Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lessons Learnt While Holding Auditions: Part One

Once upon a time, over the long weekend in May, Twenty-Something Theatre held auditions for the upcoming summer production of Blue Surge. Leading up to this I handled the incoming submissions of resumés, booked audition slots, and did my best to confirm the slots with everyone in advance. This was my first time at an audition as a non-auditionee (is that a word?) and I definitely took some experience away with me.

At 9:45 am, Day 1 of auditions, I met up with Sabrina at the Alliance for Arts and Culture to set up for the first audition at 10:10. Sabrina would audition everyone, and I would sign them in as they arrived. 10:10 came and went. Person 1 was a no-show. Same with Persons 2 and 3. Seriously, the first three people of the day were M.I.A. – 2 of whom had confirmed with me in advance. Really, Vancouver? I have to say I was pretty unimpressed by that.

Now who knows, maybe there were extenuating circumstances. I’d be willing to try and give them the benefit of the doubt but unfortunately they weren’t the only ones who didn’t show. Over the 2 days of auditions other people followed suit – and most of them confirmed with me that they would be coming.

Okay, I know it was a long weekend and maybe a getaway was spontaneously planned. That’s great, but at least drop a quick e-mail to say you’re no longer able to come. I mean that’s the least you could do, right?

Remember, it’s not just your time we’re talking about here. It’s Sabrina’s time. She was expecting you (and sitting by herself in a windowless room, poor thing!). It was my time. I spent a decent chunk of time going through all the submissions and accommodating specific requests. I also spent time trying to touch base with everyone and verify whether they were still coming. It was also the time of someone else who could have had that spot in your place. Frankly, deciding to blow off an audition like that is rude and wasted our time.

We remember your names too, and honestly it’s not the best impression to give people before they even meet you. How do you expect to be taken seriously?

I hate to sound so scolding but I really expected more professionalism from actors in Vancouver. Step up because I know you can do better! I got to sit in on the call backs (more on that in my next post) so I know there’s lots of talent in this city. Don’t ruin it for yourselves by getting a bad reputation. If you’ve changed your mind about going to an audition, really that’s fine. Please just have the courtesy to let the people who are expecting you know. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way.

Before I end, just a couple of other things I noticed leading up to the auditions:

- When you submit your resumé online try to send it as a PDF if you can. If you’ve done some fancy formatting to condense it on one page it may not look the same when it’s opened on another computer. Sending a PDF ensures that the version you’ve worked so hard to make neat and tidy is what gets seen. I saw several resumés that looked all over the place and I doubt they were intended to look that way.

- If there’s a specific audition date or time you’d like, try to say it in your original e-mail. I’m happy to oblige, but it’s a lot easier to arrange as the schedule’s being created rather than after it’s done. The earlier you can let someone know what time you need, the better.

- That said, please don’t e-mail me at 9 pm the night before your audition to change your time, and then get frustrated with me when I don’t respond that night. I happened to be at work and didn’t get your e-mail until the 9 am the next day, at which time I re-booked your audition.

Many, many thanks and well done to all those who auditioned! We had an excellent turnout. Further lessons were learnt during the callbacks and casting, but more on that in my next post.

~Sarah MacKay
Associate Producer

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