So, let’s take a week off from the audition book to answer a question I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently. I’ll be back next week with Post-Golden Age Music, don’t you worry, lots of Audition Book blogs are in the works, with some guests to help out.
Anyway, the question I’ve been asked a lot lately is:
Now, that isn’t really the question that’s asked, but that’s the basic essence of the question being asked. Why am I setting up these classes?
So let’s dig into it, let’s dig into why I’m setting up classes, why I think classes are important, what are my thoughts on classes? We’ll start with the last thought first and work our way backwards.
What are my thoughts on classes?
This is a loaded question that I have to be careful about answering. But let’s start with my experience playing lots and lots of classes, of all different sorts, in New York City and elsewhere. We won’t get into classes I’ve played outside of NYC and I’ll focus on classes that I’ve played in the city.
I’ve played all sorts of classes in the city. Dance classes, Scene Study classes, Acting classes, Masterclasses, Audition classes, Song Study classes, Rep classes, classes for little kids, classes for older actors, classes for actors that only act as a hobby after they get off of work from their real job, classes for non-equity actors, classes for equity actors, classes for special needs actors, classes for... well, you name it, I’ve probably played a class for it. I’m going to focus on my experience with Audition classes, since that is what this whole website is about.
I have one really basic rule when it comes to classes that deal with what happens inside the audition room. They should not be taught by people that haven’t been in the audition room on a frequent and recent basis. There are a lot of really good teachers out there that teach really good audition classes... if you are auditioning for a show in 1985. Unfortunately the room is different now. You’re being led astray. Audition classes should and need to be taught by people that know the changing environment inside the room. People that know the ever evolving needs of the shows being cast. People that have their finger on the pulse of the industry. Everyone teaching an audition class through Save My Audition is a regular in the room, they see what is happening day in and day out, they are casting the current hits and flops of Broadway, off-Broadway and regionally. These are the people that you want to learn from, these are the people you WANT to learn from.
I was tired of playing classes for people that didn’t “get it” about the audition room anymore. It felt a little icky and sometimes felt like they were only teaching classes to make the money, and as a side note, those classes always paid the pianist poorly. Everyone that is teaching through Save My Audition is being paid for their talent at a very competitive rate, including my pianists. Right now I’m playing most of the classes being offered, but as things expand I hope that I won’t be able to cover all of the classes happening. To bring you the best working professional audition pianists I made a conscious decision to pay as close to Union scale as I possible could while keeping the overall cost of classes as low as possible. It’s my aim to only offer the best teachers and pianists in NYC. Wait until you see some of the classes I am working on for March. February will be a light month for Save My Audition as I adjust and learn from mistakes made in January. Regardless of what I thought, I'm apparently not perfect and I've made mistakes, working on fixing them.
I think classes are incredibly important for actors. You should always be working on your craft. Learning from the best. Watching other people work and seeing how it relates to the work you do. I’m not just talking audition classes. All sorts of classes. Take every class you can possibly afford. This is a damn expensive city, I get it, but when you have some extra money, take a class.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on classes. They are important and incredibly helpful, when you take the correct classes. If a class feels icky, it probably is. Get out as quickly as you can and look for new classes. If classes ever offered through Save My Audition feel icky, let me know, please let me know. I’m trying as hard as I can to make these classes as professional, helpful, informative and safe as I can for everyone that wants to take a class.
Why do I think classes are important?
This was partly explained in the above answer. But as a recap, classes are important to keep your skills sharp and build your confidence. You have to always be striving to be a better performer.
Audition classes, I think, are exceptionally important. Auditioning is this weird made up experience that we’ve invented. If there were a better way to cast a show we would do it. But it’s the fairest way we have to make it happen. It sucks. A lot. More than anything else sucks about doing a show. You could be the right person, have gone through 10 final callbacks and end up not getting the role because you are too tall and won’t fit in the costume and the producers don't want to pay to have a new costume made for you... It sucks. A lot.
So, why am I setting up classes?
I’ve been at this a very long time. I’ve meet a lot of really really talented people in this industry. I decided to ask the people that I admire and respect most in this community if they would be willing to help out and teach classes and share their knowledge. I can personally vouch for the talent and ability of every single person that is teaching. They are all wonderful. Every single one of them and I could be more surprised and humbled that they are helping out.
With all that being said let me wrap up...
Take classes. Take the classes being offered through Save My Audition. Take classes being offer elsewhere. Just take classes. Learn. Make yourself better. Make yourself more confident.
Learn from Ben Cohn the music director of Dear Evan Hansen.
Learn from Lindsay Levine from Tara Rubin Casting, one of the best casting directors I’ve ever played for in New York City.
Learn from Rachel Hoffman who I’ve known for a very long time and couldn’t be a better person or a better teacher.
Learn from Aaron Galligan-Stierle over at MaxTheatrix.
Learn from Sheri Sanders on how to be comfortable inside of your Rock body.
Learn from Jason Styres who has a beard that makes me question my manhood, he's also a hell of a casting director.
Learn from the young up-and-coming associate directors on Broadway.
Learn from your friends.
Learn from your enemies.
You don’t always have to take classes to learn, but classes are a great place to start.
So check out the classes we have offered. And look around for other classes.
I’ll be back next week with some more Audition Book bloviating.