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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some acting news...

I mentioned on my website that I am also a professional actor (member of AEA and SAG) and have been working pretty steadily since moving to NYC 2 years ago. Normally I would not post personal stories on this blog, but I've has a great week and I feel like it might offer some inspiration, proving that when you have a handle on the business side, there are times when things just fall into place...

On Monday, I feverishly prepared for the final class of a 4-week workshop with casting director Jamibeth Margolis. The final week is structured as a “mock audition”: Jamibeth assigned each of us a show based on our type and abilities (mine was The Pajama Game)- it was our job to research the show and decide which character we would be right for, then 1) prepare a song in the style of the show (but not from the show) to use as an audition piece, 2) learn a song or two by that character and be prepared to sing them if asked, 3) bring your audition book in case you are asked to sing anything else, and 4) bring in your headshot/resume and dress the part. We would come in to be evaluated by Jamibeth (casting), plus an agent and a musical director. The auditions were to last about 10-15 minutes depending on how many songs they had you do, and they warned us that they may give us immediate feedback and have us do the songs again. Detailed feedback would be given at the end of the class once everyone was done doing their audition.

I was absolutely thrilled with the process. This workshop didn't really focus on how to be a better singer or actor, but it focused thoroughly on what it takes to do well in the audition room, which is all business. They gave feedback on what we were wearing, how we entered the room, how we approached the accompanist, how our headshot/resume represented us, and gave feedback on how well we were able to tell a story in 32-50 bars of music. It really was amazing, and happily I got great feedback from beginning to end. I also got some great constructive feedback on what to do differently, and I look forward to putting it into action next time around.

Tuesday evening I got a call from Michael Cassara Casting, asking me to come to audition for a lead role in a show in the New York Musical Theater Festival. I have auditioned for Michael twice before (the first time at an EPA, the 2nd at an audition he asked me to come in to) so it was great to be called in again. Before we got off the phone, Michael said something incredible, "I really appreciate the notes you've been sending to keep me updated." 'Notes' being the thank-you postcards I send after every audition and meeting, and the monthly postcards I sent updating my contacts about my progress. What a validation for all of the marketing work I have been doing! (As I am writing this, I discovered something else about the postcards- had I not sent Michael my postcard stating that I was looking for new representation, Michael would have called my old agent and not me!) The audition went well on Wednesday afternoon. I left feeling like I had delivered for Michael and given them everything I had- now it was up to them to decide whether I was the right fit for the production. When you are as prepared as you can be, there can’t be any worries. Once I deliver a prepared audition, there is nothing left to be done- I know that I have done my job. Onwards and upwards.

The icing on the cake this week is that I got a call from the agent from Monday’s workshop, asking me to come in for a meeting next Monday. The great thing is that one hurdle has been jumped already- they have seen me perform 3 songs, they know I am direct-able, they know that I am easy to work with because he saw my audition process from beginning to end and saw me accept feedback easily. So now it is just a matter of finding out if our philosophies match, and if we think it would be a good partnership.

The moral of the story? This business is all about relationships, and marketing is all about maintaining the relationships. Get into class and work hard on your skills. Don't take for granted the relationships you are making with everyone around you. And most of all, have fun! Life is much better when you do...

Have a great weekend!

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