*Okay, maybe they're not always captive...they might be eating a sandwich, or checking their phone...but they are there in the room!
I remember back in college my professor saying that our job as working actors is to AUDITION. It's not our job to get cast, just audition, audition, and audition some more. This can be tough in Seattle because it isn't like New York, where you could do multiple auditions a week, or even a day. In Seattle, theatres here often do a season general audition, or TPS general auditions, and callback for specific shows. Some companies will not have a season general, but just audition for a specific show.
How can we motivate ourselves for auditioning?
Think of auditioning is you our own mini play!
You get to be...
· The Star of the Show!
· Artistic Director
(Pick interesting material and deliver it well)
· Marketing Director
(Remember to bring your well formatted headshot and resume!)
· Costume Designer
(Choose an outfit that looks nice and that you can move in comfortably)
· Front of House
(Welcome them with your slate, treat them like guests to your performance)
If we think of auditions as performances, rather than begging for the people on the other side of the table for a job, then you focus on the work, not the outcome. When you're thinking about your character's objectives, rather than guessing what the casting people are thinking about you, you're going to be a better actor!
Preparation for your solo performance: Material
If you were preparing for a solo show, how much thought would you put into the production? How much rehearsal time? I've seen actors scrambling at the last minute to find a monologue or song to fit the audition that is coming up. How prepared can you be when you rushed your process on a new piece of material?
Musical Theatre performers know the importance of a book of audition songs. It's a binder of photocopied sheet music, cut to roughly to 16, or 32 bars in the key they will sing it for the audition. This binder is presented to the accompanist, who will play the piano as you perform your song. Performers will often have a selection of up-tempos, ballads, contemporary, golden era, perhaps some belting and some legit songs (based on their voice type and ability). Each song is chosen to show off the performer's vocal and acting ability.
For some reason, I don't hear about this selection with actors and monologues. What I'm working on now if finding 4 - 6 new monologues for this year, which have a range including: contemporary/classical (heighten language), comedy/drama, and show off my acting ability. Oh--and I have to LOVE the material.
If we're finding the joy in this process, we should LOVE what we choose. Why audition with material that you feel ho-hum about? When you love a role and feel good performing it, it shows, whether it's a 2 1/2 hour production or a 1-minute monologue. You'll want to put the time into working on that character, and that will pay off.
Remember, not every successful audition will result in a booked role. Sometimes the success is in being prepared, professional, and allowing the people in the room to get to know you and your talent. They'll remember you the next time you come in, and you'll have built your reputation by being a friendly, hard-working, and reliable actor!