Saturday, September 26, 2009

Auditions

This year I’m teaching a Jr. High and High school theatre class at a home school co-op. Every actor must do them… quite a few times in their life. I’ve had my share of them, and, like most other actors, both hate em and love em. I mean, they can’t be all bad; it’s a job opportunity. But…
THEY ARE SCARY!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Two or three people, watching you…. and you only. And not only watching, but judging! The pressure, the nerves, and, if you don’t get the part, or even a callback, you feel like a complete and other failure.!

Which is why I had fun yesterday auditioning other people. ;) Lol, just kidding. If any of my theatre peoples are reading, love you guys! Since I know the pressure, I try and not to make my auditions scary. (And I was also glad it wasn’t me auditioning for once!) So I’d figured it was a good topic to blog about.

No matter what side of the table you’re on, it’s a hard thing. It’s usually three minutes and just a few lines to determine what part you should have. Thankfully, for my peoples, they are guaranteed a part by being in the class, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a part they want, or their first choice. Also, it’s just a few minutes to try and judge the person’s character, not just the one they’re acting. If you’re gonna be working with them closely on a project, you try to see if this person has a good attitude.

Now, no matter if you’re working on a film or theatre project, this rule always follows. No matter how good of a story you have, the whole of the project rests on the cast. Sitcoms, for example, are usually incredibly silly writing and plots, yet, some are incredibly funny due to the actor playing the part. That’s why auditions are important, you need to see how a person would do in that part.

Unfortunately, there’s so little time to see each person, or sometimes, you need to cast right then. (big budget movies sometimes spend a year in casting, lucky them.) So, below, I have reminders and tips for both actors and directors about how to have a good, fun, but productive audition. This is especially written for people who know each other closely. Since if you’re an independent filmmaker like me, you usually cast your friends and family, and if things go wrong, you really don’t want those to ruin relationships.



ACTORS

Always expect to wait. Auditions ALWAYS run over time, even if these are the most organized people in the world.

When it’s getting close to your turn, start getting in character, if you know your auditioning for a certain part. That does NOT mean come into the room in character…WHICH YOU SHOULD NEVER DO!

We want to see who YOU are. Who knows, maybe we’ll see the perfect part for you based on your natural personality. Also remember, the people auditioning you are only judging your acting skills, for certain parts, not you. (Unless you go in and act unprofessional or insulting, of course, then don’t expect them to ever call you back for anything.)

You may be a fantastic actor, but, if you’re a 6 foot tall basketball player, there’s no way I’m putting you as one of the seven dwarves. Don’t forget, the audition is not about you at all, it’s finding the right person to play a specific character.

Be prepared for anything. One of my favorite auditing others moments was when I was casting Bubblegum Love. All these girls kept coming in, and I would have them place their foot on the floor, and try their hardest to get out of the imaginary gum I said was there. They were not expecting to do anything like that at all.

Remember when you act, you’re just playing. When we were little, we all played cowboys and Indians, or spaceman, or knights, or princesses… this is no different. Cept, a little more professional and better acting of course. ;)

Once again, point of auditioning, is to get cast for a part in a story. Everyone should want the best people for the job, and it may or may not be you. If you are good friends with the director, don’t expect to get a part just because of that, also don’t expect to not get a part because of that. As a friend or acquaintance, you want their project to turn out good, so if you don’t get the part, don’t hold it against them.

Always say thank you. It’s a privilege to be here.

Most of all, have fun, if you like acting, then play with it and be a good sport. :)


DIRECTORS

Yes some of these are your dear friends and family members, but your project is what this whole shindig is about. Love your friends and family, but remember to treat this as a professional project. You want to cast the right people, to make the overall thing a success.

Try not to scare the auditioners. I know its fun being in control, but be nice. They already nervous enough. ;)

You will run late. Don’t rush people because of it though. They have worked hard preparing for your two minutes, so let them have the time they need to read the part.

