Audition It Up in the City
A little over a year ago, I wrote this loooong post on Facebook about auditioning:
I’ve had several questions from family and friends recently about my auditions and various posts and whether or not I’ve gotten any acting jobs lately, so I figured I’d post an explanation for all to see, that some maybe even will find it helpful? Here goes.
A teacher from my acting school told me a few years ago that James Franco went on 100 auditions before he got his first job. I’m not James Franco. We’re not even the same star sign. But I do think this is a great illustration of an actor’s life especially in the early stages but even after you have had success. The auditioning is a part of the job. A successful audition to me is one where I have been prepared, been given the chance to perform, and been true to myself. Being called back is great, but not every project even holds callbacks. Of course, to be cast is a wonderful, and ultimate goal but is not my focus living and auditioning in New York right now.
I am on a journey to complete 100 auditions. I’ve gone on 12 auditions so far which is a small number given the time I’ve already been here but I’m trying to be gracious with myself, adjusting to being married, nbd. I appreciate all of the support that friends and family show my artistry. It means the world to me. Just, know that I’m not gutted if I’m not landing certain jobs. If I haven’t gotten any inkling after 100 auditions, it will be time to check-in and make adjustments. But when you accept that you are an artist, you become much more patient with your journey as such.
14 months Later
So, I am no longer in the city and of course, it was easier to find auditions (especially auditions of quality) when I lived in NYC! In fact, I have been much more focused on writing since we’ve moved to Oklahoma because there just aren’t a whole lot of opportunities in our small town, 100 miles from the nearest big city. However, we live in this blessed, chaotic time of technology where I can continue to audition and create my own work and just do it. While I’ve been enjoying writing (both self-serving vehicles and other works), I think it’s very important for an actor to keep auditioning because it truly is a skill and it can get rusty when not practiced. Now, I still have the ability to apply for auditions through these websites and other sources for regional theatre and I intend to do so, especially after I have this baby! (Yeah, the pregnancy also gets in the way of auditioning, just a little bit!). I will be writing about some of my more memorable auditions in the coming weeks, especially any that I walked away from having learned a valuable lesson that I can pass on.
Tools for Auditioning
- Discipline: My routine in NY was to spend 2 hours every day working towards auditions. Whether it was spending the time on Actor’s Access and Backstage (my two favorite casting websites) applying for auditions or brushing up on monologues or running through audition songs, I tried to work those muscles every single day. Before this routine, I would write on my to-do list “find auditions” and I’d migrate that task every single day because I never got around to it. I didn’t carve out time to look for auditions and apply, or when I did, I wouldn’t have prepared material of the sort they were asking for (classical, comedic, etc).
- Headshots– on the recommendation from a friend, I had my headshots done by Aaron Lenhart and I was obsessed with the results! Seriously, he was such a blast to work with and the pictures turned out so well, I squealed when I got them printed! If you happen to be in Los Angeles, I’d definitely recommend getting headshots with Aaron.
3. Material- remember when I said I didn’t have prepared material? That’s not entirely true. I had about 3 monologues mostly memorized, and I hated them all. Truly, I hated performing them, I hated the way they were written, I felt totally disconnected from them. Two were contemporary, one was classical, and they all sucked. When I started working with Tessa Faye (more on her in a moment!), she helped me find material that I loved to perform, and couldn’t wait to audition with! I memorized 8 pieces and had 4 more that I was familiar with and I honestly think that’s a good, safe number. It allowed me the flexibility to match monologues with auditions very carefully and intentionally.
4. Support system- my family is great at cheerleading, and my mom is usually the first person I call after an audition. It’s so important to have a sounding board, and if you’re anything like me, it’s even better to have *multiple* sounding boards because it allows you to recount the audition in many ways. If I call my mom devastated about an audition, I can explain what happened and get the tears out. By the time I get home to tell my husband about it, I’m usually ready to see it in a humorous light because I’ve already gone through it once with the icky feelings. In addition being great sounding boards, my loved ones are also incredible motivators, some of them being tough love and some of them being all mushy love. You need both.
5. Professional guidance- Talking about cheerleaders and support systems, I have been very fortunate to have found a cheerleader who is also a professional and really knows what the heck she’s talking about. Her name is Tessa Faye and if you’re able to fit into her schedule for a consultation, I highly highly recommend it, no matter where you are on your journey. She is one of my favorite people I’ve ever worked with and I leave every session on an insane high of “Yes, I can do this!” and honestly, that feeling is priceless!
If you’re on an artist’s journey, how do you measure successes? What are your favorite tools for success?