I’m always always curious about what makes people tick. I’m especially curious as to what makes successful people…well… create their success. What separates them from the pack? What habits do they have? What systems do they use to create their good luck?
Recently I caught up with actress Tammy Gillis. I’ve known Tammy for 13 years and I can say without a doubt she is one of the hardest working actresses in Vancouver. She has a resume that spans roughly 18 years, with 2017 proving to be one of her biggest yet. Highlights being: a recurring character on the Syfy channel Ghost Wars, numerous film production roles, and a UBCP/ACTRA Best Actress award for her role in the John Barnard film Menorca. This year hasn’t slow down as she steps into her newest role as Deputy Marissa Staub in Freeform’s newest drama Siren.
Over coffee I had the opportunity to ask Tammy about her process and what rituals and habits she surrounds herself with to succeed. What does an audition and callback experience look like for her? What steps does she take to prepare? How does she go from getting a call from her agent to going into the audition room?
Tammy broke down her process for me into 5 key components for not only having a successful audition, but also a personally fulfilling experience, in her own words.
Tammy’s Top 5 Tips for a Successful Audition
- A few years ago I started to not enjoy auditioning. Since it is a part of what we do I needed give myself some motivation to 1, want to audition. And 2, enjoy my audition. So I came up with a reward system for myself.
If I went to an audition and I was fully PREPARED, I had FUN, and created RAPPORT with the people in the room, I gave myself a reward. The reward was anything from a cupcake, to a smoothie, to a special coffee.
Now, the primary focus of the audition is to have fun. I generally come out of the room laughing. I also now leave it all in the room. No more rehashing what went wrong and beating myself up. I just let it all go. With my focus on my own personal reward it has made me much happier. I want the cupcake!
- When I enter the audition room I don’t chit chat… unless someone has given me permission to talk, and then I can talk about anything. I found the more I talk in the room the less jobs I’ve booked. I do make it a point when I walk into the room to say hello to EVERYONE. I had a producer tell me recently, “I know the second you walk in whether or not you have the confidence to get this job, but if you don’t acknowledge me, and you spend all your energy on the director, you’re not going to be my choice.” So when I walk into the room I say hello to everyone, especially the camera guy. I come in very well prepared, I usually don’t have any questions about the script. The rapport I want to create in the room is coming in with a positive energy and leaving with a positive energy.
- Before I leave the room I quickly look EVERYONE in the eye, I say “Thank You” and leave the room.
- I bring in my sides every single time! Never walk in there without them. I have seen too many people crash and burn in so many ways from not having them with them. If on the off chance I drop a line I can quickly glance down. I’m always off book, but I always have them with me.
- When I drive to the audition I do vocal warm ups in the car. I have a little routine that my vocal coach recorded for me. So while I’m driving I play it and I “bap bap bap bap bap bap baaaa! Tapika tapika tapika tapika…” Of course the other cars around me must think I’m crazy while driving because I really get into it. It really puts me in a good mood!
So there you have it! The personal success map of a working professional actress. We spend so much time worrying about being a “good” actor and making the “right” choices. But in reality, fulfilled actors are not paying any attention to being “good” or “right”, they focus on showing up as the best version of themselves and celebrate doing the work and feeling great about how they are.