Monday, September 11, 2006

What the audition process taught me about life and writing

This was a very exciting and busy weekend for our family. A (8) and S (5) both auditioned for their first play on Friday night. They were both exceptional. They did the very best they could on that night, and we are so proud of them for doing what they love and being brave enough to try out. They both love to sing and perform, but they are both shy. They put their hearts into the audition process.

A got a callback. S did not. We waited and waited until Sunday night to hear the results. Neither girl made the cut. There will be no show for them this time.

All said, it was a fabulous experience. Here's what I learned about life and about writing as I watched my daughters. (S was not upset at all that she didn't make it. "I'm glad I didn't get in. That was scary!" For that reason, I'll focus on A's experience below.)

1) Enjoy the journey. We hear this all the time, but what does this really mean? A knows. She enjoyed the journey. Friday night, she was scared as she prepared to perform for a room full of people. She tapped into her courage and sang her little heart out. She raced back to me afterwards and squeezed me and said, "That was so much fun!" She couldn't believe how quickly the scared energy turns into something more powerful. She caught the performance high.

The next day, she learned she had a callback. She went for dance auditions saying, "I'm just so glad I get another chance to try again!" She learned the dance and performed it and ran to me with a huge smile, pleased with her performance once again.

All weekend, she thought about how great it would be to perform on that big stage. When she learned she didn't get a part, she cried lots of tears. Even though she didn't get in, she enjoyed herself. She had fun. She learned something. Getting the part wasn't the only goal here. She did her best and she grew from the experience. Is your only goal publication? Are you learning, growing and HAVING FUN?

2) Failure makes success even sweeter. So, A hasn't learned this one yet, but I can see this one as her mom. There was tremendous competition. I had no idea there was this much talent in the KC area. Wow. Yes, it would have been lovely to get in on her first try, but working hard and knowing how far she's come will make success that much more meaningful. Yes, it would be fun to be published with that first manuscript that we send out, but isn't the frustration and the sweat part of what makes the victory feel like it was worth the effort?

3) Discover your passion. A was upset about not being part of the cast because this is her passion. If it didn't hurt a little, if it didn't sting, we'd know she wasn't serious about acting. What about you? How much do you care?

4) Bounce back. It's easy to sit and mope when we get a rejection, but if you are meant to be an actress (or a writer), if you have that passion, you'll eventually bounce back. A was still sad this morning when she woke up, but she was already making plans to audition for the spring show, and she was asking about ways she could volunteer for this show. I think she's decided to help work the concession stand or to be an usher for a show or two. Are you a bouncer or a perpetual moper?

5) Surround yourself with people who care. A was crushed when she got the news. I rocked her like a little baby and wiped away her tears. I listened to her frustration. Then, I reminded her about all she learned, the fantastic performance she gave that night, and what an exciting experience this was for all of us. Even if she never gets a part, I'll be proud of her for trying. Who lifts YOU up when you need a boost?

6) Get a good coach. A has taken acting lessons since last January. This was her first audition. None of us knew what to expect. Her vocals teacher continues to work with her, and with each class, A becomes just a little more confident. Now that my husband and I know what to expect, we too can help coach her practice sessions as she prepares for the spring show. Do you have a teacher, a mentor or a critique partner? Someone to learn from and who can help you improve?

7) Find someone to give you a push. A didn't need a push this time, but her vocals teacher works to help her stretch her ability and confidence. With each gentle nudge, A realizes she can do more than she thought possible. For the next show, she'll need to push herself again--and if she doesn't push herself to that next level, we'll help her find the inspiration to reach. Do you have someone who challenges you to do your best? Someone who gives you a gentle nudge? Someone who sees your talent and your ability and helps you take those baby steps toward success?


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Erin said...

That is such a wonderful post!! As both an actress and an aspring writer, I could relate to the things you noted.

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Erin, I'm glad you could relate! Thanks for stopping by!

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Roz said...

It has been a while since I visited your site. I just wanted to say what an excellent post this is! Very inspiring.


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