Monday, July 22, 2013

Know Before You Go - Audition Preparation

Hello friends and neighbors!

Here’s a novel thought for some: Obtain information about the audition before you go, not while standing in line in your overalls trying to convince the receptionist that you are, in fact, an Irish Dance Champion so you can get in and force the panel to watch your hill jack magic act. It's that good. Sure it's a dance audition but if they would watch for just a few minutes the producers would be astonished, amazed and would feature you in your very own show! You would finally achieve the applause you deserve, and you'd be doing the world a favor, sharing your gift. 

Shockingly, there are many tragic cases of hopefuls arriving to audition with only a wisp of a clue. They present a comedy monologue to audition for Death of a Salesman or do impersonations of dead presidents at a dance call. And although there are probably some unnatural exceptions, auditioning with a talent not called for uniformly results in failure. Here’s what to know before you audition for a passion play wearing a barrel and clown shoes. 

Who – For whom are you auditioning? Ever heard of the company? Do you know who is doing the casting? What have they done previously?  If you don’t know, get busy. Phone a friend. Poll the audience. Look online. Check associations, trade papers, professional organizations and web sites. This will prevent you from unknowingly auditioning for Unsavory Productions, who may be seeking entertainers to accomplish swishy acting you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see.  Or the company could be a couple of barely legal buffoons that saved their allowance money to rent a meeting room at the library. They’re auditioning actors for the groundbreaking film they plan to produce as soon as they find a backer or knock off a liquor store. Be wary, my friends, be wary.

Once you are certain the organization is legitimate, reach out to one of their employees, or barring that, try to speak to someone who has auditioned for them and lived to tell.  Employees past and present from companies large and small voluntarily identify themselves on Facebook and LinkedIn. And Google, as you surely know, knows everything, so it should be a simple task. Ask anything that will help you feel more comfortable, relieve anxiety, boost confidence and minimize your odds of being openly ridiculed.

Was there an auditions panel or a solitary judge? Were the judges warm and friendly?  Did their mannerisms imply interest or detachment?? Were those auditioning able to watch one another and clap, laugh or sob uncontrollably, or were those waiting secluded in an separate area rife with nervous sweat stink? Did the judges seem to respond favorably to a particular style or genre? Were callbacks held the same day or did those from out of town need to bring enough underwear for a sleepover?

What – What does the casting notice ask for? If the agency is looking for women between 18 and 24, and you have a child who is 10, don’t put her in hooker make-up and lie about her age. Incredibly, other people and probably monkeys can figure out she’s still a little girl.  Likewise, if you’re a young-looking 60, please share whatever drug you’re taking that makes you think you can pass for 24. And if you’re a man, let Mother Nature have the last word regarding your gender.  Stay home.  If the notice says to prepare three two-minute selections, and you show up with two five-minute pieces, be sure the first two minutes are really good so you can sell yourself before you get the hook.

Here’s a bonus tip– Either edit your song's intro so it is of reasonable length or choose a song with only a measure or two before you sing.  The casting team may have ADD or be too tired to give you any real consideration if they must first sit through the intro to Crazy On You watching you gaze at your imaginary sky and nervously groove.

Why – Why is this audition being held? Is there an open position or is it a cattle call to have some backups ready when someone resigns or breaks a femur? Is there an immediate opening? Is this a screen to choose people for yet another audition? Know before you go.

Where – Seriously, is there anybody who can’t figure this out? Go to the right place. If you’re not savvy enough to find the building, you probably aren’t savvy enough to find the performance venue either, or to remember to blow your nose or wear socks when it’s cold or memorize a script and learn a song. 

When - Not only should you show up on the correct date and during the published audition window, but also you should find out when the show will run.  If you’re headed to college in the fall, the Christmas Show may not work unless you take finals early or long distance. You would shine onstage playing Sandy Olson but will your little bun in the oven turn into the Pillsbury Dough Boy during the run? Avoid antagonizing the auditions team by doing an award-wining performance then telling them you can’t do the show because you have an overlapping contract or a mysterious previous engagement. And no, you are not good enough to skip rehearsal and start the day before opening.  If you’re not available, at least have the decency to make it known before you’re offered a contract.

This brings us to consider those who audition for practice, whether or not they would be able to take the gig. And also those unavailable but optimistic souls who audition hoping you will call them for future productions, after Junior is delivered or after their Red, White and Blaine contract ends. Although you risk disappointing those who wish to hire you, if you have the time and patience, it can’t hurt to your keep your auditions chops up as long as you take it seriously. When you sleep in your clothes, grab a CD from your car, scribble your resume on the back of a menu and have no idea what you’re auditioning to do or be, don’t. Have some respect for yourself and those who’ll be forced to endure you.

To Reiterate: Know before you go. Educate yourself early enough to prepare a great audition. It ought to increase the chance you will be given attention and presuming you are good, considered and called back.  If, remarkably,  you have not a tittle of talent but your heart has no other dream, audition anyway. Hope is alive. To turn on the television is to attest that those totally devoid of talent are bringing home the bacon, just like the talented. Who says life is unfair?

Carry on, brave soldiers. Audition away!

From your own,
Miss Audition

1 comment:

  1. That has always shocked me when people go into any type of audition/interview without any preparation of questions or tailored their background to highlight skills associated with the opening.

    Every Job I have interviewed for I've had more questions for them then they did for me, and for most of them I knew from my questions where I stood usually before the interview was over. My current job the one hour interview turned into almost two hours, and my now current boss was happy he missed a meeting right before leaving for the day on Friday.