Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Auditions Are Like Sex.

 ... Your first time is probably going to suck.
Mine did.
My first audition, get your head out of the gutter.(The gutter in which I placed it.)
And do it quickly, Tim Curry's down there.

First of all, let me give you a bit of a background on me, partly because it will help in my narrative and partly because everyone else did it and I like conforming.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be three things in life: an author, an actor, and a pirate. I was a pretentious, annoying youth, and more than anything else, I wanted attention. Constantly. Writing was one way to get it- it wasn't normally something adults expected kids to do, so I did it constantly and shoved it in peoples faces. I liked doing it, I guess, but it was mostly so people would go, "Oh, look at that amazing girl, she wrote a short story, lets all shower her with praise!" I didn't start being passionate about writing until I discovered scriptwriting (which is a story for another day, which I'm probably never going to write about, so suck it.) Acting fell in the same vein: it was basically an excuse to have a bunch of people stare at you, and I loved it. I did some crappy elementary school plays (and felt smugly superior than everyone else because I knew my lines and they didn't), but mainly, I wanted to be in movies, so I could be famous.
Then middle school and early high school happened, and those years sucked for basically everyone so I don't need to elaborate, but it ended up strengthening my desire, because coming out of it, I wanted nothing more than to be loved by millions of people, and have people want to be around me. So I took theatre.
 I first auditioned for something during my Sophomore year of high school, and Christ, was I scared. I had no idea what to expect, all I had was the knowledge that soon, I would be judged, and the fate of my new-found theatre life depended on their judgements. And that wasn't the only thing freaking me out: My brother was already a big star, who had a leading role in the earlier musical, so it was absolutely great having that to live up to. Adding to it, I worshiped all of the people in the Theatre Company, and was mildly terrified of all of them. But with a bit of bravery and some friendly forcing from my brother, I went to the workshop to see what the show would be (doodle-doo, deedle-dee).

The play my school was doing was Julius Caesar.

Well, FUCK. That's welcoming! "Welcome to your first audition, here's some SHAKESPEARE," the teacher seemed to say, in the steely look in his eye and the way he towered over me. (Of course, almost everyone towers over me, since I'm about 5 foot 4 and everyone I know is freakishly tall. But he is the toweringest.) Basically, for the audition, we prepared one of the monologues from the packet we were given (they didn't have to be memorized, just prepared, so I made a punch of random annotations and notes on how to read it and then disregarded them the moment I actually read it), walked across the suddenly-gigantic Black Box to the table where the drama teacher and his associates were seated, and read the monologue you prepared.
Except for three teachers, who sit there and watch you. Judging.
I guess I could have found a picture of an actual audition ,but fuck it. Unrelated: Have you seen the Star Wars documentary, when they're talking about casting the people, and the guy who played C3PO is being all weird and saying that the picture of C3PO "just called out to him?" I love that.

Of course, I know now that these three teachers are actually quite charming people, and I shouldn't be frightened of them unless I'm a troublemaker or a complete moron, which I'm arguably not. But at the time, these were three teachers that I didn't really know too well (and therefore assumed didn't like me because I was sort of stupid that way), who currently had complete control over how my life was going to unfold. I was fucking terrified, of them and auditioning.
My brilliant strategy, after making a few offhand jokes to pretend I'm not scared at all, of course not, who me, was to stare at a random point at the wall intensely (obviously not because I was scared, no, that would be silly, I just really like walls, walls are the best) and quickly mumble out the monologue, and then run away.
I didn't make call-backs, surprising no one.
 But on a surprising note, the next day during my drama class, the teacher approached me and asked me if he wanted his feedback on my audition (knowing full well I was way too much of a coward to ask him anything). He told me that I was very quiet, and they couldn't hear half of it- but he understood that I was terrified, and suspected that given the chance, I could do better. So I ended up in a chorus role (with one line!) due to my teachers believe that, despite my awful audition, I had potential.
My Drama teacher is awesome. Did I mention that? Go back and re-read this entire post with that knowledge, I'll wait.

Now, looking back and being able to see how truly horrible that audition was, I'm not sure why he felt the need to give me a chance. Maybe he was basing it off my classwork. Maybe he assumed that since my brother was fantastic, I might take after him at least a little. Maybe he has magical powers that let him see the future. Because I did keep auditioning. I got a few chorus roles in the mini-musicals later in the year, and the next year, I made it into the elite group for writers and got two featured roles in the mini-musicals. And I can confidently say, that without theatre, I wouldn't have survived high school. (I might speak too soon, though.)
So yeah, my first audition sucked, and I was terrified, and I felt a bit like shit when I didn't make callbacks, even though I didn't think I was going too anyway. (Hope is a bitch.) And maybe you feel that way too.
But think of sex. (That's my advice for a lot of things.) Yeah, the first time is probably going to suck, and you might be a little terrified, but you need to get it over with so that you can start slutting it up at local bars.
Get over this...

To get to this.*

 If you're scared, don't let that stop you from auditioning.
If your first audition sucked, don't let that stop you from auditioning again.
And if you have to read a Shakespeare monologue, it helps to cry under your bed in the fetal position. Don't worry, no one else understands it either, we're all just faking it.

*This is a lie. Neither relationships or auditioning will ever be like this. it will always be the first one. you just get used to it.

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