Making bold choices

My latest script.

My latest script.

If you go to enough auditions, or do enough performing, you will start to hear the phrase “make bold choices” over and over. The idea is that in an audition, or on stage, no one wants to see you play it safe. You can’t just sing through the aria without making anything of it. You can’t just read through a scene without deciding what your character is going through. So, we’re told, it’s better to make a choice, to do something that sets you apart, to add the emotional shift or dramatic gesture or change of tone that signifies you’re willing and able to Make a Bold Choice.

[I remember one audition when I really went out on a limb. I had a take on a scene that I thought was soooo funny, so I went for it. And no. one. laughed. The directors, who were prone to giggle when other actors did so much as sit down, were silent. My bold choices were boldly un-entertaining. Later that night I kvetched to some friends: I thought I was being funny and no one laughed! My friends teased me in response: isn’t that what things are like for you much of the time anyway?]

Bold choices are put on a pedestal, but no one tells you what to do when those choices fall flat. It takes a lot of emotional resources to survive the first risk that doesn’t pay off.

But I know a lot of people who make bold choices every day. Every time you smile at a stranger, every time you write a blog post, every time you sing or act or speak, you’re taking that chance. Creativity is one long bold choice. If you’re a little bit crazy, like me and my fellow performers, you learn to ignore the pain and embarrassment of the chances you take. You learn that the payoff of success mitigates the long stretches of failure, and that even failure itself isn’t so bad.

Much like in an audition, in life it’s often not so much the choice itself but the knowledge that you are capable of making one that makes all the difference. It’s life-giving to know that we’re still agile, that no matter what is thrown at us we can dodge and lunge and react.

In what ways are you making bold choices? How do those choices challenge you?

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2 Responses to Making bold choices

  1. laparadiddle says:

    Reblogged this on LaParadiddle and commented:
    I’d like to share this blog post from Felice Mi Fa, for many reasons…the reference to auditions, the fact that creativity is a bold choice, and the fact that this whole post resonates so much with me right now as I am grappling with career decisions.
    Is it better to be safe than sorry? If you don’t maker a bold choice, and don’t take a leap sometimes, you’ll remain stagnant.

  2. Flor says:

    Right on, once again, Meg! Being daring is just about the only way to go about auditioning, to say nothing of the daring required to simply audition. And creativity is only completed when someone else takes in your work. If you go about it as plainly as drinking water, what is compelling about that?

    Like you, I have the bug in me to perform and I’ve chosen to head into voice acting. I’m still at the rank beginner phase which is a little intimidating by itself. It’s made a little bit trickier by keeping aware that I completed my theatre degree many years ago and then spent a decade NOT acting. So there are folks much younger than me who know the process far, far better, and express greater experience in their work. I have to shake that off too… Right now, almost every step I take is a new one for me. As an introvert it’s trying (and scary) because keeping up the energy for meeting all these new people and breaking all this new ground is quite difficult. I’m still working out the right equation of effort to rest, risk to recuperation.

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