"This is the 3rd audition I've gone to this week", he said. "Last week I went to two and I have three more scheduled for next week." I wondered whether feeling confident about the outcome helps keep him motivated to go to so many audition. He quickly responded by saying: "Confident? I go in knowing that it's a gamble and the odds are against me. If anything, I feel very uncertain."
So, what was it then? What was helping him survive audition burn out, a problem that affects many actors and performers who get to the point of having to painfully force themselves to leave the house? For this actor the key concept was LIFE BALANCE.
Maintaining a balanced life with many sources of satisfaction is what keeps a steady stream of energy and motivation going. Auditioning can be an exhausting process. One that requires high levels of optimism, dedication, persistence, resilience and the colloquial "thick skin." The tendency is often for those going to auditions to either become completely consumed by the process (living and breathing auditions which often results in hight anxiety) or to skip them altogether as a way of avoiding rejections (resulting in low audition success and feelings of depression).
A happy medium can be achieved by making sure one does not solely rely on audition callbacks for creative expression and overall emotional well-being. For example, a healthy balance can be achieved by planning ahead and scheduling social interactions, physical activity and non audition-related hobbies the week of the audition. For actors, taking a painting or tap dance class in addition to the preparation for acting auditions is another example of how to vary sources of artistic engagement without exclusively depending on audition outcome for this type of satisfaction. The actor discussed above was also in a funk band, tried to go on day excursions every month and attended fellow artist friends' shows and events.
When the artists I work with and I discuss this, I can usually detect some low grade defensiveness. "I don't have the time" and "I need auditions to make money to be able to afford doing other things" are two common responses. These are valid and understandable considerations. However, after seeing the big picture and long term benefits of working towards a life balance, it has become increasingly evident that spending some time on other types of activities helps with the overall attitude towards auditioning. The right kind of attitude helps preserve a health long-lasting relationship with auditioning, therefore maintaining it is a worthy investment.