(That’s not me in the photo! Some random yogi off Flickr)
Last week I had one of those classically embarrassing auditions. I squirmed in agony all weekend remembering butt-clenching details.
I had been called to audition for a commercial for a major UK grocery chain. The casting description was for a middle aged man doing yoga. They described him sitting in a seated position, meditating, but was clearly distracted by other thoughts. The notes said that the person didn’t have to practice yoga, it was about getting the right look and they could always create the necessary pose.
I thought this was perfect casting. I’m middle aged and I have practiced yoga off and on for over ten years. Compared to your average 40 year old bloke, I’m pretty good, so it seemed right.
I was to rock up on a very hot Friday afternoon to a central casting suite dressed in yoga gear. Which I dutifully did.
It all seemed to be going well. They were running late but I was in a good mood. I hadn’t had an audition in a while and I was staying positive and enjoying the process.
Myself, and one other guy, were the last (of five) to go in. We did our ident and the lovely girl said she’d start with me.
“Tell me about your yoga practice.”
Okay, well I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for about 10 years.
“Tell me about the most outrageous place you’ve ever traveled to for yoga?”
I wondered if Deptford counted but said: Umm, I’ve practiced in Canada and in London.
“You’ve never gone to India or anywhere?”
“Okay, now show us your two most impressive poses.”
WHAT! Did I mention the ‘off and on’ part? I have done classes but am hardly a yogi.
So I first tried (badly) to do a standing tree pose with crossed arms. I wiggled all over the place.
“Now do one on the mat”.
Frick. I don’t know any impressive mat poses. I thought I’m not going to embarrass myself more by making something up. So I did…. downward facing dog, like in this photo.
Downward facing dog, for those that don’t practice yoga, is one of the most basic poses. There is nothing fancy about it, and with your behind sticking up in the air, it hardly even looks that photogenic, but in a moment of panic, I decided to use that as my demonstration pose.
It them went from bad to worse. The guy after me, had been practicing for 11 years. He did 2 1/2 hours per day of physical yoga and another 2 hours of chanting and meditation. He then proceeded to twist himself up into pretzel like shapes and gurn for the camera. He even managed to whip his shirt off for the second pose.
All I can say is thank god I went first.
I was embarrassed by the audition, but at least I did it. I didn’t bolt from the room. I didn’t burst into tears. I didn’t try and make excuses. I tried to laugh to myself at the absurdity of the situation and just do the best I could.
What more can we expect of ourselves?
It comes down to some of the very basics (it always does!).
- Planning – get as much information up front as you can (in this case I think I had all the info I could have had).
- Persistence – roll with the punches. You go with what is presented to you, no matter how absurd, and try to make it work.
- Forgiveness – when it doesn’t work, you need to forgive yourself and move on. There is no value in dwelling on your failings.
Let it go. Move on. Plan your next attack.
A tip is to start to keep a log of your auditions (or sales calls, or gallery visits, or agents’ letters). Write about who you met, what the experience was and what you might take away from it. We learn as much, if not more, from our mistakes so be sure to keep track of them.
Anyone care to share their embarrassing audition tales?