Archive | January, 2012

The Audition from Hell

30 Jan

P-p-p-p-p-poker face

Auditions are, by their very nature, competitive and high-stress, high-pressure pockets of your acting career. None of you will become actors without auditions that make you want to crawl into bed and start a new career as a mattress sheet.

Nina Bright, graduate of the Academy of Live Recorded Arts, kindly shared with In the Wings her experience of an audition that required her to dance like an androgynous minion of Lady Gaga…

So what happened?

Actors should be aware of the term “Triple threat”, which is moving into the realms of musical theatre. It’s not that I don’t enjoy musical theatre, I just can’t sing quite well enough to do it – I couldn’t be Fantine. So triple threats are people who can dance incredibly well, sing incredibly well, and act. Sometimes I feel that the dancing and singing are more important than the acting.

The funny thing is after this audition I swore I’d never tell a soul. And now I’m telling a blog!

Come on Nina, stop stalling. Tell us what happened!

An agency contacted my drama school and said they were looking for triple threat candidates. My drama school asked if they were interested in straight actors. They said yes, and could straight actors please bring along two speeches and two songs, so I took my guitar. They said it was going to be a “movement” class.

Now, in my drama school head, movement is not dance. You could apply the word “movement” to anything, but dance is dance. So when we arrived and they said “We’re going to start with the dancing” and Lady Gaga kicked in, I was somewhat horrified. The woman leading could have just stepped out of Fame. She showed us this intensely difficult pop choreography – more difficult than any dance I have ever done. I couldn’t follow it at all and everyone else was doing it really easily and I thought “Oh my god, I look stupid!”

I tried to pick it up but failed miserably, and I started grinning at the other people saying “Yes, I’m the idiot who can’t do it.” Finally it was over, and I was so relieved, and the Fame woman announced “So now, part two…” I was just in hell, and it was followed by part three, and part four, and part five…

I thought about leaving, but I kept thinking “Maybe this is just the part where they see who the dancers are”, I held on to hope. When you’re starting out and no agents are interested in you, you get desperate. I should have left, I should have listened to my instincts.

The funniest thing was that the rejection email said “It was your singing that let you down” – I just burst out laughing and thought – not the dancing?!

So how should actors avoid such an experience?

Well, this was mainly the fault of the agency. They should have been more clear about what they were looking for – musical theatre performers who they could pump into the west end scene.

If you are a straight actor be aware of the phrase ‘triple threat’. Actors should be proactive about finding out about the project what they are looking for before turning up. It could save you a lot of time and dignity!

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Exclusive: more on those NYT auditions…

27 Jan

Following on from yesterday’s post, we talked to the National Youth Theatre‘s public affairs director Joe Duggan for a sneak peek into their 2012 auditions, which are now underway.

In The Wings: How many people are auditioning this year?

Joe Duggan: It’s likely to be around 4,500, which will be the most ever. It continues to grow and grow. But you know, we’re the National Youth Theatre, not the London Youth Theatre or anything like that, and the audition programme is one of the ways that we really have a national presence. We’ve got people flying up to Glasgow, and heading down to Plymouth – I’m off to Cardiff.

ITW: How many of those 4,500 will get in?

JD: Last year we accepted 500 people, and I think it’s likely to be something similar this year. I think it’s really about the level of talent that’s out there and whether we can find it. We pride ourselves on excellence. The National Youth Theatre’s been around for 56 years now, and it’s got all these illustrious alumni: Daniel Craig, Helen Mirren and so on. And I think we feel a real duty to maintain that high standard. It wouldn’t mean the same if we just let anyone in.

We think young people do enjoy competition, as well. You see the people that are successful, and how much it means to them – that they have competed in this big field and they’ve been selected because there’s something unique, interesting and individual about them.

ITW: What form do the auditions take?

JD: It’s a workshop in the morning and an individual audition in the afternoon. Our feedback is that it’s a really good experience, whether you’re successful or not, if you want a bit of a taster of what the industry feels like. The more auditions you go to, the more prepared you’ll be, the more normal it’ll feel to do it, and hopefully you’ll be able to feel relaxed and showcase yourself in the best possible light.

ITW: What would be your main pointers to people who have auditions coming up?

JD: I think should use their auditions to honestly show who they are, as a performer and as a person. We look for people who are unique, people who are curious and ask questions, and enter into a dialogue with us. Not necessarily the person who’s been cast as the lead in all the school plays, or a typically drama-ey type – but someone who will really add something to our community of members. So for a young person I’d always advise them to find a speech that they really enjoy performing, that shows off who they are.

The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain has been supporting young acting talent since 1956. Their 2012 audition programme is currently underway, and successful applicants will take up a place on one of their acting courses – which this summer will be evenly split for the first time between London’s Rose Bruford College and MediaCity, Salford.

Photo by garryknight, via Flickr, on a Creative Commons licence.

Who wants to showcase their talent on In The Wings?

26 Jan

Calling all actors!

We are already preparing for Shakespeare season. We need 16 actors to take part in our Shakespeare video for April, so if you want some exposure and are willing to film yourself doing a bit of Shakey in an interesting setting, contact us!

All the world’s a stage, dear actors. Now let’s find you an audience.

Photo by: Calamity Jane on Flickr via a CC Licence.

Planning on auditioning for the NYT this month?

26 Jan

The friendly people at the National Youth Theatre have made this useful video with tips for the audition process.

Not got a place yet? The online booking system has now closed but you can call this number to see if there are any free spaces: 020 7281 3863, via the NYT.

For more info on the audition process click here.

Break a leg!

The Top 10 Blogs for Actors

25 Jan

In no particular order, these are the blogs that we think all actors should be checking out on a regular basis. Disagree? Let us know who you would add to the list.

