Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Short Form Improv Classes

Are you stuck in a long form rut? I'm lucky enough to do both short form and long form improv on a fairly regular basis. Before I moved here, I had only done short form. Then I only did long form for awhile. And slowly short form improv came back into my life and I remembered how much I liked it.

ComedySportz Classes are about to start - teachers are listed here.

Some people have created a feud between the two styles and to them I say- what's the big D? I think learning each style helps the other. You can create art all day long and twice on Sunday, but it's awesome to come up with a 185 joke that kills. I'd like to order a comedy sandwich with two sides- Art Salad and Joke Fries.

Not to mention the fact that if you want to get paid in this town, you better learn some short form games ;)

Friday, February 20, 2009

No, Thank You

As a result of my mailing last Monday, I got a call two days later from an agency to come in for an audish. Awesome! Then they asked me to come in this week with a 2 minute monologue. Ohhhh right, you mean the 2 minute monologue that I should have prepared and ready to go at any time? Opps. I guess I got lucky with the VO agent- they just had me read copy. I must report the truth to my readers. Sometimes (all the time) I need a deadline to get my act together. So, now that I have learned my lesson I am passing it on to you. Get those monologues ready!

I set up a directing session with one of my talented friends, and that gave me an early deadline to meet. With her help, on Sunday we chose a piece and outlined the beats. I crammed for the next 48 hours and went into the agency on Tuesday during the one hour a week that they see new talent. To the best of my recollection, this is what occurred while I was in their office:

I managed to get there a few minutes early and while waiting I overheard the guy who was audishing before me. They were talking about his career and how he had been away from acting for awhile. When they came out of the room, the agent gave him more materials and a copy of their contract.

During this time I was sitting on a chair about 2 feet from them trying not to look like I was watching them. When he left, she turned to me and said "Come on in." After a pause, I introduced myself because she didn't introduce herself.

She asked for a headshot and I said yes, I brought 5 as instructed on the phone. She said she only needed one to start and if we move forward they need more (I could already feel the foreshadowing). We chatted for a few minutes and she asked if I was with any other agencies and I told her about my VO agency.

Then she asked for my monologue. Without butchering any lines, I did one of my better renditions… but she didn't laugh at all. When I was finished, she asked if I sang and had 16 bars prepared. I said no. And she said “OK, thank you.”

And then we stared at each other for a moment.

And then I realized that was it, so I got up and left.

I was pretty sure that she was not interested. The next day I got my SASE back with a form letter that said my category was full, but to resubmit in 6 months.

Overall, it was a tough but good audish experience. I felt that I represented myself the best that I could on that day. I wasn’t paralyzed by nerves and am now going to work more on my monologues. Also, I wore makeup to work so in the end- everybody wins.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Guest Blog

I am loving all of these audish stories! Here's another from an anonymous friend:

Collaboraction Sketchbook Auditions
The set up is this:
A lively celebration of staged theatrical works, music and fine art, SKETCHBOOK is a short play festival like no other. Each year Collaboraction guides more than 200 artists through an exciting collaboration where 10-20 short performances, each seven minutes or less in length, mingle with visual art and music. The SKETCHBOOK Festival is Collaboraction at its best: breaking down the walls that divide theater, music, visual art, video and the Internet, transforming the space into a singular world where audiences can be both spectator and artist, contributing to dynamism of each performance.

As an actor you get the opportunity to work with a lot of people in the field, reviewers are certain to come out, and it adds some "cred" to your resume as a legitimate theater festival in the city. The catch, it's a 20 second audition. Literally 20 seconds. This is my third year doing the Collaboraction auditions.

The first year, I stressed and stressed the week before. What will I do with my 20 seconds. It's so short. How will they know? I have to show them something AWESOME! What's awesome in 20 seconds? WHAT'S AWESOME IN 20 SECONDS??? A joke, a joke is awesome in 20 seconds. What's funny? I just happened to be doing my taxes at the time, when "bing" my taxes are pretty funny. I make no money, write off everything, and pretty much end up a wash. So that's what I did. I read my taxes. It went over. I got two callbacks.

The second year, I was so busy with life, I completely forgot about the audition and never showed up. Which is another good thing about Sketchbook auditions, they are SO fast and they see SO many people, they just don't have time to worry about those who no show. I can't believe I did, it's very unlike me, but it just slipped past me.

