4 Lethal Pilot Season Mistakes Most Actors Make (And The Fixes You Need For Each)
Two simple words send a shiver down the spine of thousands of actors every year…
Why does the annual madness known as Pilot Season cause shivers?
I’ll tell you in just a sec…
But more importantly…
How can you avoid the 4 BIG mistakes those shivers will cause you to make?
Don’t worry…I’ve got ya covered
Let’s dig in…
Pilot Season, Harry Potter & The Dark Forest
As an actor, if you’ve been through Pilot Season before, you feel schizophrenic, exhausted, and full of self-doubt all at the same time while you’re simultaneously trying to convince network executives, producers and casting directors that you’re a self-confident, artistic genius who should star in their show.
If you’ve never been through it before, you’ve no doubt heard the horror stories…
And you sort of feel like you’re Harry Potter walking through the dark forest.
You don’t know what terrors lie ahead, but you know it’s not good, and you wish you had that wonderful magic wand in your pocket to make everything OK.
In the hopes of helping you avoid the schizophrenic, exhausted self-doubt and/or the Harry Potter in the dark forest phenomenon, here are 4 of the biggest Pilot Season mistakes most actors make and how you can easily avoid them.
4 Lethal Pilot Season Mistakes and The Fixes
Pilot Season Mistake #1: Treating It Like An Episodic Audition
It may look like an episodic audition. After all, it is for a television series.
But a pilot audition has nuances and quirks that an episodic audition does not have.
Often the sides are voluminous. Many times there is an excessive amount of exposition, as the writers are trying to lay the groundwork and backstory for what’s to come in the whole season ahead.
So, yes, it’s a TV audition and all those rules do apply. But it’s not a guest star.
For a Series Regular audition they are really looking for a lot more of YOU in the role.
They want to see what YOU — unique individual YOU — will look like as their character for many years to come.
So, it’s really important to learn how to be uber-confident in any audition and be fully present in your auditions so that YOU coming shining through any character that you read.Don’t be afraid to show who you are in the character. It's what they want to see.Click To Tweet
They don’t want to see yet another actor reading the role EXACTLY like every other actor. Casting Directors want to see your unique thang that only YOU can bring to a role.
When you find the right role and it finds YOU, that’s where the magic happens.
Pilot Season Mistake #2: Being Under-Prepared
During pilot season, you may find yourself going from audition to audition, character to character (that’s where the schizophrenia comes in), but some will stand out over others. Some will matter more to you than others. In the ideal world, you’d spend days preparing for each one. But in pilot season, you don’t have that luxury.
Be professional and prepare as much as you possibly can. But for the special ones, get coached. Invest in yourself here and it will pay off.A good pilot audition will inspire the Casting Director bringing you back for roles all season long.Click To Tweet
Even if you don’t get the role, a good pilot audition will have the Casting Director bringing you back for roles all season long and for other projects to come.
Pilot Season Mistake #3: Apologizing and Making Excuses In The Audition Room
In my years inside the audition room, there was one pet peeve phrase we always hated to hear. “I’m sorry…I just got the sides”.
Sometimes before the audition. Sometimes right after. Either way, don’t say it.
Saying it before sets us up to look for shortcomings. Saying it right after says “I don’t believe I’m good enough and neither should you”.
Just don’t say it.
Here’s why.Excuses - even if they're true - will never work in your favor in the audition room.Click To Tweet
If YOU just got the sides, you can rest assured that MOST other actors reading also just got them. You are on an even playing field so there’s nothing to apologize for. Just show up and do your best work.
Pilot Season Mistake #4: Making Pilot Season Your Be All And End All
Yes, there are tremendous opportunities in pilot season. But when you allow yourself to take on so much pressure and make it so “important”, you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice.
You have to realize that at the same time that it is important, it’s also NOT important.
Nothing is so important in your career that you should hang so much “significance” on one pilot season. That significance will be like strapping on a pair of cement shoes that will sink your audition.
Decide to make pilot season an adventure. You CAN choose to have fun with pilot season — even with all that stuff at stake.
But it is a choice.
And if that choice seems like pie in the sky, Pollyanna talk, then it’s only because you haven’t yet learned the easy way to change your mindset and let go of nerves, significance, fear and angst around auditions.
There are tools for that.
If you don’t get rid of the cement shoes of your “attachment to the outcome” it’s impossible for you to actually do your best work.
After all, how can you do your best work when a significant chunk of your thoughts are devoted to all that pressure and significance?You can't be completely present in your audition if your head is filled with 'mind trash'. Learn to let it go.Click To Tweet
It actually keeps you from being 100% present and it’s absolutely impossible to embody any character fully when your unsupportive trash-talkin’ monkey-mind chatter has taken over.
If you find yourself freaking out about pilot season, either because of the self-inflicted pressure or the fear of the unknown, there’s a fix for that.
Pre-Pilot Season Innoculation.
FOR SEASONED PILOT SEASON VETERANS:
In other words, learn a few tools that you can whip out during the frenzy of pilot season NOW. Don’t wait until you are in the throws of pilot chaos to figure it out.
FOR NEWER ACTORS WHO’VE NEVER BEEN THROUGH PILOT SEASON:
And, if you’re newer to the business, NOW is the time to lay the foundation for many smooth auditions and pilot seasons to come. Don’t wait.
The sooner you learn the simple ways to educate and inoculate yourself from the insanity, the greater your confidence level will be when you encounter it.
Then you’ll be the actor who gracefully eases their way through a network test and walks out confidently and says:
….because you did!
You DESERVE The Red Carpet,
P.S. Want to CRUSH Pilot Season this year? Join me for the upcoming free Pilot Season Domination online training and Get My Proven 6-Step Pilot Season Insider’s Blueprint so you can use the insider secrets to navigate pilot season like an A-lister.
Your turn! Have you been through pilot season before? What was your biggest challenge? If you’re newer, what is your biggest fear about pilot season? Please share it in the comments below :-)
Did this BLOG on your Pilot Season help you? If so, I would greatly appreciate if you commented below and shared on Facebook
Amy Jo Berman’s Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
“I show actors how to be better, book more jobs and live The Red Carpet life!”