Published on May 18th, 2010 | by Biz Books
Guest Post: “From Behind the Table: General Auditions Part 2C – The Interview” by Jack Paterson
“The people you’re auditioning for want you to succeed. They are hoping that you’ll be great. They are on your side, and many of them have been through what you’re going through… After your audition, go for coffee and forget it.” Robert Metcalfe, Artistic Director, Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg)
So you’ve done your monologues. Your heart is pounding. Your brain is going “oh my god I hope they didn’t notice that or this” or “I hope they liked it” and everything in you is crying for you to flee the room and then somebody says “pull up a chair, tell us a little about yourself.”
Take a breath.
Remember we are here for you. This is an opportunity for you to hang out with people in the same craft as you. It’s a chance for you to get to know us as well as for us to know you. It actually can be quite fun.
Questions to be ready for:
Tell us a little about yourself…
This question is asked a lot. This is not meant to be a personal question, but a way into conversation. Think of something light that you enjoyed and are open to talking about (Have you been on a trip lately?) – if you can’t think of anything see the next question.
Are you doing anything at the moment?
If you are doing a show, then this is a great moment to share some positive things that are going on in the production. If you’re not, what classes are you taking? Side projects? or plays that you are reading that excite you? What have you seen recently that excites you?
No matter where you are in life you are always doing something that supports your craft. A reply can start something like “I’ve been taking the time to see a lot of plays lately and..” or “I’ve been concentrating on reading scripts…”.
Do you have any questions for us?
This is a chance for you to start a segment of the conversation. Truth be told, it rarely works as the actor usually just wants to get the hell out of there. If you feel up to it, try and ask something about them that interests you artistically. This is about supporting them or showing an interest in their product. It is not about sucking up.
The Big Don’t!
I hate to say it but I’ve done it, people have done it in my audition and I’ve had it done about me. For whatever reason it’s done, be it passion, fear, vulnerability, or simply being opinionated and speaking your mind, avoid saying anything negative about somebody. It is a small community and things get misunderstood – word will get around. We want to see you in your best light. Save the horror stories about the last show and the passionate discussions about theory and methods for the bar after rehearsal. This is not the place.
A smile, a handshake and go reward yourself.
Be confident, trust in yourself and enjoy the process.
As I was working on this blog I did my 3rd audition in 3 years. Wow! Did I ever bite! Everything went wrong performance wise. I blanked, my dyslexia kicked up a storm on the reading portion and my nerves were having a field day. The interview however was fantastic. I reconnected with 2 directors who I had met previously who also share a passion for Shakespeare and a playwright I haven’t seen in years. I left with 2 cards in my pocket and had a wonderful time.
About Jack Paterson
Jack is a Canadian director/ actor who is currently in Toronto for Canadian Stage’s BASH! Residency. He is a graduate of The Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York. Directing credits include Mad Duck’s Jessie nominated productions of Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, Carousel Theatre’s The Hobbit and The Odyssey (winner Outstanding Production Jessie Richardson Award), The Bardathon’s Henry 6 Parts 2 & 3 and The Presentation House hit The Real Inspector Hound. He is the recipient of the Ray Michaels Award for Outstanding Body of Work by an Emerging Director and been nominated for four Outstanding Direction Jessie Richardson Awards.
Most recently he was the Artist in Residence at the Centaur Theatre and directed The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in his Garden for the Shaw Festival’s Neil Munro Directors Project.
A tremendous thank you to all the artistic directors, directors and actors who shared their insights for this blog.