Remember, they are sensitive creatures, so make sure your words are gracious and when you give direction, don’t make it seem like they’re doing it wrong. They don’t know what you want from them, so have a good attitude and have fun watching their talent.

If you know right away you don’t want them for the part, let them finish the audition. It’s a common courtesy, and it gives you a chance to just watch them as possible actors for you or anyone else.

Always tell them thank you for coming.

Follow up with a note or email if they are not cast, and if they are cast, call them back right away to let them know. For those not cast, be encouraging. Even if you don’t need them right now for this project, who knows what they could be used for in the future.

Most of all, even though you are under stress, have fun and enjoy the auditions. :)





Wow, two posts in one week! lol, that a record for me. Next post, some news about my personal life. For the few people reading, God Bless and talk to you soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Noah! A Musical Production


Noah, Aka, the best Theatre performance I’ve ever seen, is a musical by Lifehouse Theatre in Redlands CA, that I had the blessing of seeing this past weekend.
Now, theatre is my first entertainment love. When I was six years old, I saw my first musical, The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, and that was a big part of me coming to believe in and follow Christ. I feel theatre can be a powerful tool, and want to use it for HIS glory. Now, because I love theatre, so much, I am highly critical of plays I see or am in, especially if they’re trying to send a Biblical or Godly message.

Now, for me to say something was the best musical theatre production I’ve ever seen, it had to have met high standards and requirements.
1. It must be God honoring, and show his message accurately. Obviously, not everyone agrees with this, but I believe Jesus is Lord, so a play to be really good, must proclaim him.

2. It must be THEATRE!!! A lot of productions, especially huge Broadway shows, could easily be redone on film. A true theatre production is something you can really only experience live.

3. It must be entertaining, and emotion moving, but you must leave the show feeling inspired. (if you’re a Christian, and if your not, you should still be leaving the theater going that was a really good show!) And most of all, uplifting.

4. You want to see it again and again, it’s that good. And those songs are so catchy you can’t help singing them for days on end.

Noah met all of these.

The setting is a bunch of actors just coming out on stage and putting on a musical. The set was just three ladders and 8 chairs. (one chair for each cast member) On each side of the stage, where suitcases for each actor containing all their costumes and props.
Before the show started, the actors came out on stage and just started playing around. Talking with each other, stretching, playing games with each other and the audience, vocal exercises, all the stuff you would normally find going on backstage before a show starts. When it was Showtime, they just all came to the front, and said “Now presenting the story of Noah!” and the show began.
Since everything they needed was on the stage, they never left the stage during the 90 minute show. (plus the half hour preshow).

The show was a variety of different song styles and the actors switching form character to character in incredibly funny scenes and songs. They eventually became the 8 people who survived the flood on the ark, Noah’s clan. While it was filled with humor, the serious message was also present. They and the audience cried as the lights went out in the ark and you hear the voices of those left to judgment pleading for another chance.
While it’s hard to switch from humor to seriousness, this cast and script did that flawlessly. Not a dull moment was to be found in this production.

The acting and singing and dancing was incredibly every single step of this show had to be choreographed with all the running and costume switching they did.

The message especially hit home from the actor who played Noah, when, while building the ark, he asked God: “I’m to save the world with hammer, nails, and wood now, but I know me and my family will still be sinners, in need of a savior. Are you going to send someone to save the world by hammer, nails, and wood again?”

Unfortunately, I went to the second to last performance, so it might be a whole before Lifehouse runs it again. But, if you’re in SoCal, I highly recommend all of Lifehouse’s productions. They are seriously good at what they do, even if they only a “community theatre”. Never under estimate community theatre I say! Here’s their website.

http://www.lifehousetheater.com/index.html

For me personally, this performance was inspiration, since I’ve been going through a lot of artistic block lately, not feeling like making my own stuff. This showed me how powerful art can be, and who I need to do it for, and why. Thank God for Lifehouse Theatre, and it’s gotten me on the bug to writing and filming and directing stuff again. (Hey, writing a blog post I think shows that! lol) Hope to be doing it more often again.