Ok. Let's be real here. How many times have we made a bunch of new year's resolutions and by February we've slipped back into old habits? I know I'm guilty. Maybe we make too many. Maybe we make resolutions that aren't realistic. Well I'm going to give you 3 resolutions that as an actor or performer you should make this year that will keep you on track and invigorate your career:
1-Update your materials!
This is something that gets over looked year after year. We get busy and before we know it, it has been 5 years since we've taken a head shot or updated our resumes and we're singing the same songs for auditions! Don't slack on this. If you have a head shot older than 5 years, it's time for a new one. If you've had a drastic weight change or appearance change, it's time for a new one. Make your head shot and resume a priority this year and get it done first. If you have been auditioning with the same song and monologue for 3 years, it's time for a change don't you think? I remember when I first started auditioning in NYC, I used the same song for a year and didn't book anything. I decided to change my song and BAM! I started booking shows! Even though you might LOVE that song or monologue, if it's not getting you jobs, it might be time for something else.
2-Take a class!
This should really go without saying but you'd be surprised how many performers don't stay on top of taking classes. As an artist you are always learning. ALWAYS. We all have a weakness as performers that we want and need to work on. Me personally, when I was performing, I would take dance class a couple times a week because it was what I struggled with the most. I would also take acting classes throughout the year. Remember. Doing shows and training are 2 different things. As you continue to train, you have the foundation to build on. You can perfect how to create a character and work on that time step which in turn helps to book you more jobs.
3-Perform in a lesser known show!
My favorite one of the three! Sometimes, especially in small towns, people get so hung up on big name shows and the glitz and glam of it that they don't realize there is the same amount of fun and learning experiences in lesser known shows. For instance, the musical sensation Hamilton started in a studio about the size of ours. At that time, some people were hesitant about participating and auditioning for that show. It was new, different and hadn't been done before. Well we all know how that story ended right? The same applies with you. Of course you want to do Legally Blonde the musical and High School Musical and Sweeney Todd. I totally get that. But what if I told you that there are some great shows out there that are just as good as those big shows but just don't have the popularity. There's SO many plays and musicals that have great characters and music and the best thing about them is, you can use that material for auditions! This is especially true for my kids and teens. Can't do Legally Blonde? Well how about the hit musical Emma-A Pop Musical? Did you know it is done in thousands of schools and community theatres across the country? Because it's fresh and different and still relevant! Don't be afraid to do lesser known shows. They will be your ticket to building your resume and acquiring new audition material.
As always, I hope you were able to get something out of this blog today. If you did, in the comments type #operatonresolution
Have a happy new year and see you at the theatre!
Oh boy. Here it comes. The disappointment. The beating up of oneself. The never ending question of "what if". What if you'd chosen a different song? What if you'd worn a different outfit? What if, what if, WHAT IF?
Well there's no use in living in the past. What's done is done. So now what? You really wanted this part! How will you ever get over this type of blow? I have a few tips that I hope will help with that:
1-For starters, don't ever ask the director why you didn't get a role! This is a big no no! As bad as you want to know just don't do it. Even if you don't agree with the director's casting choices, there is usually a method to their madness. If you absolutely have to know, think about asking a different way. For instance, ask "What can I do differently" or "What should I improve on". This way you will get some constructive criticism to help you with your next audition.
2-Revisit your audition book. Are you singing songs that you've been singing for years? Are you still using monologues that you used 3 years ago? It's probably time for some new material then. You should have your songs that show you off. The ones that you know will guarantee you a call back because you are so awesome at them. However, after a while, even those songs get old to directors. There's plenty of musical theatre songs out there to choose from. Make it a point to learn new songs every year. Read more plays so you can find new monologue material. Sometimes actors forget that monologues need to be fresh too. Especially musical theatre actors. They get caught up on choosing the right music so much that they forget about the monologues! As a director, I want to know that you can act as well as sing. It's just as important.
3-Once you've gone through 1 and 2, you need to think about training. I say it all the time. As an artist you are always training. Always. Training to be a better performer, director, choreographer, etc. Every show you do prepares you for the next one. You are only as good as your last show. When you aren't performing you should be taking workshops and classes so that you can continue to have great auditions. Train hard, train always!
