Friday, October 21, 2011

Audition Techniques - From BoHo Casting Coordinator, Stephanie Sullivan

I always get so excited when we begin the casting process for our next show....  It's the beginning of the birthing process, a time when anything is possible and when you wonder what your baby will look like.  It's also a heck of a lot of work (more so than what most might imagine) which is why, over time, I've focused a lot of my energy on finding the best, easiest, most actor-friendly way of making it all happen.  As an actor myself, it's easy for me to step into those shoes and then find solutions to the many, wonderful hurdles that come up. 

The result of this streamlining process is an online sign-up format.  Actors can visit the sign-up web page, choose a time that is convenient for them, and then come back to the site and make changes, if need be.  I've recently changed the way the sign-ups appear when visiting the page (after much debate) so that actor names are displayed publicly.  An actor can choose to display their full name or simply put a first name and last initial - in other words, you can still remain somewhat anonymous if you choose, and this is what ultimately made me feel comfortable about the decision.  The biggest downfall to this website is that actors don't get a confirmation email once they've signed up.  I used to consistently get emails from actors who'd forgotten what their audition time was, and now they can go back and check!

Over the last couple of years we've been fortunate to always have amazing turnouts at auditions and we've always believed in giving everyone equal opportunity to audition.  People have asked me if we ever do invites, and the answer is yes.  On occasion we will make sure to invite certain actors, who've worked with us in the past or who have been recommended to us, if we feel they might be appropriate for a role.  That being said, if you aren't invited, it doesn't mean we aren't interested!  One of the many wonderful things about always doing a general audition for each show is that we are introduced to new faces all the time.  I'm also equally excited by the number of old friends that come back because it's wonderful to see the growth in people: how they've changed or matured, and what they're capable of in new contexts.

My hope is that the audition process is always a positive one for the actor, each and every time.  BoHo prides itself on being very actor-friendly and we truly do value and respect the time that people put into preparing for an audition.  I do my best to notify people of their status in a timely fashion because I know how much it sucks not to hear back at all.  I also try to remind actors that if casting didn't work to their advantage this time, it isn't personal.  I trust that actors already know this, but it helps to hear it again.  There are many, many factors outside of an actor's control and the competition is always extremely fierce at BoHo auditions.  

Stay tuned, though. In my next post, I'll talk about tips that will serve as good "general audition reminders" for everyone, and I'll also delve into some tips of a more subjective nature, that are specific to BoHo's audition process.

-- Stephanie Sullivan is the co-Casting Coordinator for the Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. She along with Rebecca Mauldin oversee the casting process for all BoHo shows.

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