In the last several years, I have auditioned for many productions in Denver and Seattle. I seem to be naturally inclined to be successful with, and strangely enjoy, the audition process and I have over a 90% success rate at being cast in whatever theatre show I’ve auditioned for. I did not fully understand what it was I did with auditioning that worked until I got to be part of a professional casting process for the production of my third original musical. Also, due to my
volunteer experiences with Theatre Puget Sound’s General Auditions, I have in total seen the auditions of hundreds of people, representing all age ranges, genders and even different physical abilities.
I know that my experiences with auditioning are not like that of my peers. When I speak to others who audition for shows, they often are remorseful or think of their most dreadful experiences. From watching auditions, I’ve also seen how actors and singers can overcompensate for these types of feelings by projecting them on stage. Often, they seem overconfident or intense. I believe much of these fears can be quelled by simply being more informed of what and who you’re auditioning for.
One idea I’ve picked up from my experiences in accepting and performing roles in theatre and film is how to identify if a role is even worth auditioning for. Ask yourself: 1) Does this role pay
money? 2) Will I benefit from the experience of performing this particular role? And 3) Are these great people to work with? If you can say yes to at least two of three questions, then there is a valuable purpose behind auditioning for a particular role. I will present this information through a Venn diagram.
To become more informed about a particular role, a performer can 1) do online research about the show, 2) ask friends if they’d be good for the role, 3) e-mail the director and ask questions
about the show and the role, and 4) practice performing the role beforehand. This graphic novel will show those steps as a to-do, or how-to, graphic diagram.
Similarly, to become more informed about the people the performer would be potentially working with, a performer can 1) do online research about the company and previous shows, 2) ask friends if they’ve heard about them, 3) e-mail the director and ask questions about their company, and 4) network and learn about companies before considering auditioning for them.
This graphic novel will show these steps in another, slightly different numerated graphic diagram.
There are many people out there who are currently looking for all types of work and could benefit from the varied information in this graphic novel handout. I see this instructional material functioning as a starting point for more pointed conversations about the auditioning/interviewing process and how it relates to finding great roles and jobs. Students and professionals from all types of trades and industries could benefit from thinking about seeking employment in terms of performance auditions; especially fields that require a person to continue to audition as part of their job (e.g., Marketing, Presenting, Sales). In general, I think this instructional document is timely and a relatable because many people are struggling to find work in our current economy.
In regard to performers alone, I think this graphic novel would be an excellent icebreaker for a discussion about how some of the worst audition experiences happen not because we’re bad actors, but because we’re just not a good match for the audition itself. As an instructor, I would use the information in this handout to perhaps ask students to write a reflective essay on what types of roles and what types of theatre production companies a performer thinks she or he would be best for by following the same steps in the handout (i.e., citing online research, interviewing peers and friends familiar with their performances, e-mailing the director of a current upcoming audition, requiring students to have performed whatever songs or monologues they choose, and going to a specific theatre industry networking event to refer to in the reflective essay). An adjacent assignment to this handout would work great in a senior high school level theatre class and a traditional semester for undergraduate performance majors.
The handout itself would be valuable as part of a presentation or a workshop to current industry professionals as well.
2. A Picture of the Future
The most desirable and concrete outcome for an individual making the best use from this instructional handout is to land more appropriate roles from auditions. At the very least, he or she should feel more confident about the audition process by taking some time to examine the process a little differently. Hopefully the graphic diagrams I create will help performers gain a clearer perspective about auditioning for roles by empowering them to take a proactive position before submitting for auditions.
Within a minimum of 45 slides, I will attempt the following instructional objectives:
1) Given an entertaining story told in a graphic novel format, the performer will explore the audition process in a fresh, and possibly brand new, way.
2) Given two mapped/annotated diagrams of the same performer, which also functions as a compare-and-contrast visual representation, the performer will see what physical appearances are appropriate and inappropriate for an audition.
3) Given a Venn diagram displaying three questions, the performer will examine whether a particular role is a good match to audition for.
4) Given two similar, but visually different instructional sequence diagrams, students will examine four steps to becoming best informed before submitting for an audition.