Casting Calls Can Be Scary – How To Get Over A Bad Audition

Leeann Dearing

Casting Calls – How To Get Over A Bad Audition

I’m sorry you are here, sort of. You’re reading this (I assume)  because you’ve been to one of those casting calls and now you want to figure out how to get over a bad audition. Before I lay out exactly what to do after the big bowl of ice cream. Let me tell you, I feel your pain! In this article we will discuss what to do if things don’t go right in an audition so that no matter what you are able to keep the dream alive.

Am I Pretty Enough for Casting Calls on TV?

If you have ever asked yourself whether or not you are pretty enough to be on TV, let me answer that question right away from experience.

This was the year I had begun my transition to commercials/television from classical theater. Early in my career I wasn’t entirely sure that I was capable of doing any form of on-camera work. I had no confidence, I was afraid of casting calls and didn’t think I was pretty enough. That’s the truth. To say I was a head case is an understatement.

Married Couple Matthew Dearing and Leeann Dearing sitting together after they auditioned in Phoenix AZ.

This pic is of me by the way doing what made me comfortable at the time. Theater! Next to me is a man that always thought I was pretty. 🙂 Shoot, now I’m blushing.

The Casting that Would Be My “BIG” Break – Or So I Thought

It was my very first casting call for a television show. Which would be stressful enough as it is, but I was particularly neurotic on this given day. My character was for a long-forgotten series called “Hidden Palms“. (Any Arizona actor from the early 2000’s is nodding their head. Remember that one?)

In a small acting market, anytime big casting calls come through, everyone knows about it. I’m talking the once every couple of years actual real-live nationwide television show type gig. The truth is, local actors get excited for these big auditions. And let’s just say, I was no different.

I was more desperate than my character from the viral video “Look what Joanna made us do”. Yes – that was a shameless plug for my sketch with Michelle Fortin. However, I also want to remind you at this point in the story not to give up.

Trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you keep at this acting thing, eventually you won’t have to worry about bad casting calls. Because you will simple cast yourself. Which is great advice directly from my husband, Matthew Dearing’s book, “Acting is My Day Job Seven Strategies to Market and Make Money as an Actor”.

Seriously read that book if you want to make acting a career. OK. Now back to the story.

“One of the Best Acting Books of All Time” – Book Authority. Designed to help actors of all types and skill levels take their career to the next level. “The brutal truth – talent, good looks and desire aren’t enough. You must develop strategies to monetize doing what you LOVE. Every actor should read and re-read this book.” ~ Jeremy A. Lopez – Pesident & Founder, Vangelis Films

Young Actor, Poorly Styled, Seeking Validation. What could go wrong?

Somehow, despite my odd choice of clothing and bundle of nerves, somehow managed to make an interesting choice and got a callback. I still remember every detail that phone call from my agent. I was absolutely elated and terrified.

***Side note: Be careful what you say after an auction or acting job. Find out why you should never badmouth any acting jobs!

My agent at the time was Matt Engelhart, the beloved talent scout from FordRBA in Scottsdale Arizona. Sure, he told me I got the callback but there was more. My agent says, “The casting director at the audition said you dressed all wrong for the audition. Wear something else.” This was of course kind. He wanted me to land the acting gig. However I was insecure. I got a callback for a national TV show and all I could think of was, “How do I get over a bad audition?”

A Good Casting Call Turned Into A Mental Breakdown

I had absolutely no concept of how to pull myself together. Nothing was working. Suddenly I hated everything in my closet. The character I was auditioning for was supposed to be a “trophy wife” type. You know the kind. Too much makeup, tight pants, big…earrings. That sort.

What did I wear? A gray business suit! What was I going for? Are you kidding me? I have no idea. (*Face palm.) I spent so much time worrying about what to wear and stopped working on the actual script. Duh.

Don’t you wish I could tell you my sad outfit choice was the worst of it? Or my outrageous nerves. No, what I did was get over my obsession with how I looked by giving a horrible audition. Get this. I actually entered the room in character! Why did I do this? I don’t really know, but I did. I straight up panicked.


  • Stop thinking clearly
  • Focus on the wrong thing, all the time
  • Become paralyzed by negative thoughts
  • Start miming in callbacks

Now for the very, very, very bad casting

There I was, at my first really big casting call, standing in front of several casting directors, here I am already playing the “role”. They ask me to slate and I start to make ridiculous jokes. I start playing the over the top, overly-sexualized trophy wife. I’m pretty sure the director thought I was insane.

Then I was asked to go through an improvisation. It was absolutely terrible. I felt like I was falling off a cliff in slow motion. Here’s where the true panic kicked in. Knowing things were going poorly I started “trying” harder. Not a good idea. So with nowhere else to turn, I decide to turn into a mime. Literally, I am now rushing, speaking nonsensical and performing unrecognizable mime-work.

In other words… things got weird. REAL weird.

Here’s How You Get Over a Bad Audition

That audition was bad. That’s the truth of it. I left depressed. This was my first experience of getting in my car, staring at the steering wheel and wondering if I should keep acting at all. Now that I’m beyond this moment however I can look back and laugh. I now tell my students how important it is to reflect back on both good and bad castings.

Remembering is essential so that you have the chance to learn and there’s the secret. You get over a bad audition by getting better. A bad audition will become a gift if you choose to get up and try again.


  1. Ground yourself in reality, because in truth it’s not that bad.
  2. Learn to breathe deeply in order to relieve stress before it gets too big.
  3. Reflect on the whole process and learn to get better.
  4. Find something good that you did or that might come from the experience.
  5. Then finally, let it go as I promise there will be more casting calls.

Here’s what I’ve learned from many casting calls

Everyone has “their thing”. Their unique struggle to overcome. A stubborn dialect. Laziness. Crippling nerves. (Mine!) You will have face-to-face moments with that thing…over and over again. Sometimes you’ll win and other times you won’t. There will be moments when you’ll relax enough to let your talent reveal itself and then you might fail again.

Now, to this day, before each and every audition, I remind myself to breathe. Then I focus on gratitude. And finally I release the audition because that particular job isn’t the reason I chose to become an actor. And this makes me feel better every time because it’s the truth!

Unfortunately the nerves won’t ever go away because you care. Though I can tell you that they do lose their power through repetition of craft and by continually doing the scary, brave thing over and over again. This means going on stage and performing. Or maybe getting on camera or possibly speaking in front of a group of people. Whatever the scary thing is, go after it because that’s the only way to get over it. Just keep working and never quit.

Finally, on the other side of this very bad audition something great happened. I am now a stronger performer and this is why you should begin to get excited about the failure. Because you won’t find a better teacher. Except maybe my husband. OK, fine now I’m done.

To read more actor blogs click HERE and for information on weekly acting classes to help with casting calls click HERE.