As the producing process continues for ShortLived 3.0, I am learning more and more! This experience, being on the other side, is definitely invaluable. This past weekend we held our first round of auditions for our 3-month long show. After the long weekend of auditions, the directors all joked we could have our own actor’s workshop to teach everyone what not to do. I think we were all slightly shocked at all of the acting faux pas that were made. No wonder everyone thinks they can be an acting coach or hold audition workshops!
Here are some of the audition no-no’s that repeatedly came up:
Coming in without headshot and resume already in hand, ready to be handed to the casting director.
(As in, spending the first minute fumbling around in your purse/briefcase/bag trying to find it while we all stare at you in awkward silence.)
Coming in without headshot and resume stapled together.
(I am not your mother, I can’t take care of it for you. And if you can’t take the little effort it takes to staples two pieces of paper together, how do I know you’re going to put any effort into my production?)
Coming in without professional headshot and resume.
(Rather, a computer print-out of a random picture your friend took three years ago in which you think you look good)
Coming in without headshot and resume.
(Yup, believe it or not, some of the actors waltzed right in without anything in hand at all. Some said, simply, they did not have one. Others said they were in a rush and didn’t have a chance to grab it. While others said they completely forgot. Whatever the reason, we don’t care.)
Coming in without a headshot that looks like you.
(Some people looked way older than their headshot. Some looked way prettier in their headshot, some looked way prettier in person. Some had personalities wildly different than that conveyed in their headshot. A good portion of the people who walked in the room simply did not match the picture they handed to us, which can be problematic– we may not remember you because the headshot is so different from you.)
Performing your monologue without first telling us your name, the title and author of the piece.
(Yes, some of the actors literally began their monologue the second they walked into the room. It was just sort of weird more than anything else.)
Performing a monologue you made up but pretending it’s from a published play.
(First of all, I’d steer clear of performing anything you’ve written. That’s great you have an original piece. And even if it’s really fantastic, save it for your one-woman show or something, it’s not for the audition room. But if you are going to perform something you’ve made up, please say so! Don’t pretend it’s from an actual play)
Performing a monologue from a monologue book without any idea what play it’s from.
(I was surprised at how many people had the balls to perform something without knowing what it was from and to actually tell me that. I don’t want to know that you’re performing some piece you found in a book last week for class.)
Performing a monologue without knowing where it’s from at all.
(Some actors had no idea what their monologue was from at all. Some pretended as if the title and playwright just slipped their mind, but others would say they simply did not know.)
Performing a monologue about sexual molestation, sexual fetishes or rape.
(And I’m talking on at least three separate occasions. I was shocked at how many actors chose inappropriate material. I am a very open person and love theater that pushes the envelope, but for an audition there is a fine line and many crossed it. I want to be paying attention to you and your brilliant performance, not being completely insulted by the misogynistic
Performing a dramatic monologue and not having a comedic one ready just in case.
(A few actors we felt had potential, it’s just the dramatic monologue they chose wasn’t that great. But when we asked if they could do a comedic one, they were stumped. Don’t come unprepared! Be ready for anything!)
Performing a Shakespeare monologue when the only specification we gave was “contemporary”.
(Not to mention, this is a playwriting competition– that means new plays! How is Shakespeare relevant here??)
Performing your monologue and then asking “So, what’s the project?”
(It’s insulting! Trust me, I know that with so many submissions and emails, a project can get lost in the shuffle. But I hope to god that once you’ve confirmed an audition, you do a little research and at least know what you are auditioning for.)
Leaving the room the second you finish your monologue.
(What’s the rush? Do we smell? What if we had some questions for you? Some actors just rushed out as soon as they were done, which made me think, I guess you don’t really care about this project then. Sends a bad message.)
Walk straight into the audition room, while another audition is going on.
(To be fair, this only happened once. But, still, I was shocked! Why would you open a closed door clearly marked as the audition room when the notice next to the sign-in sheet clearly says to sign-in and wait until someone gets you?)
And the biggest, most prevalent audition faux pas of all… not showing up for the audition at all!
(I was anticipating a bunch of flakes. But it was still really frustrating and discouraging to only see less than half of the scheduled auditioners come in. I appreciated the few who did take the second to email their cancellation. But that was only a select few. The rest were just no-shows! It’s disrespectful. You never know when something like that is going to come around and bite you in the ass.)