1) The Stage Blog – A collection of blogs from the leading theatrical publication, including posts on education and training and news.

2) Resting Actress – Hilarious posts about the trials and tribulations of being a resting actress. See her guest post here.

3) The Acting Blog – Expert advice from Scottish acting coach Mark Westbrook.

4) UK Actor’s Tweetup – A must for all wannabes, the Tweetup team arrange networking events for aspiring actors. Look them up on Twitter too.

5) Spotlight – Posts from the top casting directory featuring news, interviews and blogs by actors.

6) Lenka’s Acting Journey – Czech actress Lenka blogs about acting abroad.

7) Industry Hub – Struggling to become more savvy with social networking? This blog is promoting the UK acting scene using social media, while also providing handy tips.

8) Guardian Stage – It’s important to keep up with all the latest theatre news, and the Guardian does a great job of analysing the biggest stories.

9) A Younger Theatre – A collection of blogs from the team at Younger Theatre – which is run exclusively by under 26 year-olds who are passionate about theatre.

10) Us! We hope you’re enjoying what we’re doing but would love to hear if you have any comments or suggestions. You can email us at blogforactors@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

We know there are loads more brilliant blogs – if you don’t agree with us tell us who you would add.

Picture by crafty_dame from Flickr via a CC Licence.

Surviving Actors – a convention for actors

16 Jan

Surviving Actors, you may be surprised to learn, is not a programme to help people cope with having actors as friends.

Surviving Actors is a free convention on Saturday 21 January, (address below) that helps actors stay in the sometimes gruelling game.

“There are too many talented actors, so burdened with the panic of finding the money for rent, food and travel that a 9-5 job often takes over and before they know it, acting has taken a back seat.” Surviving Actors helps actors find well-paid inbetween jobs, and provides guidance and networking opportunities on the winding path to success.

Look at that helpful face.

Business development manager of Surviving Actors, Lianne Robertson, told In the Wings “We’ve almost got 2000 actors registered online for the event, so there will be a lot of opportunity to network with other actors on the day, spark ideas off each other, maybe give each other pointers on things like how to get an audition.”

“Actors at the convention will also meet agents as well. A big part of it is networking. One of our workshops is called ‘Meet the agent’, so you can get up close and personal with agents, ask questions, and get a feel for what it’s like meeting an agent before doing it professionally.”

There will also be several companies ready to offer flexible part time work to you resting thesps, to ensure not only that you get to eat and pay the rent, but that such non-artistic (though annoyingly essential) pursuits don’t pull you away from your real goal.

So basically, if you’re not there, you’re madder than King George.

Saturday 21 January

9am – 5pm

Savoy Place
London
WC2R 0BL

Nearest station: Temple or Embankment

Who should be the next BAFTA Orange Rising Star?

11 Jan

As you know, we’re big fans of young acting talent here at In the Wings so are pleased to see that Orange is continuing to give recognition to talented young actors.

Today, the final five nominees (all males we’re surprised to see) were revealed but we want to know who you think should be awarded the coveted prize.

To vote for the award click here.

Picture by Laura Mary from Flickr via a CC Licence.

Hurrah Resting Actress has a blog!

7 Jan

We have long loved the hilarious musings of Resting Actress so are overjoyed that she has joined the blogging community. Check her out here and don’t forget to read her guest post.

On that note, who are your favourite bloggers?

Picture by fotobydave, on Flickr via a CC Licence.

Top Tips from To Be Seen

6 Jan

Martha Shephard

Martha Shephard from online casting agency  To Be Seen shares her advice for those starting out in the business

Online Profile:

Create a profile at www.tobeseen.co.uk. It is free to create a basic profile and you can use it as your unique webpage to show your details, acting credits, photos & showreel. Casting professionals can then simply click on your link to access the information they require in order to consider you for an audition.
You can forward your To Be Seen profile link to relevant people & companies in the industry, print it on your business cards, use it in your email signature & display it in your social networking profiles.

Headshot Photos:

Having good quality photos is essential on your profile because it is the first thing that industry professionals see and it represents you.
Your photos can be black & white or colour. You should be facing the camera and have a non-distracting background. Avoid wearing patterns or prints, keep your clothing simple in solid colours. Dont go crazy with the make up, casting professionals want to see you. Adopt a relaxed friendly pose.

Martha recommends: www.davidtettphotography.com

Showreel:

Having a good showreel is the difference between getting that audition or not. A professionally made showreel is absolutely essential.
Your showreel should be approximately 3-4 minutes in length. Show your versatility by having a mixture of your acting clips. If you don’t yet have acting clips to add to it then consider a monologue piece.
Update your showreel regularly. Ensure your contact details are on it.

Martha recommends: www.silvertipfilms.co.uk

Social Networking:

Get involved in the digital stuff. Sometimes companies post auditions via their social networking pages so ensure you have a profile with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and follow relevant companies.

For help with social media, Martha recommends: www.reallybrightmedia.com

Networking:

Attend relevant networking & workshop/seminar events in the acting industry, there are loads of them about. You will meet people & companies that will give you advice and also you can swap tips with other people in the industry.

Martha recommends: The UK Actors Tweetup

The Audition:

Double-check the location of audition the day before and arrive 10 minutes early. Print out your CV and attach your headshot photo securely to it.
Find out all you can about the company and director. Research the role and the character. Lines should be learned. Be the character you are playing. Dress to fit that character.
Don’t pester the company for feedback after your audition – check your mobile & emails regularly and wait for them to contact you. Continue applying for further auditions – perseverance is key – it is a competitive industry so be prepared to work hard to land that role you want.

To find out more visit To Be Seen or follow on Twitter.