Let's Start at the Beginning... It's a marginally okay place to start...
I was picking my brain trying to figure out where to start with this SaveMyAudition blog. So I figured the first stretch of blog posts (hopefully 1 a week) would cover the room, the audition room. What to expect and what it's like to be in the room for 8 hours a day.
Let's start with the basics (in the music theater world):
What is an audition?
An audition is a crazy, entirely unique, situation. You walk into a room, spend a minute or two trying to convince someone you may or may not have ever seen before, that you are worth investing their money in. Well, first you have to get past a casting director. We'll get into that later. But it's made up, this experience is made up and unique to the performing arts.
Types of Auditions:
- ECCs - Equity Chorus Call - Also known as a Cattle Call. Webster's dictionary defines an ECC as... well nothing, it's not in there, I didn't actually look that up but I've yet to find a phrase in the dictionary, just single words.
This is where most shows begin. There are two types of ECCs, singer and dancer. The casting call will tell you what the show is and what to prepare. Then a bunch of people show up at a rehearsal studio and line up for their chance to sing 32/16 and sometimes 8 bars for usually a casting director and a representative from the show's music department, usually an associate. A week prior to the audition you can sign up for an ECC at the Actor's Equity Association building. There will be a list for men, women and dancers. The list is taken down when Equity closes the day before the call.
On the day of the call you should arrive early. The monitor will call the names on the list, since there are usually a lot of repeats and no-shows your actual audition time slot may be much earlier than you anticipate, so show up on time (early)!
Singers - You will then be lined up at the door of the audition room. Bravely enter the portal and sing your heart out.
Dancers - You'll enter the room in groups and learn a short combination or two. Sometimes you'll be asked to stay and sing a short piece. Always have your audition book on you. ALWAYS. Let me repeat that. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR AUDITION BOOK ON YOU. It amazes me that people travel to auditions without their book. There is no excuse for that. Even if you've been given specific callback material for an audition and told that there will be absolutely no chance that you'll be asked to sing something of your own... ALWAYS HAVE YOUR AUDITION BOOK ON YOU! And while I'm on it, have a picture and resume on you, or a couple. Always be prepared.
These calls can be closed at any time once they begin. So don't plan on showing up a 5:50 and being seen. Chances are if the call didn't attract too many people that the people in the room left a long time ago after closing the call.
- EPAs - Equity Principal Audition - Generally the same as an ECC but you sign up for a specific time slot. You show up prior to your time slot, get lined up, walk in the room and do your thing. The rules for material here are slightly different. You are given an allotment of time not a number of measures.
- Open Call - The most chaotic and dreaded of the calls. This is a call that is literally open to anyone. Your hairdresser who has never sang a note in his life can swing on by and be seen. Equity, non-Equity and EMC are all given the same priority. You show up and you are seen in the order you arrive. AuditionUpdate.com is glorious on these days!
- Submission Call - This is exactly what it sounds like. Your agent, or manager, or even the director, choreographer or music director of the show holding auditions will submit you to the casting office and you'll be given an appointment for your audition. Show up early!
- Callback Audition - Once you make it through the first round of auditions listed above the next step, should you be so lucky, is callbacks. You'll most likely receive material from the show to prepare, or be asked to sing what you sang at your initial call for some of the creative team from the show. This round of auditions can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. It's not unusually to have seven or eight callbacks for a show. Not as common as it once was, but it still happens. Eventually you'll have your final callback, for the full team of the show (creative/producers/other fancy people that seem to hang out in the room and I can't quite figure out what their role is), but you can sometimes be greeted by 10-20 faces behind the table. It can be daunting. But you've made it this far because someone likes you, have faith in that.
So that covers most of the different types of auditions you'll encounter. Feel free to comment and correct me below.
It's not an easy life, and you'll go to far more auditions than first day's on the job... But live your life, be you. Every Audition Counts
***EDIT - CORRECTION ***
Apparently you can sign up online now for calls. Technology, man, it's crazy. Do they post anything on those boards anymore? But the rest of that description should be acurate.
Today's great midtown place...
700 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Still a relatively hidden place for a solid, but mildly pricey lunch. Located on the second floor with floor to ceiling windows that look out over 8th Avenue. They have lots of delicious food and DOUGH doughnuts... Get like 4 of them and eat them all, don't share.