True To You

A Child Actor’s Perspective

By Lennon Kuzniar

As a child, many things generally came very easily to me; I had friends, did well in school, and just lived the playful and easygoing life of a young kid. , It wasn’t until I started acting that I found something that really challenged me in a new and fantastic way. One of the first challenges I faced was the constant auditioning. Having to miss birthday parties and sleepovers for auditions was disappointing as a young kid, and none of my friends understood that I couldn’t reschedule them.

However, the satisfaction and excitement of booking a role washed away any of those negative feelings. Each time, it reminded me that acting was such a special experience, and it made me forget all about what I sacrificed to get there.

As much as I enjoyed the auditions and the experiences they gave me, they definitely were a lot of work. They mostly consisted of spending long afternoons in a casting room while I played catchup with my schoolwork, and most of the time it would months of auditioning before I would book a role (after all, that’s the only way to get hiredby going on tons of auditions and putting all your energy into every one because you never know which one you could book!). As soon as I started to feel like giving up, I just had to remember what it felt like to be on set, meet new people, and pursue a career I absolutely loved. This reminded me of how rewarding being an actor was and made the auditions worth it.

Something I always kept in mind throughout that time was that being your genuine self goes such a long way (if not all the way!) in an audition. Sometimes, they don’t have a strict vision for how they want a character played or what they want that character to look like (and sometimes what they do have in mind is flexible)they instead want to see how you play a character and what you bring to the role.

I will always remember this one audition I had a few years ago. In the description for the role they listed a bunch of requirements such as “must have a high emotional intelligence, must be a good student, must be great at taking direction”...among a few others that I can’t remember. I had never received such an intense list of requirements for an audition before so I was quite intimidated and felt like I wasn’t going to live up to the casting director’s expectations. In the audition, they didn’t give me a script or anything, they just asked me about myself and what I liked to do, what I wanted to study, and what I wanted to be when I grew up. Because of their role requirements, I was very tempted to “act” like the person I thought they wanted, but instead I stuck with my gut and was my genuine self. The casting directors and I ended up just having a nice conversation, and later that week I got a call saying I booked it!

I was so afraid of not being good enough that I almost wasn’t myself at all! It’s completely normal to be nervous, but it’s not worth it to put energy into thinking you’re not good enough. If you don’t get the role, that’s absolutely okay! The most important thing is that you’re not afraid to be genuine and authentic, because sometimes that could make all the difference.

What was an audition you felt intimidated to go to? How did it work out? What could you learn from that experience that might help you in future auditions or jobs?

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