Patrick will be starring in the Last Cyclist at the West End Theater this May - June. Click here for info

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to bomb an audition

Some days nothing goes right. Things you think you're good at and have a fair amount of confidence in just fall apart.  Today was one of those days.  One of the auditions I've been looking forward to for months was today.  And boy was it an experience.  Possibly the only good thing was that AEA was EMPTY today.  completely empty. Save for ASC of course.

If you want to completely and utterly bomb an audition, just do the exact opposite of what I did and you're sure to knock it out of the park.

I had the privilege of auditioning for ASC, the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton Virginia.


Nice lookin' logo for sure.  Makes you want to work there right?  I know, me too.  So let's see.  What exactly happened.  I'll break it down.
I submitted to the theater.  twice.
Once last fall post auditions because I just wanted my information out there and then again this summer when I saw the notice go out in backstage like a good little classical actor.

I waited...

And received the phone call and email!  Woohoo they were inviting me in.  Most Excellent.  I looked over the information and was very pleased with the way they handle auditions.  They hold group auditions. Everyone in the room together.  You get up, do your monologue in front of everyone, then they hand out sides to quickly poor over and then perform, and then if you have any musical talent..play on.  Some people abhor group auditions like this.  But I feel like I flourish in them.  I much prefer to have people there to play off of rather than you and an auditor scribbling notes while you stare at a spot on the wall.

I have several pieces ready to go, but upon reading the information they provided it seems they would prefer you used a speech from one of the plays in the season.  So I spent time memorizing something that spoke to me. 

LESSON 1:
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
My instincts were to use one of the pieces I already have in my actor utility belt.  I felt it would be better to use a piece from one of the season's shows like they preferred, but turns out that didn't matter.  Many people used pieces from other shows.  And my piece was weak.  Not to mention I had to restart once and did that awkward pause dramatically while you search for the word you lost and hope no one notices but everyone notices and it's painful.  You know what I'm talking about.

The next part of the audition went pretty good. At least I feel it did.  I'm fairly good with cold readings and I'm also fairly familiar with Two Gents, so when I was given a side from Two Gents and asked to read the servant Speed I was delighted.  We got laughs.  My audition partner was excellent (also he got a call back so I like to feel like I had some hand in that.  You're welcome friend.  You're welcome.)  They gave us a ton of sides to look over prior to the auditions and this might be the one place where I truly was prepared and went over all of them.

LESSON 2:
ALWAYS PREPARE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
The sides were extensive. They covered all the plays from the season and you can bet I read them over multiple times.  (secretly hoping I'd get a comic side as I read them)  It's the one aspect of the audition I felt confident in.  That and when I handed in my headshot.  I did a pretty good job with that too.

The last part of the audition is the music section.  Not required, but  if you can play an instrument and or sing then they encourage it.  If you can't play or sing well, don't.  Now I don't sing that great, but I do play guitar well.  So I figured I'd do a fun little song and show off my strummin' and to a song that I could sing effectively.  The theme song from the big bang theory. It's perfect.  Short and sweet, fun chords and picking and fun lyrics.  Well first off, there were 5 guitars in the room.  Skill wise I was on the higher end.  So that made me feel good.  Oh and a flute. A friend of mine brought in her flute and she was amazing.  Actors have so many skills you just never know about. (Heather you played beautifully!)  I however had to freakin restart my song. multiple times.  In fact I never got through it all the way without messing up.

LESSON 3:
DON'T SIKE YOURSELF OUT
I practiced the song.  I watch the show.  I know it.  Music is easy to memorize. (as is verse, but I'm just lame).  But first I couldn't remember the lyrics.."Our whole universe was just big hot mess?" No wait.  That's me in this audition right now.  Let me start over.  Still not getting it.  So I polled my fellow auditioners...what the hell is that line? GOT IT. I tried again..screeched out something.  I kept screwing up and finally just ended the verse with..'Big Bang' and let the G chord ring true.  So that was not fun. Or a good representation of what I can do.

It was just a sad sad mess. For something I've been waiting a while to attend and hopefully land the job, I blew it.  Unless they play the..he's got moxie, did great with the sides, and made everyone laugh and kept going card...I will not be working at ASC this season.  In the end I did it to myself.  I cannot blame anyone else for my craptastic display of skill and talent with verse and lyrics.  

I'm just trying to make myself remember that there will always be another audition.  Sure wasn't the end of my career or anything.  It just sucks when you know you're not going to be getting something you really wanted (like the ASC gig, or any other gig).  When I don't get cast I usually don't care as long as I did well. I was just so incredibly embarrassed today.  I'll get over it and move on.  If anything, when I crash and burn like this it inspires me to work even harder.  Bring on even more early morning calls at AEA!  And now to watch some videos of the muppets to make me laugh....Movin' right along indeed.