Managing Nerves Throughout Each Stage of the Audition Process: Part 2

In my last post, I outlined how to identify the sources of nerves at each stage of the audition process. Once you’ve pinpointed what is making you nervous you can then take action to combat it. 

Waiting for the Phone to Ring …

Waiting for auditions can be the most passive and frustrating part of being an actor. Instead of seeing this as dead time, you should use it productively to get yourself ready for castings.

Find a class or coach to sharpen up your skills, including faster line-learning.Try The Actors Centre, find a coach from The Actor’s Yearbook, ask your drama school to set up a graduate class or do something with mates.

Get access to a camera and practise self-taping. Check out Nancy Bishop’s ’Secrets From the Casting Couch' for tips.

Find the right survival job. It needs to be flexible, pay enough and not leave you feeling drained.  In fact, I wrote on this previously, here.

Brush up on your accents by using IDEA , YouTube,  tutoring …

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Auditioning is an art unto itself, and worth separating from the art of acting for a play or musical. People who love auditioning have the qualities of athletes who love to practice, of people who see their work as something to be applied in any circumstance, and of people who value bravery and fearlessness in their approach to life.

A good auditionee does not measure the success of an audition by the validation of their work through employment or through praise. One must demonstrate enormous psychological health to enjoy auditioning and not place this activity in the realm of approval.

Take a scene or song, analyze it, enjoy it, and bend your craft towards it. Go into the room to explore the words and the part, ask yourself hard questions about the action of the scene or the song, put that action into the character and particularly the person the scene is aimed at, keep the focus off yourself, and on the work, and be brave and agile. Make clear choices and look at the work like a …

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TO HAVE (an agent) or NOT TO HAVE (an agent)

I was asked an interesting question at a masterclass yesterday – Was it better to have a bad agent than no agent at all?

My instinctive reaction was to say that an agent was such an important part of an actor’s life that not having one made the job impossible. But on the way home, looking through some CV’s for a new production, I noticed several from certain agents which were incomplete; no date of birth or playing age, no heights given, no singing range etc. Where other agents had bothered to note at the top of each CV which role they were submitting their actors for, these bad agents hadn’t bothered, leaving me to guess myself where best they fitted – a tough quest given the important information wasn’t available. A good agent knows what we need to see and what information to include, and let’s be clear (before I discuss the negatives) there are many, many excellent agents out there. They aren’t the ones to worry about. It's the bad 'ins we need to …

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Colour Blind Casting - Where do good intentions become hindered?

I was asked recently to share my views on Colour Blind Casting - the concept where an actor of any ethnicity can play any role. It's a sensitive subject and no matter how careful one is not to offend, someone gets annoyed.  So, let me preface these thoughts by saying that nothing I have to offer here is meant to offend; it merely represents my understanding, however limited, of the casting process on this issue.

It seems to me that there are several key factors which contribute to how an actor is cast in relation to ethnicity; the historical period and location of the piece, the director's artistic vision, the writing and the audience perception.

In no particular order, the director may choose to cast by adhering to historical correctness, accurately casting from within the culture where the story takes place and the period in which it is set. Alternatively the director may choose to ignore such historical accuracy and cast from any ethnicity. Neither …

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A Little Knowledge in an Audition Goes a Long, Long Way.

I'm auditioning for the recast of SOUTH PACIFIC in Australia. It’s a quarter to four; that deadly time in the audition panel’s afternoon where the mind starts to wonder, the jet-lagged director starts to fade or the quickly scoffed lunch begins to repeat.  The moment when you long for a memorable auditionee to walk into the room and hopefully blow your socks off and in doing so, also blow the cobwebs away for the remaining two hours. Around this time, I aim to schedule auditionees whom I can be assured will pep us all up; someone who’s talent is sure to be remembered and will re-energise the weary panel.

There’s a great joy in auditioning in a country where you don’t know all the artists coming in. Although I’ve scoured their CV’s in the same way as I would in the UK, the significant factor of not knowing what you’re going to get is exciting, particularly in Australia where the standard of professionalism and work ethic has always impressed …

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