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Dear West End Producer: ‘What’s the absolute biggest no-no to avoid during an audition?’

West End Producer West End Producer Photo: Matt Crockett
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It’s generally a good idea to keep your pants on during an audition – the unnecessary removal of underwear can distract even the most focused casting director from the song you are performing. I would say that is one of the biggest no-nos in an audition even if you have cleverly shaped your pubic hairs to look like your headshot.

On top of this, there are obviously many other things that should be avoided, from getting too close to the panel to refusing to leave when we don’t ask for a second song.

An audition can be a very painful procedure for both parties, but if the actors behave and don’t ask too many questions the whole thing is a lot easier.

So here is a list for you to rip out and keep on your person for all future auditions, castings and private sessions in Grindrod’s office:

• Don’t turn up smelling of alcohol. Even if it’s your birthday.

• Never answer your phone mid-speech.  Unless it’s your agent. They could be offering you a better audition than the one you’re currently in.

• Don’t slag off other directors or companies you have worked for. Inevitably, those you are auditioning for will know them well.

• Never say ‘see you later’ at the end of your audition – because chances are you won’t.

• Kissing or hugging the panel is a big no. It makes the panel feel harassed and violated, and can result in restraining orders, making it difficult to get future auditions.

• Never sing Stars, Corner of the Sky, Memory or Home (from Beauty and the Beast). We have been forced to listen to so many painful renditions of these that I start bleeding internally whenever I hear the opening chords.

• It’s not necessary to perform your songs or speeches really loudly – especially if the audition is in a small room. Use common sense and judge what is needed for each audition accordingly.

• Saying ‘scene’ at the end of your speech does not make you look professional. It makes you look ridiculous.

• If you can’t hit the notes, don’t sing the song. An audition is not a competition to see how many vocal cords you can snap.

• Have your sheet music taped together and any cuts clearly marked. The accompanist is not a mind reader and will just follow what’s written.

• Generally it’s a good idea to avoid bringing difficult Jason Robert Brown or Sondheim songs. The pianist simply may not be able to play them.

• Don’t lie about past jobs or credits on your CV.

• Never ask about money in an audition. These things will be sorted through your agent if you get offered the job.

• Don’t present a piece of tightly rehearsed choreography during your song. We want to hear your voice – not see your splits. That’s what the dance call is for.

Finally: no ripped jeans and open shirts please. You may have a nice six-pack and lovely tanned knees but this is not Love Island, dear.

Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer

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