Saturday, January 7, 2012

Advice to Aspiring Actors

A friend of mine who's done lots of community theater emailed me about her first audition for a professional acting troupe. She did not make call-backs, and might have had a shot at chorus, but because she didn't know tap, they didn't consider her.

It struck me that my reply is filled with so many gems of wisdom, I was obliged to share it with my readers.

I wrote ...


You see, I can tap. It's one of those weapons you collect in your arsenal, just in case, like you, you miss the call-back for a principal role, but want to end up in chorus. And I memorized BABY GOT BACK by Sir Mix-a-Lot twenty years ago, just in case I needed filler material during a show - an emergency item from my bag of tricks. I did it tonight and it was the highlight of the show, for some reason. This is why I learned the ukulele and the nose whistle. You never know when you might have to pull something out of thin air to keep the audience from turning on you.

If you really want to take another swing at it, the key is audition all over, everywhere, every audition. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Turn the parts down if you don't want them, but audition anyway, for practice. After about a dozen auditions, you'll know exactly what to do to nail it.

So, to sum up ...

1. Learn tap

2. Learn an obscure rap song and how to play two cheap musical instruments you can carry with you anywhere. Have them handy in case you forget your lines in the middle of a show or the audience starts to turn on you.

3. Audition everywhere. Of course, this will tick off the people who cast you when you turn them down, but once you get good, you'll start to make enemies anyway, so you might as well begin now.


... but of course the greatest gem of wisdom I did not pass on. Stay out of show business and do something sane.

Above: The author plays a showboat on the Mighty Missouri River in the Old Days, pulling something out of his bag of tricks.


Anonymous said...

Great, a blog post at my expense. I'm not going to bother reading this, I'm late for my tap lesson.

Ink said...

You're about the only person I know in show-biz who 1. does it full-time and 2. encourages people to run away quickly from doing it.

But I can't promise I'm doing something sane.