Dance Advice | Dance FAQ’s | The Psychology of Auditions

Dance Advice | Dance FAQ’s | The Psychology of Auditions

The Psychology of Auditions

I believe that some people should never audition for anything, because the process will restrict growth and life trajectory. However, I suspect that these people are a rarity. If I had to put an estimate on the number, I’d suggest that one in twenty people should not submit to an audition process because it will be restrictive, a waste of time, energy and not conducive to success. With that said I suggest that 95% of people, if they feel the need to audition should do so and do so as effectively and enthusiastically as possible. Statistically speaking, with regards to auditions specifically, you will probably fail anyway, so what is there to lose? If you read the paragraph above and were triggered then I suggest that you are not the type of person who should even consider a route, other than the traditional i.e. auditioning, casting or submitting to someone else’s decision. However, if you are the type of person who does not submit and feels that the process will be too demeaning, no matter what the benefit then, I have a great suggestion just for you!

Create projects for yourself and give yourself the starring role!

Not everybody is designed to do this, but it’s easier nowadays than ever before. You have a platform with social media and the tools and technology readily available (to even film a movie if you want to!) to do so and although I can’t offer any scientific data to back this up, only gut feeling from experience. If you are the type of person with the drive to create a project and push to its conclusion, then you will probably be able to push with a much higher probability of success than a simple audition where nearly every factor and variable to determine your success is out of your hands and control. I guarantee that you will learn more, grow and also enjoy the experience. You will at least enjoy the experience more than the 95% — 99.9% of people who are rejected.

The probability of audition success

I typed in to Google ‘audition to booking ratio’ and I am pleased to see that it correlates with my approximate observation of the industry, at best: 5% (or a one in twenty chance of audition success). in a 2010 article entitled Booking Ratios by ‘secret agent man’ state:

A booking ratio is exactly what it sounds like: two numbers that represent how many jobs you’ve booked compared to how many auditions you’ve had. So if your ratio is one out of 20, that means it took 20 auditions for you to land one job”

However, I would suggest that this is probably the average best case scenario because the author points out, in the same article:

One of my most promising young clients has been out on something like 40 auditions and hasn’t booked a single job”

In reality, people can audition much more than that and get 100% rejection. Cecilia Capuzzi Simon’s New York Times April 2008 article “Try outs for the Rest of Your Life” describes:

all told, a record 1,200 students were auditioning for 16 spots in the fall acting class or 12 in the musical theatre program.”

That’s approximately closer to a 98% failure rate. I have seen successful people crushed psychologically because of repeated failed auditions. On the other hand, I have friends who got an audition and became some of the most famous people in the world. I suggest that you do take action that is conducive to your own mental well-being and corresponds with your own realistic chances of success. That means, that you may have an amazing record of success with auditioning and casting and maybe you enjoy it … you should continue. However, I suggest that if this is not the case then you should invest in yourself and create your own projects because then at least you are in control of the outcome and ultimately you can control its success and impact in the world. However, there are relatively few people who will do the work required. Relatively few people who have the drive to travel down that road. Possibly less than 5%, which means that it’s probably the same success rate as auditioning anyway, with the exception that you are almost 100% in control of whether you succeed or not, compared to almost 0% control when somebody else is making the decisions. With that said, only you know what is the best route for you. Here are some audition tips to increase your chances and also improve your psychological wellbeing before, during and after an audition.


An audition is not a natural healthy environment. It can leave you feeling drained, feeling dehumanised and often rejected. Statistically, you will almost certainly be rejected with very little feedback. Although this is normal in the entertainment industry, this is not a normal in any other realm of life. It is completely reasonable to be upset by this or have a negative psychological reaction. However, it’s best to know this in advance and take remedial action. There are obviously different types of auditions depending on your craft. Here are some quick general tips and pointers.

Audition tips and advice

Get an agent! This will make your life easier and increase your chances of success.
Read the audition instructions carefully in advance and follow them carefully. — Good preparation is key.
Always bring an up to date photo/picture and CV/resume.
Always be professional and don’t make excuses under any circumstances.
Be consistent and resilient. If you choose to audition, go all the way and all in!
Remember that your first impression is key. Walk in with confidence, good posture and smile.
Keep your energy up until you leave the building/area, not just the room. You might still might bump into somebody important on your way out!
Dress appropriately and if this is not stated, dress smart casual.
Pick material that is personally linked to you, something that you are passionate about.
Psyche yourself up and make sure that you prepare your energy levels so that you are ready.
Make eye contact and don’t worry. This is meaningless in the grand scheme of the universe anyway!
Once it’s over, let it go and refocus on the next one. Don’t think about it again unless to analyse and actively work on improving your technique.