I have spoken in the past about being “In the right place, at the right time.” That is a huge step to advancing your career. Today I want to talk about the big step that comes after should you end up being “In the right place, at the right time.”
So you bump into the right person, you network and find yourself with a decision maker who can give you your big break; you have the audition for the lead in a Hollywood film. What comes next? This is where you really need to make the most of your opportunity. Setting yourself up for success isn’t just about finding a chance or your shot. It is also about closing the deal. I talked about how Harrison Ford became Han Solo by being a script reader, but he had to nail that audition once they gave him the chance. These opportunities may only come once in your life. You don’t want to be the one who got his shot and dropped the ball, or forgot your lines. This is the moment you worked so hard for and now you need to step up, but how? Here are some suggestions.
First thing to do is ask yourself, “What do they expect from me?” Then ask yourself, “What will it take to get this gig?” These are great questions you need to find answers for. You need to try and find exactly what they need. Once you have done that, then you take the next big step.
Now you ask yourself, “What am I going to give them?” Anybody can figure out what they want from you. That is not the hard part. But when you bring them something, a character for an audition, a pilot for a series, a monologue for a play, do you really want to look and act like everyone else? Of course you don’t. You know what they want and expect. Now give them what they want but more than they would have dreamed. Bring life into whatever you have to do. If you are trying to nail an audition for a big role, you need to take chances. I don’t mean change the character but give him life. Take the words on the page and create a person. As if you have been living in his skin for 20 years. Give the person a nervous twitch, or a bad habit. Give the character a certain walk, an interesting way they gesture with their hands. Look in your script for openings for creativity and set yourself apart.
If you have to make a pilot of your show, don’t go half assed. Even if you have no budget there are ways to make a product they never would have dreamed of. If they have asked for a pilot or a mock episode of your idea it means they liked something about your concept. Now you have the blow them out of their seats. If you can make a pilot on very little budget that they can believe in, can you imagine what they will think you can do with a budget. Most importantly, before you show your pilot to whoever you need to, lower their expectations. Go into that room and say “This is just an example of what I envision for this show. Please understand it was made with no budget (or nearly no budget, very little budget…whatever) and in my spare time. This is just a representation of the concept we discussed.” So when they watch it, they are overwhelmed by what they see.
Regardless of what opportunity you have. Prepare and do everything in your power to surpass their expectations. It is great to get an opportunity, but it is even better to make the most of that opportunity. Preparation is the key. I will say it again; some opportunities come once in a lifetime. Where do you want to be? I know where I want to be.
“Yes Mr. Spielberg, I would love to play this part.”