Whether you are the actor, the casting director, the producer, the director or the lunch delivery person, nothing ever seems to go perfectly when it comes to casting. As someone who strives for perfection (in a deeply flawed way), I can assure you that never has a single job gone perfectly according to plan. I’ve seen actors completely blank on the script, Casting Directors (myself included) give the absolute wrong direction and have the client call them out in front of a room full of people, producers give the wrong specs or shoot date so everything was prepped incorrectly, the director forget an integral piece of script that they wanted added to the session, and worst of all… the lunch delivery person forget someone’s meal! (Seriously… the lunch one is the worst. You can have the most ideal session going, but a lunch order gone wrong ALWAYS leads to a disastrous remainder of the session. No one likes a hangry client!) That being said, learning to embrace imperfection, as difficult as that may seem, can allow it to work some magic.
From the actor’s point of view, perceived imperfections often lead to amazing results. I cannot even begin to count the times when I have booked an actor on a job and they are shocked because they thought it went horribly! Truth is, it was their perfectly imperfect audition that got them the part. It’s really quite interesting when someone who totally flubs the script, physically stumbles or comes in completely disheveled, ends up being the client’s select. It used to (and still does sometimes) blow my mind- I couldn’t understand how they could choose so and so after seeing so many actors come in and deliver exactly what they had asked for, without a single glitch. And every time this would happen, I would go back and look at these people’s auditions again and they ALWAYS share a common theme- they embraced the imperfection and took it for what it was. They remained present, in the moment of their audition, and kept going- that whole “keep calm and carry on” mentality. They never let the imperfection get in the way of their audition, but instead turned it into a part of their audition, which in turn led to their success.
From a casting director perspective, I feel like each and every one of my sessions is imperfect in some way- no matter how hard I try for them to be flawless. There have been technical difficulties, miscommunications between the actors and casting, misunderstandings on direction, and important details lost in the hundreds of emails that shuffle in overnight. It NEVER goes exactly how I plan. I try to look at these less than ideal experiences, mistakes, and imperfections and learn from them. For mistakes that were avoidable, we do our due diligence to make sure they don’t happen again. Sometimes though, these things are out of our control. From these experiences, though the stress tries to completely take over, I am learning to embrace the imperfection. I am learning to take a step back and say, Okay, here is what’s happening- what can I do to make it work? That’s what it is all about- making it work. You can’t turn back time, and you can’t fast forward through it. Be present, embrace the imperfection and make it work.
So the next time you’re having a rough morning prior to your audition, or you walk out of the studio feeling less than pleased with your performance or it’s just one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong- stay in the moment and embrace the imperfection, be present and carry on. You never know, it could result in a positive outcome!