Hey guys, I figured I'd jump on these boards and start looking around; while I was at it, I thought I'd share my experiences today.
First, a bit about me. I'm a high school senior from Poway, California, a middle-class suburb of San Diego. I've been acting for six years, but only started getting leads the last three, and that's almost entirely through the school's theater department. I'm headed off to Chapman University as a theater major next year, so I figured I'd try out for a local summer show to dip my feet in and escalate my game. Unfortunately, I underestimated what I was up against.
The Venue: Moonlight Theater in Vista, CA
The Shows: Legally Blonde and Fiddler on the Roof
I went in nervous as hell, because the caliber of talent (and sheer number of auditions) there was waaaaaay over my head. Equity actors all over the place, graduates from Pace and Emerson and NYU, road warriors who've worked from New York to Seattle to LA. Despite feeling good about my performance of my meager little 32-bar cut, I was quickly told that I wouldn't be receiving a callback. Guess my type just didn't fit, or my resume didn't hold up to the other 500+ contenders.
Now, my question is: Are there just "days like this", or is it really next-to-impossible for a high school kid to break in? I'm sure there will be opportunities in the future as I continue my education, but I've been working in a bubble, and I honestly had no idea things were gonna be this rough in the "real world."
Most of the time, the answer will be "no." (No answer, no callback is still a no.)
You do it for the love. It is a journey, full of deserts, mountains and some lovely green grass.
Don't worry about anyone else. Don't downplay your skills, age or abilities. You need to be your best cheerleader no matter what. Keep auditioning, always be training, always be believing. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.
Break legs. I was one of the 500, member of AEA, and I also didn't receive a callback. For me it's an opportunity to get in front of new directors, hand out some headshots/resumes (marketing, networking) and have fun with my selection.
Don't forget why they call it a 'play.'
By the way..not getting called back does not mean you were a 'flop.'
Perhaps you had the wrong color hair, or were too tall, or, or, or....most of the time it's not your talent. I have friends who have been on Broadway many time over who go for a long time with no work and no callbacks.
The only failure is not to try.
I've told my daughter that that's what counts. To me, a good audition is one where you go in and you're at your absolute best, delivering a performance that's worthy of your talents, and you feel good about it afterward. If that's what you did, then it absolutely was NOT a "flop" by any means.
As everyone else said, auditioning is a numbers game; SO many actors audition for a role that it's hard even to get a callback. And so often it IS a matter of looks, type, whatever.
The good thing is that you had a chance to show your stuff for casting directors, who may keep you in mind for other projects, and you did your best work. That's all that matters.
Good luck in future!
In my world (broadcasting) auditions often turn out to be more than just a quick read of copy for a producer or manager--it can be a live program sent out on the air over an entire market area, where thousands of people can hear you flop or soar. First try years ago was a flopperoo, a newscast filled with the flubs of a nervous 18 year old, at 9 AM on a weekday morning. Fortunately my second one a few months later turned out a lot better and got my my first fulltime gig. (I ended up working for the same station where I'd previously flubbed it, just a few years later, when the news director heard me live on another station and offered me a job over the phone without even a formal interview...so first impressions CAN be overcome.)
Favorite audition? A two hour long live over-the-air audition for a position as host of a daily radio talk show on a station in a market of a little over a million people. It was fun--the guests were great, the callers lively, everything clicked. Next day I got a call from the powers that be, with the words I'd hoped to hear..."How soon can you start?" The following week, as it turned out...and I'm still there today, 25 years later..same time, same station.
Nearly all days are like this in this profession. So, love auditioning for auditioning's sake. Treat it as free training and an opportunity to perform in front of an audience (ie, the ones watching your audition). Embrace the "no"s with open arms. "No" is the majority of this job. But their number is finite. So get out there and start getting them out of the way. Be happy for each "no", because it brings you closer to the next "yes". Never count on getting any one particular job. Do the audition and then forget about it, confident that the "yes"es exist -- you just don't know yet which jobs they're for.
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