“Oh my god I love your accent. What is it like to be an English actor over here?”
It wasn’t until my most recent trip to Los Angeles that I became very aware of what the differences actually are between auditioning (and the acting industry) in the UK and the US.
As I have progressed as an actor, I have listened to a range of opinions on what it is like to work in the United States. Having felt like I had heard them all, I embarked on a pre-pilot season trip, jammed pack with some very exciting meetings, to relieve my curiosity.
You may, or may not be aware, but something that is very common with American actors is their commendable and continuous training and preparation. It is not uncommon for managers to run mock auditions, in advance of the actual audition, and many performers have a booking coach and an acting coach to get you ready for when your pivotal opportunity of an audition arises. This is the solid groundwork that goes in, even before the audition comes up.
Something that is very common with American actors is their commendable and continuous training and preparation
So my audition arrives…
Traveling to auditions is adventurous as a non-native: sitting on the opposite side of the car and driving on the opposite side of the road, navigating freeways and being allowed to turn right on a red light. Plus their parking has more rules than a game monopoly. Sometimes they even close roads to move space shuttles – only in LaLaLand. I think it was the only time in my life when I have yearned for the straightforward familiarity of double yellow lines. Due to the vast nature of the land you car also becomes your condo.
And then you rock up. (Punctually and preened to perfection – it’s Hollywood darling.)
There is a sign-in sheet. You wait your turn and remember the name before. If you want to know where the toilet is, this = restrooms, and to get rid of any rubbish, ask for the trash can.
And you audition (With your flawless American accent).
And this is where the differences came to a halt. On examining and reviewing the process in more depth, having initially thought that it might be worlds apart, my conclusion is this: the essence is the same.
Much like the UK, auditioning in the US is dependent on how well you look the other person in the eye and tell the truth.