#42 The Room Where It Happens

Uncategorized/January 24, 2020

The days leading up to an audition period heralds that time old tradition of a bursting inbox full of requests to audition. Good on them for having the chutzpah to do it. Back in the stone age when I danced I did exactly the same thing – except then an ‘e mail’ was a concept only talked about on Tomorrow’s World!  Instead I would dig out my typewriter and send letters to any creative that would listen begging for an audition. Rather than sitting back and expecting the world to come to them I wholeheartedly respect everyone who takes the time to write. One question that keeps coming up from them is how does one set about getting an audition?

Unless you have a solid CV full or credits, trained at at a top college or something unique and individual on your Spotlight link it is hard to get through the door. As the choreographer on a show I don’t make the decision who auditions, every show will have a casting director who’s unenviable job is to whittle down the thousands of applicants to mere hundreds for the panel to see. Will some people miss out who should have been seen? Undoubtably. Therefore how do you maximise the chances of getting in the room where it happens?!

I think your CV and photo need to have some element of individuality. There are thousands of people who look the same, have similar skill sets and on paper little unique about them. When I teach I say to students it is fundamental that you know what your ISP is. Now without channeling The Apprentice too much it means your Individual Selling Point. As in what makes you different from the next person. Going back to the days I danced (before electricity) I knew exactly what my ISP was, my place in a show was to understudy the funny guy, therefore I always chose a funny song to audition with and made sure I looked suitably quirky. I know I was never going to be a leading man, I knew what I could and couldn’t do. I was realistic, in this business a good and honest knowledge of your skill set is vital. 

Also no matter how talented you are not every person is right for every job.

So my advice is celebrate your individuality and somehow via your CV and photo highlight whatever your ISP is .. oh and be honest and sparing with the *Special Skills on Spotlight! There was one rather toe curling audition for a show which heavily featured banjos (!) where one man was brought in because of his *Highly Skilled banjo special skill … One should ask oneself , am I really high skilled at (insert skill)?!!!! The poor Banjo mans fate was sealed when asked to demonstrate on one we had in the room! I’m pretty sure he did NOT want to be in the room where it happens that day! Interestingly his CV was submitted to me recently and I see he’s now wisely edited it! We all make mistakes, I was once advised to put *Highly Skilled at horse riding as there was a commercial casting that required it. The fact that the nearest I’d ever been to the life of a jockey was a donkey ride at Weston Super-Mare in 1984 didn’t seem to phase my then agent! Needless to say I no longer list it!

To all of you auditioning or indeed fighting to get an audition I salute you .

Remember no one is you and that is your power.



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