Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"What To Know In Your Audition!"

Every now and again, if you put yourself out there, you'll be called to audition for a commercial a tv show or maybe a movie.

A few years ago, it used to be casting directors would open a phone book and call all the clowns to come in. Those clowns would tell their friends and it would be "old home week" when everyone showed up.

What was fun in those days, the actors that didn't know anything about clowns and tried to put on make up were completely intimidated by all of us giving hugs and saying what's up?

Now, it's more of an internet thing and lots of variety performers are a lot more savvy about registering with the casting agencies.

I've been to a lot of auditions in my career. I've taken a lot of classes on the topic of auditioning. I've had an agent forever and my older son auditions for commercials and photo-shoots all the time. So I'm around this stuff quite a bit.

That's my short resume, so I'll let you know what to expect. First off, it's not like a regular job. When I get a call, I have a really good shot of booking the gig. If you get a call from a casting director, it's a one in fifty shot, maybe less but don't call your mother and say, guess what?... You can do that but after you know you got the job or not. Telling your family just causes problems. You'll probably forget about it in a week. They won't, who needs to be reminded you didn't get something? Tell them about the audition after you know. It will be better for your ego.

Camera is a very different medium than what we are used to. So, keep in mind you can't move a lot. You can't look at what's on screen and compare it to how you audition. At the shoot, they will tell you how to move or capture what you do to their liking, that's their job.

The audition, likely, has a camera on a tripod in one spot. They will probably not have your clown shoes in the shot, it will be from your waist up. Try framing that on your own camera, turn the viewer around so you can see how much you can move and still be in the middle of the shot. It's not much.

Do your best to be professional. You can make everyone laugh but take a second to actually answer questions, like "what's your name?"

Auditions, especially the big ones where they are looking at 50 people, are usually 2 minutes long. And it feels very odd to have all that adrenaline and then it's done so quickly. But remember, they have to see a lot of people, it's very draining to look at person after person. Explain what to do, answer the same questions, have a little sympathy for them, be kind.

As far as I can tell there is no particular advantage or disadvantage to going first or last or in the middle. It's a total crapshoot. you just need to do a good job.

A good job means, be positive, keep a big smile on your face, a big smile in your eyes, look into the camera, don't look at the person behind the camera, look right into the lens as if it were a 6 year old. Use the improvisation rule, yes and...that means, if they ask, "have you been a clown for a long time?" Don't say "no, this is my first time..." or "Do you like being a clown" "No, I'd rather be a tuna boat captain"

whatever conversation, keep it forward moving and positive. If they say "how long have you been a clown" You can goof around think about it and say a hundred and twelve years. In dog years seventy. Do you like being a clown? Of course! the only other thing I'm qualified to be is a politician but this has more respect.

Saying yes, leads to other questions, which is your hope. The longer you can stay on camera the better your odds of booking the job.

Bring in a few pictures. Put together a resume. An actors resume has a certain format. There are millions of them online, copy it, keep it to one page. When the casting company looks at hundreds of resumes, they just want to flip through it and be able to read it quickly, too many words slows them down and shows you are not professional. Basically, you performed at Six Flags Amusement park as a clown. Stuff like that. Put specific skills at the bottom. Juggling, magic etc. just list them. If it's needed, they'll ask you to do it or show them.

It's really a fun process. I have actually had a really good time over the years auditioning. I think it's a mini performance. When you can just do well the things you have control over, being on time, looking good, being ready with your pictures, memorizing the lines while you're waiting. Then, the rest is up to them. And who knows why they pick people?

For clowns, it's probably because they have an image in their head. I do a European style clown, so it's a more subtle looking clown. They may want a clown from a faire that is shabby and doesn't look that good. There is probably a joke in there, showing a clown on tv, and that might be funnier.

But if you get a few of these things, it looks pretty good on your resume!

Good Luck!

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