the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Audition Routines

I originally titled this post 'Audition Commandments' but then I thought that was too egotistical, like I'm the Goddess of Auditions.  I'm not.  So, these are some of the things I try to do when I audition:

1. Go early, but not first.  If you're first, you're the guinea pig - everyone's in the room together for the first time, figuring out how to work together, who will say what, the reader is either overacting or underacting, and you're just not set up to do well.  Early is is good though, because then you get them when they're fresh.
2. Definitely bring water, maybe an apple. Nerves give me cottonmouth.  Water takes it away.  An apple is just enough food so that I'm not hungry, not so much food that I need a nap.  And it also works on that cottonmouth thing.
3. Dressing the character, but from my closet. Don't know about you, but I don't keep army fatigues, a waitress uniform, or even a lab coat in my closet.  I do have business suits, dressy dresses, a 'mom' sweater or two, and some skirts that are pretty long.  I do my best to approximate the silhouette of the character's clothing with what I have already.
4. Show up with one more photo and resume than I think I need.  If they say don't bring any, I bring one anyway, just in case, there's always the possibility of mixed communication, minds changing, etc.  If they want one, I've got two, etc.  They're not heavy to carry, I can use the extra one next time, and if it turns out they actually want one more, I seem like an organized professional person.  I also usually have a copy of my teaching resume at theater auditions, and a headshot and resume with me when I interview for teaching gigs (it's that 'slash' thing at work). And in the same folder, I've got hardcopies of a few audition monologues, and a typed up list of references (I have been asked for references at two different theater auditions - weird, but true).
5. Keep chatter to a minimum in the waiting area.
I often run into folks I know at an audition.  I try to say a brief hello and get back to putting my head in the game (and let them do the same thing).  If someone won't stop talking and I need to focus, I'll let them know that we can talk after the audition, and see if they have time to hang out after the audition is over. It's your prep time. A very precious commodity.
6. Say thank you.
To everyone in the audition room and at the front desk.
7. Keep in touch.
If it seems appropriate to do so, I'll ask the person I'm auditioning for 'how should I keep in touch with you?'  I've heard things like 'email me when you're in a show' or 'mail me postcards'.  I try to keep notes about who prefers email and who prefers regular mail.  I also want to make sure that I know who was in the room with me.  I'll ask the person who was checking folks in who it was that watched me, and if I wasn't able to ask in the room, I'll email that person later and thank them one more time and ask how to keep in touch.

As I was writing this, I came across this post at 'Daily Actor' titled 'How to Stage Your General Theater Audition'. Seemed like it was a good compliment to what I'm writing about, since I'm not really touching on what I do in the room. Daily Actor is a great add to your feed reader.

Are any of these things on your list? What am I missing?

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