I’ve felt a bit out of the acting game lately. Doing all the work with SAG–AFTRA does help, but it’s not the same as auditioning and working. Unfortunately, I don’t control when I get auditions or work so I have to just be grateful for when I get those opportunities.
Last week, I got an email from a casting director that I know socially but have never had the chance to audition for. They had a script with a character that they thought I’d be right for and they wanted to know if I was interested in auditioning. This was the first time this happened to me and it was really exciting! I wanted to say yes right away, but I also wanted to make sure I read the script. I did, I loved it, and I told them that I would love to audition! So it was set up through my agents and I got my scene to prepare for the audition.
I’m lucky with the auditions I normally get. They rarely are 1 or 2 line parts that are actually tougher to audition for because you can’t do too much. I get bigger auditions that have pages of dialogue to work with. When I have those bigger auditions, I have started to use an audition coach. As much as I know I can work on the audition on my own, it’s so much better to have some feedback.
But I’ve never used a coach for the smaller auditions. But for this audition, I really wanted to be as prepared as possible and to take things seriously. I need to make sure I maximize each audition chance I get, and this time I felt a little extra pressure because I know this casting director as a friend but he doesn’t really know me as an actor. Plus, since I was asked if I wanted an audition versus just getting an audition made it feel extra special and like I needed to be the best I could be.
I’ve got a few audition coaches that I know and that I’ve worked with before. So I sent out some emails to see who was available and could help me out. And I’m so lucky that Marci Liroff was able to help me! I’ve auditioned for Marci a couple of times in the past and I also took her audition bootcamp class a few years ago. So she knows my abilities as an actor and I know that I work well with her when she’s coaching me and guiding me into working a script.
I went to meet with her this Monday and it was exactly what I needed to do to get ready for my audition. I was apologizing for asking for coaching on such a small part (the audition scene is only about 6 lines), but she reassured me that it is totally fine and actually it is good to get coaching on auditions of any size. That made me feel so much better. I didn’t want to feel like I needed the help, but that I was using the help to improve what I can already do. And that was the sense that I was getting from Marci when I was meeting with her.
We started out with doing the scene simply and built it up from there. I had made a strong character choice but as we worked on it we realized that it wasn’t the right choice. Those are the sort of things you can only find out if you are working with a coach or someone else. You don’t get the same reactions if you are working on your own because you need someone to bounce things off of. We also practiced in what is closer to an audition setting with me walking in so I could get the flow of things down.
I had walked into the coaching session feeling like I had made a strong character choice but wasn’t feeling too certain about things. After working on the script with Marci for less than an hour, I felt super confident about how I was interpreting things and that I could feel that way in the audition room too. It’s amazing how powerful audition coaching can be and how it really does change how I felt before going into the audition.
I really think that I need to do coaching for my auditions from now on no matter how big or small the part is. Getting to work on the script is good, but just spending some time working is even better. The time I was working with Marci felt like being in class (it pretty much is like a private acting class) and it did make me happy getting to do that. It’s not free to get coaching, but it’s not outrageously expensive either. And if this is what I do as an acting class type thing, it’s cheaper for audition coaching than an ongoing class. I would like to be in class again one day, but right now the timing isn’t right.
But besides how getting audition coaching makes me feel, it’s also a sign of looking at my auditions more seriously. I take my career seriously, but if I’m being honest with myself I probably could have been taking it more seriously before. I don’t think that getting coaching before auditions I’ve had in the past would have necessarily changed anything, but I’ll never know. But from now on, I’m going to take each audition as seriously as I would for a series regular during pilot season and hopefully I can do coaching before as many of them as possible.