By: Blogger Sarah duRivage-Jacobs, follow her on Twitter @sdurivagej
Sarah is a New York based actress who hails from a small hippie town right outside of DC. She received her undergraduate training at Towson University and continued her training at T. Schreiber Studio in New York City. She also studied improv at the People’s Improv Theatre. Favorite roles include Marcy in “Dog Sees God,” April in “Hot L Baltimore,” and Sunny in “Attempted Harmonies,” which is currently vying for the top spot at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Winter One Act Festival.
Unless you’re the poster child for calmness and unwavering confidence, auditioning is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences. The circumstances are totally inorganic and you’re forced to seem likable and talented in five minutes or less. In my experience there are the really good auditions and then the REALLY bad ones. In the end, all you have control over is your performance.
My favorite audition horror story took place soon after I moved to New York. I’ll leave out the names and locations, but suffice it to say I wasn’t auditioning for something glamorous. It was a vulgar – and not in a good way – sketch comedy show in midtown. The audition involved a cold read of a monologue from the show. I felt totally fine about my audition and actually ended up getting cast. The horror part of this story actually came on opening night. Outside of the theatre, they had posted our headshots on a board. Mine was slightly dog-eared, so I took it upon myself to replace it with a crisp one. When I removed my headshot, I saw that there was writing on the back. And then I read what it said: “Not very pretty, kind of boring.”
As you can well imagine, I freaked out. While I knew the production was abysmal – and my friends confirmed this – I couldn’t believe the Casting Director had written such a thing on my headshot during my audition (never mind the fact that it was written on a headshot that was displayed!). I was furious and nearly couldn’t do the show. But after I thought about it for a while, I realized how absurd the whole thing was. The comments were not nice, but – and let’s be real here – they could’ve been so much worse. I actually feel that the Casting Director lacked conviction because she couldn’t even present an extreme point of view. How sad for her.
All horror stories must come with a lesson, and my lesson is this: haters gonna hate!
All you can do is show up and do your best. Casting Directors have strong opinions about those auditioning because it is their job. What they say – and this isn’t necessarily an easy thing to remember – has no bearing on your ability or your value. Just do your job and hope for the best. They WANT you to succeed! I, on the other hand, now have an excellent title for my future memoir. Thanks sketchy Casting Director!
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