This year I signed up, and decided just not to worry about it, I mean 20 seconds. they did amp it up this year though. You got two 20 second slots. One that was supposed to be physical and one that was supposed to be monologue-y. So the night before I was at the theater and I found a headband with antenna on it. I thought those look like a crickets. I can make a cricket noise, and "voila", first 20 seconds. I was a cricket. Then I thought, hey I do improv and I like to sing. I'll just make up a song about someone in the room, second 20 seconds. I made up a song about some guy in the room.

All in all I thought the audition went horribly. I kind of pooped out in the song, didn't get anything to rhyme, started singing in a crazy Texas accent that came from nowhere, maybe sang for 11 seconds. The thought entered my mind, perhaps just perhaps I might have wanted to prep a little more on this part.

My own perceptions aside, I did get a callback. Which I find hilarious, and leaves me with the question: does it really matter what I do? Probably not, just as long as I show up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

ImprovAcadia - Season Six

ImprovAcadia still has some audish slots open - Check it out! I performed there for 2 weeks a few summers ago and it was awesome. Fun shows with lots of music and you're basically on vacation in Maine near a gorgeous national park.

When I auditioned a few years ago I felt there was no way I would even be called back, and even if I was invited I would have to negotiate with my job. So I thought, "No pressure, I'll just try to have fun and maybe they'll remember me next time." Turns out that attitude is the great way to approach auditions. It's a hard thing to do in practice though, as I have experienced audishing for agents or shows I really wanted to be in. I try to remind myself of this every time a tourco audish comes up, and then I end up wearing half a shirt on a bus.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Konfidence is Key

My evil plan is working! Here's a guest blog from K:

I went on a an audition that called for "classical sounding" singers. Which I'm not really, but hell, why not? It was for Christmas songs and I like Christmas! I get there and sing through my accompanied piece (very much not classical) and then started my Christmas Carol a capella as they had asked. I was doing "What Child Is This" but my nerves got in the way of my breath so I sounded like "What chil- (gasp) is thi--(gasp)is who (gasp) laaaaaaaid to ree- (gasp) est" She actually stopped me and said "Don't be nervous. We want you to succeed. Use your full voice." Ouch. It definitely felt like a middle school audition again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Agency Mailing

The post office just announced another increase in postage. Yet another reason to get your buns moving and do an agency mailing!

There are currently a few commercials in rotation that cause me to say "OMG! I know that guy!" I would love for this to happen all the time so I am offering a special quid pro quo deal to Audish readers- I will email you my updated list of AFTRA franchised agencies in exchange for a guest post. This list is in Excel! This list is totes ready for Mail Merge! This list tells you which 3 agencies have online submission!

Wait a freckled frog second, that sounds too nice. What do I have to give you? The complete bare minerals eyeshadow collection?

Dear Reader, all I ask in return is a guest post or story of some kind related to audishes.

Take the needle off the record, that sounds too complicated. Why don't I just go compile the list myself?

On Monday I sent out an agency mailing so my list is totes up to date. I suppose it is up to you to decide which is easier: writing up a fun story or spending hours checking all the addresses and submission guidelines posted on each agency's website.

Leave a comment with your email and I will email you back. I moderate the comments, so don't worry about your email- I won't post it publicly.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I’ve been a little slow on the VO audishes lately so I don’t have many fun stories in that department. Fortunately for all of us I have fabulously talented friends. Molly recently blogged about a relevant topic and has given me permission to share it here:

Just wanted to share a tip. Let me start off by saying this specific tip applies to on-camera auditions only...

I interned at a casting office and sometimes still free-lance there. Recently something came to my attention. A beautiful, slender, statuesque blonde came into the room. She slated her name. The camera pulled out to get a full body shot. I looked at her, oh so pretty. I looked at the monitor. Oh so pretty hair, shirt, nice jeans...Wait.

Is she hiding cankles? She's so tiny. Why on the screen does she look like big-foot? Oh. It's the Ugg boots with the jeans tucked in. They're creating an illusion.

Read the rest

Monday, February 2, 2009

Audish of the Day

Several Really, Really Good-Looking Audish posts on CIN...

pH Productions will be holding Open Call auditions for their 7th season.

And if you are a guy, you can audish for DudeProv legends Mission Improvable Chicago

There's even a real play you can try out for.