4-Last but not least, calm down! It's not the end of the world. There could be several reasons why you weren't cast. You may not have been what thy were looking for. You might have wanted to play Elphaba but they saw you more as a Galinda. You have to know your type too but that's a blog for another time! Take it easy on yourself. Have about a 7 minute pity party and then move on. Actors are told no more than any other profession. It won't be the first time or the last time that you will be told no. Get yourself some ice cream, put on some Hamilton, put your hair in a bun and have a jam session by yourself. Then get up the next day and regroup and get ready for the next audition.
I hope this helped in some way. Don't you give up! I'll see you at the theatre!
So you made it to the callbacks! Congratulations! This is a pretty big deal. This is what you've trained hard for. This is what you wanted from the moment you heard there was an audition for that particular show! You got a callback! This means you've got it in the bag right? Absolutely...not. No way. This means you have to work harder than ever to get this role. Here's a couple of tips from a director's point of view on what NOT to do at callbacks:
1-Don't be a slacker.
This is major. Sometimes actors feel like since they got the callback that the hardest part is over. I believe that callbacks are when you really have to turn it on for the director. If they ask you to come prepared with something from the show or tell you to be prepared to dance at callbacks, chances are you are going to do one of those things or ALL of those things. Don't come with a bunch of excuses as to why you weren't prepared. That looks very unprofessional. What we want to see is that you've done what we've asked you to do. This also shows us a sneak peek into your work ethic and how well you take direction. More times than not, someone in the production company can help you with finding the right soundtracks to listen to as well as some video inspiration. Research the show, listen to the whole thing and become familiar with the story before callbacks. Be ready!
2-Don't get comfortable.
This happens quite a bit. Actors feel like they know they will get cast because they've worked with that particular company or director before. Well, that's not always true. I personally experienced this early in my career. I went to auditions for the national tour of Mame. I wanted to be Vera so bad! And wouldn't you know it, the same company that I just finished touring with was the company holding these auditions! I auditioned and got called back for Vera. This is it! One of my dream roles was about to be checked off the list! I got through the singing and acting and then the dance came. Well I didn't try as hard because again, I thought I had it in the bag. Plus Vera didn't dance in the show so why should I try so hard? I got through the dance part and then 2 weeks later...I heard nothing. That's not good. In our business, you don't get a courtesy call or email telling you you weren't selected for a show (like we do here at DAP) oh no. You just don't get a call. Which means you just didn't get it. And cue the tears and anguish and call to mom. I could only be upset at myself though. I thought I had it so I slacked in one area. I bet you I didn't do that ever again. That also taught me that you never know what a director is going to do with a show once they decide to direct it. For all I know, they could've had their Vera dance in that show which is why they wanted to see the Veras at callbacks dance. That audition pushed me to have better auditions and take more dance classes. You never know who could come through that door at an audition. We get surprised all the time. Stay on top of your game and always remain hungry for it.
3-Don't try to control the callback.
Hmm. This one happens sometimes too. More so with amateur actors who just may not know better. If you've been called back for a role and then asked to read for that role a couple of times, there is a good chance that the director is looking at you for that role. Now, having said that, that is not always the case. I can only speak for myself. After auditions, I generally have an idea on who I want to read what. Sometimes though, actors surprise me and I might ask them to read something else. Just go with it! But whatever you do, don't ask the director if you can read for another role OR ask why you aren't reading for a certain role. That's a big NO NO! We have our reasons for asking you to read certain roles and not others. Trust me. There is a method to our madness. We have to take everything into consideration at callbacks. How you did at auditions, dance, singing, reading from the script and so on. Personally, I have probably already figured it out after the first 15 minutes of callbacks but again, I do get surprised sometimes. Yes you may have wanted to be Audrey really badly but the director didn't ask you to read for that role. That doesn't mean you aren't being considered for that role but it also doesn't mean you ARE being considered for that role. There is A LOT that goes into this casting thing people! If you really want to impress them, have an awesome audition that shows your range and maybe then you will be considered for more than one role. You never know.
Whew! Sounds like a lot doesn't it? Hopefully this helps you a little bit. I know it may sound a little tough at times but I'd rather you know and understand so you can be prepared. Next time we will talk about what to do after you DON'T get the role. Yikes! What do you do? We are going to help you out with that one. Until next time. Imagine, create and PERFORM! See you at the theatre!
Meme is a director, actor, acting instructor, producer, mentor and theatre diva extraordinaire. Ok. That last part is a little much but you get the idea.
