You signed up for an ECC, showed up at 9:30, belted Q's at 10:15, and beat out literally 100 other people to get... a callback.
To dance.Read More
My first solo trips to New York City after college were a massive learning experience. I was a SoCal girl through and through, not accustomed to public transit, walking cultures, or weather. To save you from some of the painful and awkward mistakes I made, I’ve compiled a two-part ‘how to’ guide for LA actors navigating the Big Apple for the first time.Read More
Your audition book is a reflection of you. If you're an incredibly organized, Type A person, your book is probably already divided into neat categories. If you tend to wing it, your book might be filled with song cuts marked in strong, scribbly pencil, and you probably have an extra-sweet smile to share with the accompanist alongside your apology: "I'm sorry this is such a mess."Read More
There comes a time in every NY actor's career when you will say, "Fuck this place, I need a break," and you will book a trip to Paris or Cali or your mom's house, and Broadway will come knocking.
Every. Single. Time.
Maybe not Broadway in particular, although in my case that's happened so many times I have literally lost count. And it hasn't ever worked out.
If this hasn't happened to you, it's a matter of time. Remember, New York is like a bad boyfriend: as soon as you decide you've had enough, he will come calling again.
So is it worth it to fly back? I wish I had a concrete answer for that, but the truth is every situation is different for everyone. But for me, it boils down to these two questions:
1. How much will it cost to get back?
This is always my first question because I'm usually varying degrees of broke. I do not condone the usage of credit cards for stuff like this. A Wicked appointment is not an emergency. (Besides, it'll come around again: that show's gonna run forever.)
Southwest is the only airline I know of that allows you to change your ticket for free, the only cost being the difference in the ticket price. Does this mean I fly Southwest as often as I can? Toss in the two free checked bags, and the answer is yes!
But otherwise, if I can get back to the City for around $100, I will usually do it. Likewise, if I can take a flight credit somehow and return to the City at a reasonable price in a reasonable amount of time, I will do it. I define "unreasonable" as 1.) significantly more than $100, 2.) an overnight flight-- I learned the hard way my vocal chords will not cooperate, and 3.) a six to ten hour drive somewhere in a rented car.
2. How badly do I want the gig?
If you need the money or insurance weeks, I get it. But if this is a show you've already done that won't add anything new to your resume, I say skip it. See my blog about the magic of the word 'no.' And remember, if you're busy doing a show you've always done, you can't advance your career by doing new shows with new people.
The bottom line is that there's always another audition. My friend recently turned down the (supposedly) final callback for a show at the Goodspeed because she was in California at the time. She went back and forth about it, but ultimately decided she had made the right decision, in part because the length of the contract would have taken her out of the City during prime audition season. She's confident she can book something else, and that she'll work at Goodspeed another time.
Read on for some of my best/worst audition fly-back escapades.
1. The time I volunteered to get bumped in order to stay in town for a Les Miz audition that had suddenly come up. It was the middle of summer, and the Delta representative practically hugged me when I came to the desk. I was re-booked for a flight later in the week, I got a $200 travel voucher, and they sent me home in a limo. I did not, however, get Les Miz.
2. The time I charged $700 for an overnight flight from LA to NY to audition for Susan Stroman's Little Dancer. It was my first audition back after having a baby, I was not in good shape, and the flight wrecked my voice. (I thought I was really right for it...)
3. The time I refused to come back for a final callback for a show that I had been seen for dozens of times over the years. That show, I booked.
So take that into consideration the next time you're tempted by the audition gods-- or rather, devils.
By some MTA miracle, you arrive at Pearl early for your appointment. You give a glorious audition, and you don't have to be at work until 6:30. You're debating your movie options until you see someone you know down the hall auditioning for... a show you'd be perfect for. Do you try to crash? Or do you blow it off for the latest Star Wars?
Crashing an audition requires one thing: balls.
Despite the epic odds against us, most of us don't want to be perceived as pushy. Or rude. We're afraid crashing an audition will piss casting off, and that it will come back to bite us in the ass in some way. We forget that what casting's looking for is someone who's perfect for the show. Now, if you crash an audition and you aren't, the casting director will be annoyed. But if you're perfect for it, why not? Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The worst they can say is no.
Here's what you do.
Linger on the edges of the audition space, chatting with your friend, eyeing the competition, and figuring out who's in charge. When the moment comes, strike! Maybe the monitor is waiting for someone who is late. Maybe someone is taking forever digging out their materials. Whatever. Sidle over to him or her and say something like, "Hi, I'm Bill. Is there any chance I could get seen for this if there's time?" If the casting director knows you, mention him or her by name. "Could you ask Gayle if she'll see me for this?" If you have any credits that distinguish you from the competition, mention it. Be shameless. For example, "I'm not sure if my agent submitted me, but I've played Eliza Dolittle three times." Or "I know insert director's name from a season at Sacramento Music Circus. Is he in the room?"
Most of the time the monitor will trot your headshot into the room and come back with an answer. Here's what you will most likely hear, from best to worst case scenarios.
1. "Sure! We can see you right now if you're ready." WIN
2. "Do you mind waiting? If things slow down, they'd love to see you." WIN
3. "They don't think they'll have time today, but they'll hang on to your headshot." Whenever I've been told that, I've gotten an appointment the next day, or maybe gone straight to callbacks. Then I can watch Star Wars AND audition. WIN/WIN
4. "We're in callbacks already." Hopefully this is something you've ascertained from lingering outside the audition room. It's also possible the monitor is lying to you to get you to leave. I would only push it if it's a show you know really well and could do the material cold. Then you say, "Oh, I just closed this show three weeks ago in the title role. I already know the scenes and songs." The monitor may go in and come back with the go-ahead (WIN), or come back and say no (LOSS). In either case, say thank you.
5. "They don't think they'll have time today/They're only seeing people with appointments, sorry." LOSS. Okay, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So in just about every scenario, I'd say crash. Sometimes you have to bang down your own doors.
However, there is one important crashing rule that will separate you from everyone else, and prevent the casting director thinking of you as a pain in the ass. Always, always follow up with a thank you note, whether you were seen or not. Say something along the lines of "Thank you so much for your consideration for X project at Pearl Studios on Y date. I'm passionate about the show, and I know that role well. Please consider me for future productions. I hope to see you again soon." And the next time the CD is casting that show, maybe you'll get a traditional appointment.
Whenever I've crashed, I've gotten at least a callback, or been called in for another show in the season. If you do it right-- be assertive, but not aggressive; be polite, but not slimy-- you could find yourself cast! What have you got to lose?