Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Audition Preparation Tip: Put in the Work

Photo: My director, Whit Hertford, and me in a rehearsal for a Riot Act's "Poor Bastard". 

Yesterday, Coach Ahmed told Max at his tennis lesson that the old saying goes, "Practice Makes Perfect", but he sees it as "Practice Makes Consistent". I think I like that perspective better. As an actor, I know I will never be perfect, there is always something to refine, but with practice I can reach a level of consistency that will put me in a more professional bracket. The key to any improvement whether it be singing, dancing or acting is the work. We have to put in the hours it takes to become better. That will not only be in the rehearsal room, but all the countless hours leading up to the rehearsal room.

The portion of the creative team that does the casting, (director, artistic director, musical director, casting director, choreographer) notice individuals who have put in the work as they audition. The funny thing is, we still may not get cast if we are prepared for an audition and knock it out of the park. There are many factors involved. I believe that is why some actors feel powerless. They feel like the creative team holds all the cards. I don't buy into this. I propose that we take our power with us the moment we step through the doors to greet the Stage Management team, on through the audition room, and as we say our 'thank you' and 'goodbye'. We need to see those casting as our equals, not as though they are towering above us. We need to see our audition as an opportunity to show what we would bring to the table if we were cast. They can take it or leave it, but if we are prepared, professional, and treat others with respect, they cannot help but remember you.

And this leads to the truth that just because you were not cast in the show you auditioned for doesn't mean this creative team won't cast you in future shows. In fact, they may personally invite you to come in for another show. They may talk to another creative team about you and they will call you in. I have been hired for jobs just on recommendations alone. Word of mouth is a force that cannot be stopped. Are you ready?

Whatever your goals are, make sure that you are working on them daily. If you sing, practice every day for AT LEAST 15 minutes. Keep in shape vocally by taking lessons and have coaching sessions to gear up for future auditions. If you dance, continue to take classes. If you act, attend classes, have your monologues ready, and keep those fresh with coaching sessions. Even if it is in front of friends to give feedback. You are preparing for the auditions you know about and the auditions or opportunities that seemingly come out of nowhere. My dance teacher used to tell me, "For every hour you spend practicing, there is someone out there practicing an hour more." I know that sounds harsh, but it is true! If we want to improve we have to put the hours in.

But, with these hours we need to remember to take care of ourselves. Our physical & mental health, our spiritual health. It isn't easy to be in this business, I imagine outsiders looking in thinking we just get up there and do our thing."How fun!", I often hear people say. Well, yes, it is fun, but it is HARD. Often, it is emotionally and physically draining. The struggle is real. But, the struggle is where we find our best selves. The struggle is where we grow and overcome obstacles. The struggle is where we reach our potential, our goals, and that consistency that we desire so much. As a result of that struggle we get noticed, we get cast, and we reach the highlight of any actors life, performing on stage in front of an audience. There is nothing like it. And all that work was worth it.

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