'I know that when I’m going into the casting office, they want me to be what they’re looking for.'
I can't remember where I read this but it's true, isn't it? When you get an audition the casting director will haven chosen you from a skyscraper high stack of files and comp cards submitted by dozens of agents. You've already beat out most of the competition. The reason why the CD has chosen to see you is that he/she believes that you may well be what they are looking for. So, when you go in for your audition the CD wants you to be what they are looking for.
That doesn't mean they need you to nail the character and the scene. What it does mean is that they WANT you to. And that small differentiation makes all the difference in the world.
When someone needs you to do something, they need you to succeed and the pressure is on. All of a sudden YOU NEED to do it and you need to do it right and perfectly and flawlessly. 'Need' gives you reason to psyche yourself out, put you in your head and switch on that needy side in all of us that is so terribly unattractive and inhibiting.
But when someone simply 'wants' you to do something, they are open and interested and give you permission to simply be and do. They give you permission be real, to give it your best and to be human, imperfect. They give you permission to let your light shine because they WANT you to succeed.
So, next time you have an audition, remember that the CD doesn't need you to be there but that he/she WANTS YOU to! Instead of eye-balling the competition and focusing on your need to be better than all of them, ponder this;
Your competition is there, so you don't need to be. The world wouldn't end if you didn't show up, the job would still get done. But you want to be there and even better the CD wants you to be there! All you have to do then is know what you know about the character and the situation, think the thoughts, and say the words.
To me, this feels like a great weight lifted. Be good to yourself, remind yourself of this every time you go to an audition, and give yourself and others permission to shine!
Happy auditioning, everyone!