1-Organize and update your audition book.
Nothing is worse than seeing an actor fumble through their audition book looking for music and trying to mark their starting and stopping points at the last minute. One word. Unprofessional. You need to make sure that your audition book is organized, neat and in order. You haven't sang "No Good Deed" in 2 years so why is it in the front of your book? Chances are you won't be singing it anytime soon other than a karaoke bar. Take it out.
Make sure your sheet music is already marked and ready to go. That goes for instrumental tracks as well. We don't want to hear a YouTube commercial play before your song starts and we also don't want to spend an extra 4 minutes watching you figure out your music markings with the pianist. Lol. Mark a stop and start on your music and have your instrumentals cued and ready to go!
2-The audition starts when you enter the BUILDING.
This is one thing that a lot of actors don't realize. They often think that their audition isn't until they enter the actual audition room. Well that's not true. The minute you step into that building, you are auditioning. Often times we will have people out in the lobby or waiting area just watching you to see how you interact with other actors and our audition monitors. It's true! They will let us know if you were out there practicing or warming up OR being a distraction. The audition continues in the audition room all the way through the callbacks. This is especially true for actors who are working with the same company again. Don't get too comfortable! You should always be at the top of your game and never assume you are going to be cast. If anything, your audition should be top notch!
3-Know your material inside and out!
I can't stress this enough! You have to know your audition materials inside out! This shows us that you are serious about being cast and that you are ready to take on a show. Memorize it front and back. Start from the middle and go through it. Then start from the end and go through it. Same with monologues, music and sides. Have family and friends run through lines with you. Make them your test audience and judges. Wear you audition clothes in front of them so you can get used to what you will be auditioning in. We don't want you fidgeting with your clothes while we try to listen to your beautiful voice and monologue!
Well there it is! Hopefully this helped you out a little bit. We just want you to do your best and have the best audition you possibly can!
Maybe next time we'll talk about what to wear at an audition. Did someone say costumes? Lol. Actually, no. Don't wear one to an audition. We'll talk about that later. See you at the theatre!
I don't know about you but 2016 seems to have flown by! Last time I blogged we had just done 3 shows and 3 showcases. Well let's add 3 more shows and 1 more showcase for a grand total of....drumroll please....6 shows and 4 showcases! Whew! Not to mention we have been in our studio space for one year! How great is that? I know to some it's not that big a deal but to be a theatre arts company in a not so theatre town and still be in business is a huge deal for us! And a lot of that is because you guys really support us. I think it's also because you know that the arts is extremely important and needed in our city. We just want to continue to bring you more arts opportunities and shows. 2017 is going to be a HUGE year of partnerships and new works. We will be bringing you some classic shows as well as new shows. We are going to introduce a Teen Theatre Intensive Program for those actors who are pursuing a theatre arts career as wel as preparing for college. Stay tuned!
What a year it has been so far for DAP! We've already had 3 shows and 3 showcases and the year isn't even over yet! What can we say? We love staying busy around here. AND we have SO much more coming up in the fall. 3 more shows and 1 more showcase...and a partridge in a pear tree! Lol. I need to be better about blogging too. Does anyone have any tips on how I can become a better blogger? What would you like to know about? Give me some ideas people!
We had the opportunity to talk with one of the stars of HBO's Ballers, London Brown. I had the pleasure of working with London on tour many years ago. We had the chance to catch up with him and see what he's been up to.
Yes. You read it right. DAP is producing 5 shows this fall! Yikes! Lol. Crazy? Yes. Passionate? Absolutely! Sane? To be determined! It's going to be a mad house around here and yet it makes me so happy! It makes me realize how much we are growing as a company. How many people have supported us these last couple of years. It has truly been an amazing ride. So now we have our big shows coming up and we are super excited! I know it sounds like a lot and quite frankly it is. However, I have a team of some of the best instructors and they are ready to rock and roll too. I truly have the best support system within my company. They understand my dreams and my vision. Even if it's a little crazy sometimes. I'm really hoping that everyone will come out and support the shows. We work hard, our actors work hard and we just want people to come out and enjoy live theatre! Yes it's hard work putting on just one show. It takes a lot of time and effort and patience. So with 5 in the works, it's going to be even more of that. But I've never been one to back away from a challenge!