Before my blogs summer break, I promised a follow up to my “AUDTION HORROR THEATER” blog – so here it is.
Since I have already outlined the horrors of the audition process in that previous blog, I am now happy to present some more positive and uplifting stories on auditioning. First let me say that not all people I have met despise auditioning as much as I do. I worked with an actor in NYC in a production of “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” at Equity Library Theater. He played Hero, which is fitting, since he is the hero of my happy audition tale. This guy LOVED to audition. Really. He enjoyed himself at auditions and his joy was easily felt by the folks behind the table. And he would audition for anything and everything. If the call was for a large, gospel singing woman, he would sign up and audition. Union rules stated that all who wanted to be seen for a role had to be seen. He knew that they weren’t going to hire him for this role, but he went in, exuberantly, and sang his heart out. Not only did the casting people remember him, but it would probably lead to them casting him in another production down the road.
My personal experience has been that the less I cared about getting a certain role or gig, the better I did at the audition. I was cast in many shows that I did not take, because of this. Casting people can smell fear and uncertainty, no matter how hard you try to hide it.
The best audition “turn-around” for me was when I was asked to audition for Gail & Rice, the Ad/Marketing agency for R. J. Reynolds. They were looking for magicians to stroll around nightclubs in Houston and Dallas, as a promotional perk to the clubs. (There were 70 clubs in Houston and 40 in Dallas). They asked if I could come up to their hotel room and audition for two of the agency people. I immediately saw the flaw in this procedure, as the situation would be stilted, uncomfortable and not representative of what I could do with an audience. I asked if I could meet them in the hotel bar, and if they could watch me as I did my stuff with the people in the bar. Well, I killed with the bar patrons and got the job. I’m not saying I was the best magician to audition for them, but I was told all of the others went up to the hotel room, so I had a unique advantage, and parlayed that advantage into a very lucrative (and utterly exhausting, and pride crushing) year-long gig.
All this being said, I no longer audition at all. And I don’t miss it one bit!