“Nice” Doesn’t Book the Gig
Servant or creator?
Most new to acting are understandably unsure of themselves and see their role in auditioning as being a “people pleaser.”
“If I smile they might like me and hire me,” is the thought. “If I’m nice and polite and obedient, if I at least don’t offend, if I just do everything that was asked of me and pleasantly depart, I’ll ingratiate myself to them and they’ll want to sign or hire me.”
Sorry, but “nice” and needy doesn’t book the gig.
Would you hire a guy to redo the plumbing in your house just because he’s “nice?” How about a needy dentist who was merely inoffensive and smiled a lot? What about a mechanic who was very polite and just wanted a job?
When auditioning you certainly want to give a good performance and leave a favorable impression. But your demeanor needs to reach beyond merely being liked or pleasant.
You must realize that you are there not to get something but to make something and give it away. Your job whether at an audition or a gig is not to receive, but to give away something you make.
Early in a career, it’s hard to see that your greatest asset is the power of your craft- the thing you make- and the confidence that gives you. That is what people hire- your power to create and your ability to inspire confidence from that.
They are not interested in hiring your capacity for being polite.
As you strengthen both your acting and auditioning skills (each is really a separate “show”) you will come to see auditioning and acting from a different angle- from a more confident and freer position of creative authority, not of servitude or wanting.
You will not enter the audition room focused on taking something or wanting to receive. You will enter the audition room ready to create, to give something. You are not there to sweep up the room and make things neat and pretty. You are a collaborative problem solver.
There is power in that.
That is what they really want to hire- a confident creator who is smart, engaging, who listens, then makes something appropriately incredible, irresistible, thoughtful, funny, daring, surprising— then confidently exits. No apologies, no fretting over choices, no curtsying.
When you come to see that you are there to give rather than to get, the entire game changes- in your (and everyone else’s) favor.
It’s a profound “paradigm shift,” and it completely changes how you work and how you engage with those looking to possibly hire you. It changes the workflow of your career as well.
You are there not to beg a favor or try and get something. Nobody’s hiring you as a favor. You should never treat booking a gig as if someone were doing you a favor. In fact, doing that denigrates the entire process and makes you look amateur.
Your job, your art, your power as a creative pro is to make something awesome and give it to them and exit.