug in, tune out, and are afraid to make eye-contact with each other, perhaps a smile and a hello is just what your fellow actors and casting office people need. Go ahead. Surprise them. Surprise yourself.

Don’t be a jerk.

4 thoughts on “Don’t be a Jerk: Personality 101

  1. This is just brilliant. You hit our convo on the head, and you smacked the ‘personality’ discussion right out of the park. Looking forward to hearing how we can use this for my 5 P’s of Professionalism series. (love the new look, btw.)

  2. I remember this one actor coming to an audition; I had looked for all of the men on TPS who could play age 60, and he was one. Well, when he got there, he said he wasn’t going to do a monologue because we had invited him to audition. (!)

    I would have thanked him right then and there and let him go, but the director let him read something. In any case, we certainly didn’t cast him.

    It’s the same for auditors, too. I always try to be polite and friendly, starting with a clear audition announcement that tells people what to expect, and when they’ll hear from me. And I *apologize* if I run behind.

  3. I like the American-woman-in-France anecdote. That is SO true. I wonder if the Internet is making us less able to communicate in person. My experience with auditions is that most people try. Some have read the wrong books. 🙂 Others just need more practice.

    Thanks for the post.

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