This one goes out to all those actors attending large combined auditions this season. Whether a summer stock/educational theater type gathering (i.e.Strawhats, NETC, SETC, Midwest Theatre auditions) or a regional theater consortium (i.e. Unifieds, StageSource, etc.) these large auditions can be a fabulous opportunity to make an impression and begin relationships with several theaters, casting offices or productions companies at once.
How you make the most of an audition like this is up to you, but I’d love to share an outline of the process I use with my power group clients. When followed completely, these steps have led to dozens of bookings and callbacks.
Research (8-10 weeks before audition)
Once you’ve decided on which audition you will be attending, and have registered, determine if a list of attending producers is available. Who will be there? If a list is not available, is there one from the previous year? Begin to research each company- check out their website. What shows/projects are in their upcoming season? Do a few companies stand out as specific to your skill set and current level? Do you have relationships with any company? Do you know someone who may be able to introduce you ahead of time, or whose name you may be able to mention in a callback situation. Create a target list of the companies you’d specifically like to begin relationships with. This research may continue through the next couple months as more info (i.e. season announcements) become available.
Preparation (4-8 weeks before audition)
Based on your research, decide on an audition piece(s) that will showcase you in the best light possible. If a company is producing a play that house your dream role? Find a piece that that play and stand out! Brief comedic pieces typically work best on these busy auditions days. Work your pieces with an acting coach (I have some availability if you're looking for a coach), and make a plan to perform your audition piece(s) for several small audiences (handfuls of friends/family) before audition day. Is the audition time? If so, be time be sure to make proper cuts so you are well under the time limit. If callbacks take place on the day of, be sure to have a range of back-up monologues/songs ready to go. If you are a dancer or move well decide on fab dancewear, and jump into class, if you're not in one already.
Postcard Reachout (2-4 weeks)
Now that your audition pieces are ready to go and you are clear on which companies you’d like to pursue, reach out to the companies on your target list with a brief postcard introducing yourself (I like the TouchNote app ), your website (if you have one), and what day/time they can expect you at the audition (i.e. “I look forward to auditioning for you at UPTAs in Chicago on Thursday afternoon, January 27.”)
Ensure a full night’s sleep the night before the audition, then begin your day bright & early. Make time to fit in a quick workout (if your audition is not super early). Complete a full physical & vocal warm-up before you arrive at the audition site. Bring healthy snacks, water and whatever positively fuels you- maybe headphones & music that pumps you up and cools you down. If callbacks are a possibility at this audition be sure to bring several headshots, resumes and other promotional materials you might like to share. Bring something to take notes in, as you’ll want to remember actors, directors, volunteers and producers you meet. Check-in well in advance of your audition time, and do whatever you need to ground yourself. Deliver your audition with the best of who you are. If callbacks come up that day, remember “they already like you!”
Follow-Up (1-3 days after audition)
Be sure to follow-up on any callbacks you may have received as well as any companies on your target list with a heartfelt hand-written thank-you note. As you build an Industry Contact List, be sure to include the directors, producers, casting professionals you met at this audition and loop them into future updates you send out.
You've got this! Break a leg and let us know how it goes :) Head on over to the #GlobalActors FB Community and fill us in.
With Joy & Inspiration ~ Elise
This question pops up in my coaching sessions time and again.
So here’s my take…
For those not familiar: an EPA [Equity Principal Audition] is an audition open to Actors Equity members, providing the opportunity for an Equity (union) actor to be seen by a regional theater, Off-Broadway or Broadway production. Equity Membership Candidates (EMC) may also participate if time permits. Non-union actors may or may not be seen depending on time or management.
I have had success in these auditions and I have heard crickets chirp.
In the past I too waited all day as an EMC member, and as a non-union actor was sometimes turned away after a four-hour bus trip. I have also found joy when receiving a callback for a national tour or booking a regional production via this route. My hope is that the following guidelines may help you in making the choice “to go” or “not to go”.
If you’re unrepresented…
This may be the only opportunity you have to audition for an Equity company or production. It is likely that agent appointments take precedence and may have more decision makers in the room (compared to some EPA rooms where one casting assistant is in the room fulfilling the requirement or sifting through headshots). However, if you are unrepresented, the EPA could be your only opportunity to be seen. So in this case, I say GO FOR IT—go to the EPA!
If you are PERFECT for the role/show…
Let me give you an example. I have performed in a couple regional productions of AVENUE Q and would LOVE to be seen for the ongoing production at New World Stages. If I am unable to schedule an audition appointment through an agent, I will hit the EPA. What have I got to lose?
If there is a dream role or show for which your skills are a perfect match, you owe it to that production team to go in there and show your your best work. I say GO FOR IT!
If you are nurturing a specific relationship with someone in the room (casting director, producer, composer, etc)…
Do you know one of the decision makers in the room? The EPA would be a great way to say “hi” and give them an update of what you are up. GO FOR IT!
If the audition is outside of NYC or LA…
If you live or work in a market outside of NYC or LA, the EPA may be worth your time. Some regional theaters do not even hold auditions in NY or LA so their local EPA is the only audition available—chances will likely be in your favor. On the other hand, a company may only be holding local EPAs as a contract requirement, and may be fully cast, have a resident company or hire exclusively from NY & LA.
Do your research. Ask around. Check the breakdown for specific roles available. It may not be worth your time to drive from DC to VT for a local EPA, if they are only seeking understudies—or it might… For me, it would have to be a dream role and/or a director, producer, etc. who I am in relationship with in in order for my travel (time & money) to be worth it.
As with all auditions, the audition is only a piece in the puzzle. It is up to you to be prepared, follow-up and nurture relationships with the decision-makers in the room, and at the end of the day LET IT GO.
For more on nurturing relationships, check out this previous post.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your experience with EPAs below.
the global actor