When you’re a Non-Equity (Non-union) or an Equity Membership Candidate (almost but not quite union) actor crashing Equity auditions (especially the big musical ones) sometimes you have to sit for up to 8 hours before getting seen…if you get seen at all.
As my girl Jenny Lamb says (look her up, she’s freaking incredible) you go through the seven stages of audition waiting. Hopefulness. Excitement. Nervousness. Hunger. Delirium. Exhaustion. and Apathy.
There are some old and new tricks that I have learned to make these waits more comfortable.
1) First of all. Dress Appropriately.
Wear something COMFORTABLE. You don’t know how long you are going to have to be sitting there, sometimes standing, sometimes sitting on the floor. If you’re going to wear your sky-high hooker heels (don’t worry, I have them too), wear flats and don’t put the heels on until right before you go in the audition room. Bring a light cover up, because sometimes the room is freezing. Sometimes the room is also extremely hot, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Also, ladies…let’s talk. Those short jersey dresses are really comfortable, but I can tell you as someone who also sits behind the casting table as Casting Director for my own theater company, that we are praying the whole time that you don’t lift your arms or God save us, bend over. I like to employ the Deerfield Windsor Upper School rule of skirt length from when I lived in Albany, GA. Yes, I once went to an Upper School. Anyway, their rule was 2 inches above the knee. A nice sexy pencil skirt is perfect and still leaves something to the imagination. I should be able to do jumping jacks and still have no danger of showing the world my business. Remember, the people behind the table are sitting down. They are eye-level with your crotch. Dress accordingly. Drops. Mic.
2) Bring SNACKS.
Jillian Michaels tells me that I have to eat every 4 hours for 12 hours each day. Well, do the math. If you’re sitting there for 8 hours you are not eating properly and your body is going to go into starvation mode and slow way down. No healthy metabolism for you and no way to stay energized for your audition. Also, I don’t know about you, but if I have to go for longer than 4 hours without eating I get HANGRY.
Here are some of my favorite snacks right now that are perfect for throwing in your bag and bringing to an audition.
These mozzarella sticks have changed my life. Well, let’s be honest. Everything from Trader Joe’s changes my life. I have yet to have anything from that store that isn’t mind-blowingly good. I must point out right off the bat that if you want traditional string cheese, that you can pull off in strings this is not for you. BUT if you love soft, flavorful, lovely, FRESH mozzarella THIS IS FOR YOU. It has changed my LIFE.
These are seriously great. For anyone, like me, that is constantly counting calories (Big sigh) this is the best. I’m not necessarily always in the mood to count out 14 almonds. I grab one of these babies and I’m out the door.
I always have fresh fruit on me and berries are some of the best fruits for you. All the antioxidants! It’s the perfect amount of sugar for a little pick me up.
Okay, I don’t eat that much processed food, but sometimes as my girl Lili-Anne Brown says, (look her up too, she’s ridiculously awesome) “I need some chocolate to get me right.” It was such a miracle when I found these. I would rather have these than any chocolate bar you can name. It has the perfect ratio of crunch and pop, sweet and salty. Crazy good and 90 calories.
3) Stay hydrated and possibly…..Misted. Whaaaaaa?
This is my newest, most favorite thing. My childhood is peppered with memories of summers at amusement parks. I would have DIED without my mister fans that I diligently carried with me from park to park. I also of course, had to have a water bottle. I remember being annoyed that I had to carry both things everywhere I went.
NOW THEY HAVE WATER BOTTLES WITH MISTERS IN THEM! I’m sorry for screaming, but this is very exciting to me. Not only do you stay hydrated, VERY important, but let’s say you’re in a non-air-conditioned space lying on the floor with other sweaty actors because heat rises and you’re dying and your hair is too damn thick and you’re getting delirious and your turquoise eye makeup is dripping down your face and the desperation is thick and the competition is like Hunger Games up in there…..YOU CAN MIST YOURSELF! Not that this happened today or anything. TOTALLY hypothetical situation here. Seriously though, trust me. My water bottle/mister was a hit today. It kept me cool and kept others cool. And as my friend Vasily Deris advises, ( crazy, stupid, amazing voice) mist yourself right before the audition and look instantly refreshed.
4) Bring something to DO.
Okay, truth? I’m am the worst at this. I am easily distracted so I’m not always successful with this especially if I have friends there that I haven’t seen in a while, but some people are great at it! Bring your script to memorize, or work on your sides (audition material…a monologue, a scene, or a song) for a different callback. Bring a book. Need suggestions? Here is what I’m reading right now. Do you have a tablet, Ipad, kindle, etc. etc. to infinity and beyond? Bring that. This is my baby right now. He’s my boyfriend.
I love him. My IPad mini has changed my life. I bought it on a whim with some money that I had left over from my last gig, because savings account? What’s that? Anyway, best decision I’ve ever made. It is so light and I can put sheet music on there and sides for auditions. I can read my favorite blogs on my PULSE app, pin things to Pinterest (obsessed), or play one of my games…the possibilities are endless really.
5) Prepare for the WORST.
Expect to be there all day. Expect the accompanist to be the worst. Expect to be extremely nervous. Expect to be distracted by obnoxious newcomers. Expect EVERYTHING and then you will be prepared and pleasantly surprised when it really isn’t that bad. 🙂
If you’re sick legitimately, but you still want to audition here are some of the products I use.
These lozenges aren’t the cheapest, but I can vouch that they are the best. Use one 5 minutes before singing or speaking. Also, how cool is the insert? Divas, Belters, and Screamers…OH MY.
If I’m really hurting I break out the Singer’s Saving Grace. It tastes absolutely terrible, but it works like a charm to soothe dry throat and sore throat. It’s about $15 for a tiny little bottle, so I only use it when I absolutely have to, but it’s good to have for emergencies.
So here are some tips. There are obviously tons of tips for how to have a successful audition and I’m sure I’ll post about that in detail in the future, but today I wanted to delve into the waiting part of the audition. Since, let’s be honest, we spend way more time in the waiting room than we do in the audition room.
Hope this was helpful!