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Posts Tagged ‘Mamet’

On The Audition Process

January 29th, 2012 No comments

I don’t know how other directors approach this. Especially, I don’t know how big budget productions approach this. So all this post is SWIMMING in my personal opinion. Which is worth what you make it.

  1. Read the production details. If I’m auditioning for a theatre project, you saying how you want to expand your film experience is not going to fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
  2. If you book, then call or email if you’re not going to be able to make it. Emergencies might make this impossible, in which case you should do it after. If you never call, maybe because you think that non-paying productions don’t matter, just remember that the arts are a mobile world, and the production staff working on that non-paying small theatre project might someday be seeing your name coming across the table on a well-paying TV or film project.
  3. Some directors might like pushy actors. I don’t. If I don’t contact you to offer an audition, then don’t pester me to get one. It doesn’t impress me very much. Unless you’re Christopher Plummer or Eric Peterson, in which case I would write back, “Dear sir, thank you for asking for an audition, but this is a non-paying, non-union production. Might I have your autograph anyway?”
    (This probably breaks down in the film world, at least at the Hollywood level, where A-list actors can and do approach directors. Again, I’m talking about my opinions.)
    (This also breaks down if I know you, but in that case, you will be getting an e-mail before I start the audition process where I mention I’d like you to come out and read. There is also a personal relationship built up beforehand. Very important.)
  4. Introducing yourself, because sometimes the production team zones out after being on their butts behind a table for hours at a time.
  5. Realize that, like Mamet says, auditions and callbacks are a deeply flawed process. but until you are part of the acting arm of a production company or running your own production company, they are what we are stuck with. So roll with the patent absurdities embedded in the process and remember your job at the audition is to make yourself shine.

All my own opinion.

Categories: Directing, Philosophy Tags: ,

The Audition, From Both Sides

June 22nd, 2011 No comments

Obviously, I thought, as I headed out last night from the audition room, my audition skills have atrophied quite a bit.

I mean, I agree with Mamet. The classical audition process is flawed. It’s not good for the actors, and it’s not really good for directors either. It’s best to do your own work and self-produce.

Having said that, it’s a necessary evil if you want to work. I don’t like it as a director, and I loathe it as an actor.

Of course, I would loathe it less as I continue auditioning on the actor side and get those old skills back. But even when I was doing it regularly, I was all “Cripes, another one of these again.” (I kept these thoughts to myself and banished them on the audition day, of course.)

You spend a lot of energy memorizing and picking out the action and emotional parts in a script, then you do it for two minutes, then maybe you get to read a side, maybe not, then you go home and nine times out of ten, you never hear back from the production company.

And don’t get me started on cattle call auditions. Space costs money to rent, and they’re the most efficient way to see actors. I’d type more, but this is an R-rated blog.

That’s why it’s nice to direct a few times. I’ve built up a small roster of actors that I can call up and say, “Hey, I’m directing <x>, you should come out and audition.” Unless I’m self-producing, then I can just cast them. Less frustration = more energy for play.

More Name Dropping

September 20th, 2008 No comments

And then I get on with my own original thoughts. Won’t that be a nice change?

David Mamet. Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him. In my opinion, Bambi vs. Godzilla and True and False are must reads for anyone who wants to be an actor.

Why? Because they tell the truth of how the industry works. And they also tell you that as an actor, you are more precious than we sometimes like to believe after getting turned down at audition after audition.

Mamet rocks.

Categories: Acting, Books Tags: