2010 TPS General Auditions Survey: Auditors

We sent a survey to the auditors of our 2010 General Auditions and received some great feedback for actors. Karen has posted the results on our forums but I will steal her thunder and post the good stuff here.

• 84% of registered auditor entities completed the survey
• 72% attending auditors (people) completed the survey
• 68% of respondents called in one or more people for a follow-up Audition
• 50% were casting for projects between February – June 2010
• 68% were casting for projects between July – December 2010
• 28% were casting for projects scheduled in 2011
• 78% keep resumes/headshots on file for currently unscheduled projects

What follows now are the answers to OPEN ENDED questions. If this information has upset you in the past, consider stopping now. Information below is personal opinion of each respondent and with such things – there are contradictory statements at times! If you choose to continue – it is strongly recommended that you look for the themes within the information given. The themes can often be very useful to you.


Auditors were asked:
A. Name your most surprising, enjoyable, or inspiring moment from ACTORS in this February round:

•   Several actors had real stage presence . . .
•   The secret entrance through the set!
•   The actors who came in with confidence and really seemed to enjoy performing.  If you look like you’re having fun, then we, the auditors will have fun watching you.
•   Joyful introduction
•   Many new faces – many people making the right decisions regarding the time of monologue vs. song (they showcased their strong suit) – Go them!
•   the youth auditions – a couple standouts as far as monologue and song choices
•   The several actors who connected with the audience and talked about wanting to move to Seattle
•   Their preparation as well as the variety of choices of material.  They all seemed to be well prepared.
•   XXXX (original?) comic monologue deconstructing monologues, “Hey Girl, Blow Up that Audition” – priceless, and wonderfully presented
•   The success of monologues from films and novels
•   Many people that I’ve seen many times before have chosen new monologues! Congrats!
•   The Equity actress from Kansas City whose audition blew everyone away.
•   Overall quality improved for Equity/EMC
•   Actress reading Juliet – even though she was 2nd of 3, she made it original, fresh, and quite memorable.
•   Accidentally did a spit take because the actor presenting his comedic monologue was so funny and physical with his piece.
•   a girl who did a monologue as a fly
•   Innovative material- the monologue about squirrel and the lawnmower is an example
•   I really enjoyed the actors who picked subject matter that also reflected their personality.

B. Name the ONE most common actor mistake this round in your opinion:
•   Playing an “idea” of who they thought the character was.
•   OVER ACTING!! Too many big gestures!
•   Time Management! There were so many people who went over time this year.  It especially seemed as though the singers were having trouble.  I would strongly discourage singers from trying to do two monologues and a song, it rarely times out and even when it does the auditors spend most of their time worrying that they won’t make the time cut.
•   Apologizing for something
•   Unpreparedness is obvious (either didn’t read or didn’t rehearse enough) when one gets cut off towards the beginning or middle of their song.
•   Not doing contrasting pieces
•   Singing a high note that they couldn’t reach!
•   It was hard for me to hear them announce what their monologue was from.  This always help me remember them when I look at their head shots and resumes
•   Only performing one piece
•   Being too casual with auditors
•   Not showing a little bit of their personality…forced “actor” personality
•   Resume and headshot not industry standard: not stapled to the back of picture.
•   Nervous, sterile energy…like they HAD to be there.
•   Projecting like we were in a giant auditorium.
•   Establishing ‘place’ with their physical tools.  Setting a scene.  Though, pretty tough to do given the time frame.
•   Actors shouldn’t sing if they are proficient, and please don’t so Shakespeare if you haven’t been trained or coached.
•   No connection to the material. Sometimes I wondered if they even KNEW what they were saying.
•   Apologizing as they slated their piece
•   Speeding material to get through in time.
•   Standing still and reciting the monologue with no dynamic.
•   Not looking up and out at the audience!
•   Using one focal point for an entire monolog – thus shutting out half of the auditors
•   Monologues that were too similar (I made this mistake too!)
•   Bad choice in what they wear.
•   I saw several auditions that did not have very good transitions between pieces.

C. What female pieces do you feel you heard a lot of in THIS round? (many listed were mentioned multiple times)
•   Reasons to be Pretty
•   Phoebe – AS YOU LIKE IT
•   Several pieces from Romeo and Juliet
•   Medea  – Individual Comment: I don’t want to hear anyone under the age of 30 do Medea ever again
•   Portia “Julius Caeser”
•   Dead Man’s Cell phone
•   Someone’s Else’s Story
•   Sam Shepherd’s Fool For Love
•   Winter’s Tale
•   Fat Pig by Neil LaBute
•   the play about bestiality
•   5 Women Wearing the Same Dress
•   Poona the F*ck Dog
•   A Winter’s Tale
•   “Landscape of the Body”
•   Lady Percy

D. What male pieces do you feel you heard a lot of in THIS round? (Many listed were mentioned multiple times.)
•   King Lear ‘the bastard speech’
•   lots of penis references
•   not sure the title but an awful lot of squirrels
•   Edmund’s “Bastard” speech –  Individual Comment: come on, guys, show a little initiative; it’s not the only bad guy  he ever wrote – or even the only Bastard!
•   Richard II “Bastard” speech
•   Romeo (balcony scene)
•   Fat Pig by Neil LaBute
•   Richard Greenberg
•   Henry V
•   The pig piece
•   Shakespeare – Merchant of Venice Shylock
•   Henry IV

E. General Comments you wish to make to Actors:
•   Thank you for the opportunity to see your work. Lots of great talent. Remember to Project. Don’t indicate or over act. Be Sincere. Play to the whole room.
•   Think about your wardrobe choice!  If you are going to be on the floor or sitting you might not want to wear a skirt or dress.  Time your piece! It is always better to choose an audition package that is less than time allotted than one that is right on the mark (give yourself some breathing room!)
•   I wish more actors knew that we love them, are rooting for them, and want them to succeed. We are their friends!
•   Be prepared, time your piece!  Seemed like there was a good number of folks who wanted to explain their monologue before doing it…. just weird.  it seems like if they were to audition anywhere else like in a 1-on-1 situation, the director / caster would mention something… general preparedness for newer actors seems like a must, or else they embarrass themselves.
•   BREATHE  Have fun  Choose pieces that really show off who you are as a person  Work on transitions between each piece: DON’T RUSH
•   Please announce your pieces clearly and slowly.  There is no need to explain the context of the piece (most of them don’t, but those who did used up too much of their time.)
•   Keep doing what you do, don’t be afraid to let your truth shine even if it defies convention.
•   Not all theatres are looking for actors who do monologues with extreme profanity & genitals as the main subject.
•   It would be great to have actors look like their headshots.
•   When delivering a monologue – can you not just address the empty side of the house. For example, if you have prepared to look stage right but we are all stage left, be flexible enough to shift. Otherwise we miss out on facial and body language.
•   PLEASE: Do have your resumes/headshots in the correct industry format. Do keep your audition slates concise. Unless you are a master improviser like XXXXX.
•   It makes a huge difference when an Actor comes in with a comfortable, confident energy about them.  And with a sense that they’re grateful to be there.
•   I can hear you.  Seriously – I can hear you even though I’m wearing earplugs.
•   Thank you for your efforts
•   >>Please come dressed professionally for your general audition. This is essentially a job interview, and as with any job interview you want to show that you take yourself, your art, and the opportunity seriously.  This may be the only moment in your adult life when it’s not only appropriate but advisable to look in a FULL LENGTH mirror when you think you’re dressed and ask yourself: “Would my mother think I look professional?”   If it sparkles, lights up, has a hole  in it, is covered with paint, is bright orange, blinks on and off, or any combination of the above, take it off and start again.  And ladies, make sure your skirt is an appropriate length for the physicality of your monologue, unless you are auditioning for BASIC INSTINCT.    >>Apart from the obvious thing that you want to choose a piece that really speaks to you so you know you can connect with it effectively pretty much every time, try to keep in mind that auditors are always thinking about how we might be able to use you, so be sure that at least one of your monologues falls somewhere within the realistic range of roles you might be cast in and the level of skills/experience to which you currently have access.  I’m interested in what you might be right for NOW, not 20 years from now, so while you may as an ingénue have a profound emotional connection with Medea or Amanda Wingfield, it’s generally counter-productive to use them as general audition piece.
•   There were volume issues in this round I’d never encountered before. Also, when composing your audition, remember to consider contrast not only in tone, but in character choices and physicality.
•   You are an actor for God’s sake, have some confidence and TAKE OVER THAT STAGE! And if you are a young 20-something woman, you better be unique or you will get lost in the huge crowd of others like you.
•   Give time between slating your piece and going into it. Don’t apologize for being nervous, we are here for you. We know what it is like. Don’t set up the scene, we should understand it from your piece.
•   I rather see one very well performed monologue than two average ones or a fantastic one and a bad one.
•   1. Even if you only have 2 minutes, DO TWO PIECES. Not only do we see your range, it helps keep the auditors engaged.    2. Don’t do a piece from a play you don’t know, haven’t seen yourself. It’s so clear when an actor knows what’s going on in the larger scope of the play and chances are, the auditors know the play too.    3. It’s always good to choose one classical piece and one contemporary piece.    4. One piece should make us laugh, or at least smile. The auditors are tired and love a little pick me up.    5. Don’t go on and on about where your character is at this point in the play – we just want to see your work.    6. Avoid “miming.” It just looks funny.    7. Pieces on one’s feet tend to be stronger than those when a chair or a cube is employed.    8. Look up and out. Don’t spend the whole time staring at the floor. We want to see your face. You don’t have to talk to one person in particular, but you need to be looking in our general direction. DO NOT spend your time addressing a person who is offstage left or right.    9. There’s no reason to have a script in hand.    10. Getting a “Thank you” doesn’t have to be a bad thing! It just means it’s the end. There’s no reason to sulk because you didn’t say your final word. Accept it with a smile and a “Thank you!” of your own and you’re in great shape.
•   Stop choosing boyfriend/girlfriend pieces. They get boring after the hundredth one. Find something original that shows you can move as well as talk. Connect to it – and remember we would love you entertain us.
•   Many of you were very professional and prepared:  kudos! What amazing talent we have, especially women age 22-32! Some of you need to prepare and rehearse more thoroughly before making such a “big impression” on a large group. Please don’t take up an audition spot if you are not ready – wait until next year Smiley
•   It is worth it to work on these and put your best out there. I will offer callbacks to folks I saw this year. I am also keeping resumes from exceptional and unusual performers that I don’t have parts for right now but hope to have parts for in the future.  I DO remember the excellent people and will be more likely to cast you in the future if I remember your good work from TPS. (In fact I just called in an actor and cast her, because I remembered her from TPS two years ago.) So don’t get discouraged. Keep doing the TPS auditions and keep bringing us your very best efforts.
•   Find pieces that are appropriate to your age and that show off your talent to its best advantage. Don’t sing if you’re not a trained singer; make better use of your limited audition time. It’s better to do one terrifically awesome piece that showcases your strength as an actor rather than trying to cram too many pieces into 2-3 minutes in an attempt to demonstrate your range.
•   Please time your audition – a 2 minute audition means you should clock in at about 1minute and 40 seconds, this allows for nerves and laughs. Also please dress so you can move and that we are looking at you and not your clothes. Be prepared, a 2 minute audition is to show us you know how to use your voice, you understand text, you can sing on pitch, you have a good understanding of your body and your “type” – This isn’t to show us EVERYTHING you can do, find selections that will make you do your best, something with a strong beat change, and that is active. This will get you a call back and we will be able to explore what else you are able to do for us.
•   Take your time and have fun.  Please show us your personality.  We’re gonna have to work with you!

Read the full survey results on our forum.  LINK

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