Monday, June 27, 2011

The Audition

This is a photo I took at an audition last week for part of the 7 Days project over on Flickr (it's fun! you should play!).  Since I knew I had an audition right in the middle of the project, I had this idea for a photo in mind.  Think of the end of the opening number of A Chorus Line, when the auditioners line up across the stage, holding their headshots in front of their faces.  That's the general idea.

Once I played around with the color a little bit, this was the end result.  And I'm kind of obsessed with how it turned out. It's not perfect.  I'm in a bathroom, and you can pretty much tell there's a toilet behind me.  The centralized color is the best I could do with the free version of Picnik.  Ideally, you wouldn't be able to see me holding the camera.  But that's okay...because I think all of that is kind of symbolic of an audition.

Rarely is the audition perfect.  If you give perfect auditions, please, write a book and make millions sharing your secret with the rest of us goobers who sweat and shake and stammer and do our best to keep from getting cotton mouthed or short of breath right before a high note in a song!

So how did this audition go? I feel like it went really well.  I always set personal goals when I go into an audition, and the weight and number of goals varies with each circumstance.  Sometimes I know that the audition is purely for audition experience.  There may not actually be a viable option for me in a particular production, but I will go....either because I want to try out a new monologue or song, get my face in front of a certain director at a certain theatre, or just to test the fates and make a director say, "Huh...she is not what I had in mind at all for this show, but let's see what she can do." 

But I also love this photo because it's a bit symbolic.  Ideally, you look very similar in person (aka "in real life") as you do in your headshot, but hopefully your headshot kind of rocks.  When you walk out of the room, you want to leave with them a tangible bit of you that reminds them "Hey, I was the short, curvy girl with the hair that you weren't sure was red or blonde or some magical combination of the two!"  But really, you're leaving them with just an image.  A small piece of who you really are as a performer.  You hopefully add to that with your audition, whether it's a monologue or a cold reading or 16 bars (carefully selected to include a slow section, maybe part of the bridge and at least one good money note), but even still...they're only getting a piece of you.  It's just up to fate (also known as The Production Team) whether or not what they see is enough to bring you back for more...or offer you a place in the production.

You know? I almost think I'm starting to like the audition process.  It's such a personal challenge. You basically get a chance to, for a few minutes, have all eyes on you. It's your chance to sell yourself.  That's why I will never understand those who walk into auditions unprepared (not having read the script of the show beforehand, not having a song selection, etc.).  YOU control those few precious moments, so do as much as you can with them! 

And at a callback or a cold reading?  You're getting the opportunity to play this role, even if it's just for a few minutes and a line or two. Make the most of it!  Make choices.  Look at your scene partner or, if you're alone in the scene/reading, really make strong choices! Even if you're wrong, let the director see that you are making an effort and, if you're cast, he or she will steer you in the right direction during rehearsals. (All of this is expanded upon in a GREAT book called, appropriately enough, Audition, which I highly recommend.)

One thing I also noticed at this last audition...please, for the love of everything good and holy and pure...shut up.  Watch what you say in the lobby.  Watch your language.  Don't analyze every second and every note of your audition loudly so that you ensure everyone around you hears about it.  Because frankly?  Nobody cares.  I know that sounds rude, but it's true.  Everyone else is concerned about one person there: their own self and their own audition. 

....not sure where I'm going with all of this really.  I've just been thinking about auditions a lot lately as the next round or two comes up for me, personally.  And I've just been kind of bullet-pointing things that are on my mind about them:

  • Be confident
  • Make choices
  • Think about what you're wearing before going (especially if movement may be involved).
  • Be nice to your accompanist.  Introduce yourself, ask his/her name, THANK them.
  • Thank everyone, for that matter.
  • Be pleasant the entire time you're there.  You never know who is watching/listening.
  • Be prepared.
....what would you add to that list?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I (Heart) Denton

(this post is cross-posted over at Music and Baseball, where I am blogging more often lately)

As I mentioned in yesterday's Life Well Lived post, I had the pleasure of spending a very lovely Thursday evening on the square in my hometown of Denton, Texas last week for Twilight Tunes.  I had plans to meet up with Rachel and Brittany and some other friends, but I got there a bit early. I wasn't the only one who wanted to enjoy a beautiful, mild evening with some great music provided by the Andrew Tinker band....

As I sat by myself up near the band (if you look closely, you can see me in the above shirt, jeans, army green hat...), I started thinking about how lucky I am to live in such a great little city, full of so many artistic outlets and talented people.

All around me, people of all ages were sitting in camping chairs or on blankets or just on the grassy lawn of the courthouse square, grooving and nodding to the incredible music.  Children were running around, hoping to get as close as possible to the band before an observant parent came up and grabbed them.  People brought picnic dinners, bottles of wine and plastic cups, or take-out boxes from the locally owned restaurants within walking distance.

This was my first experience hearing Andrew Tinker and his band and oh. my. goodness.  I've since purchased their album, "It Takes the World," but even as much as I enjoy the CD and have listened to it almost nonstop for the past few days, it's nothing compared to experiencing these musicians LIVE.

I was genuinely impressed.  When you live in an artistically thriving area such as the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and in a small town with a nationally-renowned music program, everyone and their mother plays an in a band...has a get the idea.  It can be easy to get a bit jaded and wary when someone says "Oh you should come check out my band."  But every once in a while, I find myself truly blown away by the talent that I'm surrounded with on a daily basis in this area.

The Andrew Tinker band did just that.  Once my friends arrived, obviously my attention was turned to catching up, chatting, and enjoying the music as ambient sound...but for those 30 minutes or so that I was alone, I was able to focus completely on the music being performed in front of me.

It was just a wonderful evening with amazing friends and some kick-ass music.  It was refreshing.  Lately, I've felt an ache in my heart for the bustling cities of Boston and New York, and I've been feeling very homesick for the northeast. 

But that night, I was reminded just how lucky and blessed I am to live in a city like Denton, Texas. At the risk of sounding cheesy and was just a magical evening.  I went to bed so very happy and fulfilled that night. 

Denton?  I heart you. So very much.

*please note that all photos in this post, minus the one directly above this disclaimer, were taken by my friend Jim Wall.*