AUDITION HELP 101: #1 PRE AUDITION

“Be prepared… the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.” ~ Robert Baden Powell

FOREWORD

This entry is actually a re post of a document which was created for “The Trinidad and Tobago Performing Arts Network”  on 25/08/11 back when the only platform was a facebook group. Now we’re on twitter, Instagram and exist as a facebook page so sharing across various platforms became necessary. It  may seem a bit redundant for those who may have read it before, but this entry, being a blog post and all, has allowed me to include some features which the prospective ‘auditioner’ may find useful and hopefully, during the time which has elapsed since its initial posting!

This entry: “Audition Help 101”, is part of a series of entries to come, which would highlight techniques I’ve learned as a performer and working behind the scenes, through trial and error, things which should be common knowledge… but apparently isn’t and little things that I have found interesting through reading. Some of these may apply to all auditions while others are fluid and may not be applicable depending on who, and what type of production you are auditioning for. Be guided accordingly.

Before we get into the meat of the matter, I must first acknowledge  Breige Wilson; the inspiration for this series, Nicole Wesley (Associate Professor of Dance, UTT Academy for the Performing Arts), Carol La Chapelle (Celebrated Choreographer, Artistic Director of The La Chapelle Dance Co. of  T&T, UTT APA Senior Lecturer and Cultural Activist!), Glenda Collens (Accomplished Vocal Coach, Actress  Singer, Song writer and Versatile Performing Arts Professional), Helmer Hillwig (Director and Chairman of Queen’s Hall Board), Ed De Shae (Stage Manager and Independent Performing Arts Professional), Jamel Layne (Booking Agent at Isle Model Management), Avrel Fisher (1st Assistant Director, “Home Again the movie”),   and Caroline Taylor (M.A. Theatre & Performance at Goldsmiths University of London), Shannon Navarro (BA Performing Arts at  the University of Tampa) and Marc Andrew Hem Lee, (BA Theatre Arts at Cornell University) for their input, comments, critiques, reviews and advice, and all those who have allowed their head shots and resumes to be used in the process and final production of this entry.

P.S. All  consultants, head shots, sample resumes a and references are to  citizens of and/or persons currently residing in Trinidad and Tobago. (Except Avrel, she’s Canadian, but a Trini at heart). I wanted to keep that local connection. Hey! I may just mention someone you know.  Also, Let me know how helpful this post  has been to you preparing for your audition  and as a special offer, look out for the special offer below the slide show.

• INTRODUCTION: PRE AUDITIONS

Being prepared is always beneficial. Although there may not be any auditions or casting calls at a present moment, It is advisable  to:

  1. Have your  head shots and résumé  ready and easily accessible (eg: have it saved to a folder in your email, to your phone, or my recent new best friend, the almighty dropbox.com, so it can be accessed at any computer with internet access) In the event that you hear of an audition on short notice, you’d already have your documents ready.
  2. Continue to Increase your experience. and learning about the art.(Read, take classes when and where you can to improve your art, join a group and continue to practise your practice. (It took me years to know the difference between those two.. #truestory).

Preparing a résumé  is sometimes one of the most tedious tasks of the audition process, so having that already prepared means you can spend more time on perfecting your audition piece.

• RESUMÉ

At the basic level, a performer’s résumé  (or talent résumé as it is sometimes known ) would detail your experience and training in a performing arts discipline, your abilities as a performer, and contact information. However, it may be beneficial to include and your physical characteristics as well. In a professional résumé, it is considered inappropriate to include personal information, but in the performing arts, employers may often want to know your height, weight, hair color and build. Sometimes, they’ll even want your measurements, for costuming considerations.

•  RESUMÉ FORMAT

Unlike professional résumé, performer’s résumés  are often broken into columns and kept to one page. Traditionally, performers’ résumés  can include sections on education/training, group affiliations, performing experience, related work experience, awards/distinctions, and special skills. Professional résumés  tend to have short paragraph sections. Performer’s résumés are usually divided into concise list form. (consider the samples below)

Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3,

• RESUME GUIDELINES FOR MULTITALENTED PEOPLE

If you have focused on more than one discipline, get specific! Don’t try to cram all of your theater, dance, modelling and singing experience into the same document. You will not be able to do justice to your experience or your résumé. If you have enough experience in more than one discipline to warrant more than one résumé, then write more than one résumé, and only submit the résumé pertinent to the job title you are applying for… yes! contrary to popular belief, it is a job.

If you are an actor and a singer, a choreographer and a dancer, a composer and a director, have a separate résumé for each title. Keep each one very focused. If you decide to include a section like “Other” or “Special Skills”, you can mention your other talent in a single phrase; “Extensive theater background” for example. It may feel as though you are minimizing your other areas of expertise, but what you’re really doing is focusing. Do not underestimate your special skills when submitting a résumé. A director or organization may be looking for something rare and atypical during an audition scenario, and those special skills may give you an edge.

Your résumé is suppose to convince an employer that they want to hire you, and that you are perfect for the job they’re offering. That means you have to keep everything in the document relevant. If you’re auditioning for a musical, you’ll need to highlight a variety of abilities; if you’re auditioning for a dance show, it might be unnecessary to highlight your vocal experience. If you have developed a unique performers art genre that incorporates aspects of more than one discipline, and the job you are seeking requires this ability, then you should develop your résumé accordingly. You should still keep it to one page, listing the most recent accomplishment first. If you have extensive experience, then choose representative highlights of your training and experience. You don’t need to include everything. Be discerning. Choose your most impressive accomplishments, and in this case, choose a sample representative of your range

• HEADSHOT

In addition to providing your contact, experience, stats and measurements within your résumé, it is advisable to include a headshot. Accompanying your résumé, a good photograph can help convey the intangible qualities about you that make you a good performer. During a large audition, putting a name to a face is important, and not including a photograph could lessen the chances of getting the part.

NB: In selecting your head shot to upload, be sure your face is clearly defined, and easy to recognize. 

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• SPECIAL OFFER (FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY)

We’re sorry 😦 The Special Offer to  submit your talent résumé for review, or use the site to create your first one has closed. However, if you submit your name and email address below we will contact you when the offer becomes available again.

Here are some of the résumés of persons who have already benefited from this offer:

Blaine Thomas Acting Resume_ Film & Television

Nathan Edwards Acting Resume_ Theatre, Film & Television

Ceri Cazabon_ Musical Theatre Resume

How helpful has this entry been? Let me know in the poll below. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comment section and be sure to subscribe to this blog for more Audition Tips.

Auditions can be a very nerve wrecking experience, it helps to be prepared.

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