What do you do if you have to learn 2 speeches, a song, be familiar with 70 pages of script and work on it for 5 days and then you aren’t even asked to read from the script? Or sing? 😂 asking for a friend ha ha
— Michael Luxton (@JefferyCupcakes) November 19, 2019
You get angry! There’s nothing wrong with feeling upset and annoyed if you’ve spent hours, days, even weeks preparing for an audition, only to go in and not get the opportunity to show your work. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be.
I would suggest printing headshots of the people auditioning you, put them on the floor, and jump and stamp on them (or pee on them – whichever you find the most comforting). This whole ritual is very therapeutic. I did exactly that to an Andy Lloyd Webber photo when he refused to write the music for my new bus-based musical ‘National Express’.
However, I admit it, sometimes it can be the producer’s fault, getting our casting directors to send out lots of material, only to realise there isn’t enough time in the auditions. So I’m as guilty as any. And I will make a pledge right here – whenever I get my team to send out material for actors to work on, I will make sure they perform everything they’ve prepared. It’s only fair. And it’s time this became commonplace.
That’s why I’m starting the new
So what would this require? Well, it would need casting teams to be more vigilant about what and who they send material to and be more specific about what the word ‘preparation’ means. If you’re required to just familiarise yourself with something, then producers should make that obvious so you don’t have to waste precious time learning everything. Besides, an audition is not a memory exercise (well to some directors it is… dear).
Also, we’ll take into account how many days you’ve had the material, and if you have less time than others, we’ll make sure the whole panel knows.
We should also send out backing tracks of songs and recordings of relevant harmonies you need to sing – that way you know exactly what’s expected of you without forking out £50 to get a pianist to plonk it out for you. It’s just about being more helpful during the whole audition process.
I’ll be honest, if I was on an audition panel and an actor said we hadn’t listened to everything they’d prepared, I’d appreciate it and insist they go through it all. I know it’s a rather brave thing for a performer to do, but I for one would hugely admire them for it.
Yes, there are times when we’re not sure what part you’re right for, so we send lots of material out, but in those instances, I would never expect you to learn everything. This is just to give us more of an idea about what role suits you best. Never be ashamed of holding the script or songs in your first audition (although please be sure to have learned them by your 10th recall, dear).
So there you have it, dear. A new campaign – the #YouSentItSoYouHavetoListentoIt movement has begun. Good god. What have I started?