Last weekend I went to the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory’s Summer Intensive. It felt just like camp! I loved it. So much great information. Wonderful people to meet and hear from. Running from class to class. Lunch on the quad….And all the conversations I overheard while walking around. The happy, the hopeful, the determined voice of the actors there. Such a wide range of people too. Those new to the union, vets of the union, “young”, “old”, different types, looks, quirks, etc. All here because we want to learn (well… there were those few who we just looking to get something) but I loved the energy. I didn’t want to go in jaded or cynical like I knew everything. I just wanted to learn more about the business that I want to have a continuing career in.
I think the most important information (or reminders) I took away was
1) Own the role and the room when you walk into an audition.
2) Casting Directors have a tough job! Also, they are human.
I think I’ll start with the second thing first: Casting Directors are people and they work hard. I met with and listened to quite a few panels with casting directors who cast for a wide range of projects. Here are a few of my notes from this weekend on it:
– If you do good work, we’ll find you. Keep doing good work!
– Good work rises to the top.
– You have more power when you are having fun with your audition.
– Your mailings are seen.
– In your reel, show what they might not see in the audition.
– Reel- showcase you doing something great.
– Your picture needs to be on everything. Name and face. Always linked together.
– Show up at callbacks as you did for the first audition.
– Always have your sides with you.
– Do theatre. Casting directors see theatre!
There was quite a bit of notes I took at the panels. Some contradicted each other – which is why it’s important to do your homework. It feel so much easier once you put a face with the name. It was also great to hear that they have pressure to do well also…well not “great” to hear but it helps to know we are all human and we are doing what we love, even when it is tough. It is also important to be aware of the etiquette for staying in touch with casting directors. It’s great to keep it business-like. Good to stay in touch sharing about the latest project you are working on but refrain from sending things “just to say ‘hi'”. I think it’s important to trust in time and letting your career unfold organically. It’s like being in a relationship. You know that forcing things does not end well. I like the idea of sending a postcard or flyer or something announcing your latest work is great to do once a month. It may take a few months for your name and face to start to be recognizable and that’s ok. Keep doing your own projects and getting out there. You’re time will come.
When I went to the SAG-AFTRA new member orientation I heard one speaker say “We’re all in line for the concert, don’t worry you’ll get in as long as you stay in line”. I like that. Trust in the timing to be right.
Ok, so Owning the Role and the Room:
I love that you can do this simply by doing your homework. Read the script or as much as you are given. Read beyond the crossed out part on your sides. Soak in everything. Research the show and find out what style, tone, and timing it has. Make it personal to you. Have a point of view and commit to it. Enjoy the fact that you got called in! That alone is something amazing when you think of the sheer number of submissions casting directors get. This is your time to act. You are doing what you love! All this was reiterated by the casting directors as well as the teachers teaching about auditions.
Another great reminder was to BREATHE! Get connected to yourself, the room, and the people in the room. Your nerves may be nagging so just acknowledge and embrace them. Yes they are there and they are there because you care so much.
There was so much great information and inspiration I walked away with from the summer intensive. I am excited to be involved with the conservatory for Fall/Spring terms as well. Thank you SAG-AFTRA for all your wonderful benefits your provide. I look forward to fully taking advantage of many of your benefits. There is so much there that you provide to help us along our career.
I can’t say enough how great it was to be around all these people. And then starting today I got to talk to my two accountability partners for the Dallas Travers class I’m taking. How wonderful to check in with two really great girls who are also on their way to making this a life long career.
I’m so inspired to not rush to the finish line but take it slow and steady and for the long haul.
Have a lovely week everyone!