Monday, January 30, 2012

127. The Odds

"Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves." - E. Joseph Cossman

If you only consider "the odds," why would you ever attempt anything difficult or "competitive"? You wouldn''d just give up before you'd even given yourself a chance to try. And maybe you'd pat yourself on the back for being "smart" and "logical" (a.k.a. safe and boring).

But has being SAFE ever helped you to better yourself or your life or your sense of self-worth or your financial outlook or...anything other than just being safe

I mean, "safe" is fine if you just want to continue to confirm for yourself that you have no other option than to do what you're doing now and venturing out would lead to almost certain failure.

"So many things now are completely up to us, more than ever before. Where and how and when we work and invest and interact and instruct and learn...If you think you have no choice but to do what you do now, you've already made a serious error. It seems to me that passing the buck on this merely because it's easier than choosing is precisely the wrong strategy. It enables an abdication of power that will be very hard to reverse. It's up to you, and that's part of the power that you've got." -Seth Godin

Fear surrounding the "slim odds of success" is a big obstacle to overcome and stops a lot of people trying things. And...yeah, sure...It's scary. It's daunting. It's overwhelming. It's discouraging. True. True. True. True.

But you know what's just SAD...Not trying at all. That's the saddest story I've ever heard.

So...What does this have to do with auditioning for graduate acting programs? Wellllll, these are some odds that have made my knees a little wobbly at times...

Perhaps it'll give you a little context, as to how many people audition for programs like Juilliard, here are some numbers (provided by Kathy Hood, Administrative Director of the Drama Division at Juilliard...Thanks, Kathy!):

Total # of applicants for Fall 2012: 1387 (964 BFA and 423 MFA)  
200 will audition in Chicago and 200 in San Francisco - the rest are auditioning in NYC.

On the day of my audition in New York (1/28/2012), 161 people were scheduled to audition and 155 actually auditioned (6 people cancelled due to illness, etc.)
18 people were called back from that group. (We actually had 19 because one other applicant, called back from the previous day, joined our group) 
9 people were interviewed.
On Friday, February 17th, emails will be sent out inviting 40 applicants (of that 1387 that auditioned) to come to New York for two days of "final callbacks." These two days will provide an opportunity for applicants to experience two days of classes where they will work intensely with faculty and have the opportunity to speak with current students. 
From the "Final 40" there will be 18 students selected for admission.

I wish I was a fantastically skilled statistician, so that I could crunch numbers and make a logical analysis and all sorts of fancy conclusions based on the above information.

However, that is not the way my brain works. My brain looks at it this way...

1387 = auditioning
18 = accepted 
1369 = rejected  

my logical brain = "What the hell am I doing here?"
my artist brain = "Maybe one of those 18 could"
my heart = "How many times am I allowed to audition before they'll stop me from trying again?"

So...Brain...Who is ruling the roost here? Who's really got the power? You or the numbers? You give your power away when you think of yourself as statistic. Failure is NOT inevitable...unless you don't even try...then it's CERTAIN.

You are a powerful human being and you have the ability to stack the odds in your learning as much as you can about how others have achieved success (no matter how statistically unlikely...somebody's getting accepted to grad school this year and it might as well be YOU), adapting the knowledge you've gathered to your own situation and taking action, continuing to make pursuing your goal a part of your DAILY life (not something that you'll "get around to someday" or you'll start as soon as you "insert your personal excuse here"...mine usually has something to do with "not enough money" or "not enough time" or "too embarrassing"), then surround yourself with supportive and inspiring people who will cheer you on and help you achieve your goal...oh, and DON'T GIVE UP! 

Then you're GOLDEN! Success is almost a SURE thing...of course, it may not always show-up in the "terms" you set in the beginning... or the way you had imagined...but you WILL be successful... eventually. Be patient. Be dedicated. SOMETHING awesome will happen. 

True story. 

I hope that will be YOUR story.

I hope that will be MY story.

F*#k the numbers.


"Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." – Charles Lindbergh



  1. rather than look at raw numbers and placing myself into long, blind odds... i prefer to think of audition odds as more like poker hand, where experience, quality of play, sharpness of focus, a willingness to take a risk for a greater reward and luck will oftentimes negate (or at least mitigate) what would otherwise seem like impossible odds.

  2. You WILL be successful. You already ARE. Keep believing. F*#k the numbers. We believe in YOU. <3

  3. Wonderful post! I hope you get in because of your great attitude : )