For an actor the majority of people would think, that standing in front of a small number of people and delivering a short monologue would be the easiest thing in the world. However for some actors, it is not. Recently on Twitter Laurence Fox tweeted
‘Off to audition. Would have thought one would get used to the nagging fear. One doesn’t.’
It would seem this fear never abates; it seems that it is part and parcel of it. When I think of the auditioning process, I have to admit, it does fill me a kind of trepidation- I would even go as far to say blind panic. Being a person who is, relatively new to the auditioning process, it is sometimes the feeling of unknown that adds worry. Who will be there? What will they be like? Will it be a group audition? Will they want me to go straight in to it? Will I be asked to do it in a different way? Will my audition piece be ok or will they be bored as I have picked a really obvious choice of monologue? (This always conjures up the image of Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love, when he’s bored mindlessly with all the actors performing the same soliloquy as their audition pieces) As you can imagine, one question leads to another and before you know it you can be worrying about everything other than why you are actually there – to showcase your acting ability. As with any normal interview, this is your opportunity to show them what you’ve got – so you’ve got to get it right.
So, when we were offered a master class in the casting/audition process, I was chuffed to bits – for want of a better expression. Daniel had decided to split the session into two sections:
1. The process prior to the audition from the view of the director/casting director
2. The audition
Being on the ‘actor-side-of-things’, I have to admit that I have thought about what would make up the content of the second session a lot more than the process in which the casting director/director goes through. However, this session opened my mind to the whole process prior to the audition. This is not to say I was totally clueless but as I have said previously, when preparing for an audition one can get tangled up in all the questions and not actually give a second thought as to the method that is used prior to even getting an audition.
It was clear from the start that Spotlight (www.spotlight.com) seemed to be integral in the casting process. Whilst the majority of us were familiar with spotlight from an actor’s point of view, we were not familiar however with it for use from a director’s perspective. Daniel showed us his process of casting productions at New Perspectives. He went through the process of putting the *call out* on spotlight, and then how he would receive answers back from the many actors who thought that they were suitable from the role. It seems that Spotlight has a very useful tool in regards to narrowing down the number of potential actors. It gives you the option to flag actors profiles up as Green, Amber and Red – I’m sure that you can work out which each colour means.
Daniel also explained that, it is through this process that you tend to get an idea which agents are good or bad ones (Other than them having a good letterhead!!). It would seem that some agents do not even bother to read the brief on each character and will simply put any of their actors forward for it. As you can imagine, this is not helpful to either the Director/Casting Director or the actor that the agent is representing.
Having finished University one of the first things that I decided – somewhat naively – was that I needed to get an agent. Whilst I knew that the likes of Troika, Hamilton Hodell or United Agents, were not ready for me quite yet, I also knew that there would be some, let’s say not so good agents out there. The difficulty was deciphering which ones were the bad ones? From the session it was clear that a few of us had gone down a similar route after finishing University and had come up against the ‘ oh, but you haven’t trained full-time at a CDS school or done an NCDT accredited course ‘; it was almost as if the past 3 years spent studying at University were a waste of time.
However, it would seem that it is here where once again spotlight can help. They allow unrepresented actors to sign up to their website. Casting directors can then make the decision whether they want their call out to go to represented and/or unrepresented actors. One of the problems we discussed about this though was once again the problem of not having been to a Drama school, but since this session I have investigated this further and it looks like they are now accepting BA (Hons) – SCORE! Please be aware though, I am only halfway through the application process and I may get to the end and they say that they don’t want any of my kind there!
I think the main thing that I got out of the session was hearing other people’s experiences and knowing that we were all in a similar boat. It was great hearing how some of the group, had gone out and done it for themselves, something that I hadn’t really thought would be a possibility but am now beginning to see how it can be done – it’s definately all about the networking, which is something that has become more of a possibility since joining STEP UP. It’s giving me the opportunities already, to meet likeminded people in and around Nottingham and offering plenty of opportunities. It would seem that there is in fact hope for us yet.
With regards to the whole auditioning process, I do feel a lot better now that we have looked at it from every angle, but I know for a fact that those nerves will still creep in. We just have to do the best that we can, auditioning isn’t an easy process and I suppose we need those nerves to some extent. Laurence Fox later went on to tweet:
‘Fine once I’ve got the job. Fairly shit at getting it.#hencesevenyearsoflewis’
It is nice to know that even pretty well established actors still panic – a little. Although to be quite honest, I’m not going to complain on this count, I chuffin’ love Lewis!
Follow Alex on twitter: @swanga – or the whole STEP UP Creatives training ensemble in one handy list.