“I was soooo much better than everyone else. Why wasn’t I cast? I mean I’m awesome. Just ask me.” Pre-casting? Or perhaps you are an unsuspecting pawn in a game of war between two companies? OR Maybe there’s something even MORE sinister at play.
*SLAP* Wrong! Here’s Hughesy with some tough love – Your audition intervention is about to begin. Now sit down and shut up.
You are lazy! 80% of auditionees are completely underprepared… and boy does it show. It sounds like the most basic mistake to make (and it is) but it’s also the most common! Take a good look at yourself! Why waste your time turning up if you are going to do a half-arsed job at auditions? At least take the time to listen to some of the soundtrack, check out a few YouTube videos and get some idea of the character you want to play. It’s not that hard, dingus! It’s likely that the director will ask you “Do you know the show?” Most people just panic and respond “yes”, so be prepared for a follow up question. A good director will keep you on your toes and ask you a basic, but insightful question to see if you really do know the show. They don’t want to debate the ins and outs of it, they just want to gauge how committed you are. Your commitment levels at the audition are usually a good indication as to how big a pain in the arse you will be during the rehearsal period.
Here’s a tip – get in the ear of the production team before the auditions. Use Stalkbook if you have to. Just let them know that you are keen!
You are a whinger! If you walk in, start making demands, force the flow of the audition process (I’m not standing over there, I’d prefer to stand over here. I prefer to say all my lines with an American accent etc) then consider yourself cut immediately. The Director wants to assess your ability to follow direction, not give it. Once you are cast, then you’ll most likely get an opportunity to voice your opinion, but the audition stage is not the time. As a rule – speak when spoken to. If one of the panel asks for your thoughts, then feel free to share them, but other than to ask a question or two and exchange pleasantries, keep your mouth shut and just get on with it.
You are a hypochondriac! Don’t ever, ever, ever go to an audition and announce that you are sick. Sickness is an unavoidable part of performing and you need to be able to work through it. You won’t get the opportunity to walk out before a performance and apologise to the audience for the phlegm filled performance that they are about to receive and auditions are no different. As most of the audition panel are probably not medical practitioners, your excuses about being sick come off looking like just that… excuses. It totally undermines your performance. The panel will judge you based on what they see on the day. If you are REALLY sick, they will be able to hear you singing through your snot and/or vomit. You won’t need to tell them. If you want to hack something up mid performance, then by all means do so, but be warned…. You will forever be known as the dude who hacked up a throat oyster mid song. Ewwww… That will follow you around my friend! Good luck trying to get someone in the theatrical circuit to pash you after that little episode!
You are arrogant! This is something that the production team picks up on the first 30 seconds, so for God’s sake, be humble. They don’t care who you are, what roles you’ve had, what year you graduated WAAPA, whether or not you are on a first name basis with David Campbell, or how many awards you’ve won. Take a humility pill and suck it up, or risk setting off the “Princess/Prima Donna” bells with the production team.
Nobody thinks you are hot! You auditioned for Oklahoma, but you sang Bohemian Rhapsody. You go for the shy female support, but you act brash and bossy. You are going for the teenage heartthrob, but you are 50. Some directors break the mould when it comes to casting, but most don’t. If directors can help it – Gaston will always be tall and buffed, Max Bialystock will always be heavy set and Kim will always be Asian. That’s the reality. Most directors in amateur theatre “break the mould” only when they have to (forced by lack of choice at audition time), but it’s rarely their preference. You need to take a serious look at your body type, singing and acting ability and overall persona and ask yourself “Seriously… would I cast me in that role?”. Then jump in front of a mirror… take off all your clothes and breathe out… and ask yourself the same question. If you still think you are the right person for the job after that, then go forth and conquer.
You are a pain in the ass! You might fake your way through the audition process and come off as a model cast member, but all directors talk and I can assure you, if you’ve pissed anyone off along the way, they won’t be gunning for you. Companies also have their own little black books and they will step in on casting if someone is on their black list.
You have a big mouth! You can be left off the cast list if you do something really stupid like bag out the production team whilst in the waiting room. The production team has eyes and ears everywhere, so be careful if you plan to badmouth anyone. Nothing travels as fast as a bit of back stabbing.
You are delusional! Everyone should have at least one person in their lives that gives them the whole truth. If you don’t have someone in your life like that, then I strongly suggest recruiting a mate or perhaps a new friend for this all important task. I have a couple of those people and I hate/love them, but I know I need them. We all have limits to our talent, so you need an honest appraisal. There is nothing worse than seeing someone make a complete fool of themselves, thinking that they are God’s gift to the stage, when clearly, they are not. I don’t blame them, I blame their friends for propping them up with regular injections of unwarranted praise, rather than a much needed dose of reality.
* I’d also like to point out that the production team find the delusional quite hilarious, so I hope that point above doesn’t sink in too much! We enjoy the really, really bad almost as much as we do the really, really good.
You want everything on your terms! Make yourself available for every rehearsal, do whatever you are asked and offer feedback and your opinion when appropriate. The production team in there to do their job and you are there to do yours. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with them all the time, they are the decision makers, so don’t be a smart arse and tell them how to do their jobs.
Nobody knows you! Directors usually cast performers they are familiar with, so auditions are never on equal terms. You have the opportunity to show what you’ve got, just the same as the other guy, but if there’s a line ball and it’s down to you and the person they know, they’ll go for the known quantity every time (when they don’t, it quite often backfires). Reliability, easy workability and an understanding of how someone comes across on stage in a theatre setting goes a long way. Some people are great in auditions, but choke when the show hits the theatre. This is not a bad thing. Once you establish yourself, you find it gets easier and you’ll end up in second round call backs even when you did a so-so first audition, just because the panel knows what you’re capable of. It’s a reward for good behaviour.
You have no fashion sense! Please have some respect for the production team and dress according to the laws of the universe (basic physics would suggest that you can’t cram a size 16 body into a size 4 dress) and the requirements of the role. It’s not to say the panel wants you to come dressed as a Pirate, Cowboy, Lion, Cat, 18th Century French revolutionist or teapot, but try and wear something that resembles your character, or at least something vaguely tasteful.
There you go. Tough love straight from the heart. Take it or leave it.