Tag Archives: acting

What Actors Should NOT Be Doing Online

Haha, you thought I was going to say “Get drunk and post naked selfies.” Nope. Go right ahead. Unlike the Cheesecake Factory or the local unified school district, the theatre is forgiving of indiscretions of that sort, don’t you think? Or they damn well should be, I mean, come ON.

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A selfie I took hiding behind my desk when one student took the entire two hour final exam period to finish a final everyone else knocked out in an hour. It expressed my soul.

No, I’m talking about how to deal with the fact that your facebook profile and email address are getting in the way of you getting hired. Here are some simple, easy-to-deploy tips you can use to make things easier for me and other people like me, who are looking to cast our plays, films, web series, and industrials as painlessly as possible.

1. DO NOT make your email address impossible to find, use, or tolerate. Create an email address that is at least partially recognizable as yours. Do you have any idea how often I use autocomplete to try to find someone in a hurry? About as many times as I have directors, casting directors, and filmmakers email me asking for suggestions for actors, so a scrotillion times a week at minimum. Evidently I’m the non-union actor fairy. So if I can’t type part (or even all) of your name into the field and have your name pop up, I move on to the next actor. If I really, really want you, specifically, I’ll make the extra effort to find your headshot in my files or swing over to your facebook page (more on that later), but generally I’m burning through a list of the first ten or so people I think might be a good fit for that role while the project I’m working on at the moment is on pause. I can’t allocate an hour to answering an email, so if your email address is “singing4lyf@yahoo.com” and the name you’ve connected to it is “SingerStar DramaLife,” I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THE FUCK YOU ARE . If you simply must make your email address “DramaGrrrrrl47@aol.com” you better make damn sure your actual name is attached to that. But seriously, get a gmail address that is at least partially related to your name.

Also, please don’t share an email address with your husband, wife, parole officer, or dog. You are a GROWN UP. Get your own email address for professional use. No one cares if you share an email address with your spouse for personal use (I mean, we care in that we wonder how you manage to function like that, but we’re not judging you). For professional use, however, we need to be able to find you quickly. When I’m trying to locate an actor in order to recommend her to someone who wants to hire her, again, I can’t find Beth Ishikawa if her email address is “mattandbeth@gmail.com” and the name attached to it is “The Ishikawas.” Make your email address “beth.ishikawa@gmail.com” and make all our lives better.

2. DO NOT make your facebook profile picture the Eiffel Tower, a cat, or a dreamcatcher. Make it a picture of YOU. Should I be using facebook as my personal casting garden? Yeah, maybe, maybe not. But we all do it, all the time. Why? Because often we don’t have your headshots in our files and are trying to track you down, plus we’re already on it all the time, it’s easy as hell to find people that way, and we can tell at a glance if you’re still in the area or if you moved to Chicago like we think we remember you telling us once in an email a few months ago. Sometimes I’ll even just browse my facebook friends if I’m particularly stuck in a casting quandary, hoping for a flash of inspiration. Now, you know I love you all deeply and personally, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, it’s hard for me to remember exactly which Mark or Jessica you are. When your facebook profile picture is of a sandwich, YOU ARE NOT HELPING. It doesn’t have to be your headshot, but it should be YOU.

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This should not be your facebook profile picture.

Which leads me to:

3. DO NOT “protect” your email address on facebook. You’re “protecting” yourself from getting hired. Put your professional email address on your facebook “about” page. Create a special email address just for this if you must, but be sure to check it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cruised over to a facebook page to find contact info for an actor whose headshot isn’t, for some reason, in my files or in TBA’s talent bank, only to find that their information is “protected.” YOU’RE AN ACTOR. There should be some way to contact you prominently displayed on your every public profile. I will, more often than not, just move onto the next actor rather than leave a facebook message unless we’re already facebook friends because I know you don’t check your “other” folder.

5. DO NOT forget to check your “other” messages folder on facebook. This is where messages go when they’re from companies, or people you don’t know. Chances are you all have a fourteen-month-old message from me in there asking you to come in and read for a role.

6. DO NOT forget to update your TBA Talent Bank info. If you are a Bay Area actor, you should be a member of Theatre Bay Area and you should have current info posted in TBA’s Talent Bank, because we use it all the time.

7. DO NOT forget that everything you post on the internet is ON THE INTERNET. Yes, I know some of you still believe in Santa Claus, the Chupacabra, and Facebook Privacy, but rest assured that if you post it on the internet, at some point, every human on earth will eventually see it. Again, I’m not referring to drunken naked selfies (go on with your bad self). I’m more referring to things like, “I love this show! This is the best director I’ve EVER worked with!” or “This theatre is my favorite place to work!” Now every other director and every other theatre you’ve ever worked for has the sads. Conversely, don’t think you can post “Grrr! I hate this costume! It looks like barf!” without your director, costume designer, and castmates all seeing it within the hour. Every human has been guilty of this at one point or another because humans have EMOTIONS and emotions make us ACT OUT, but this is what the delete function is for.

That’s all I have for now, based on the flurry of casting I’ve been doing over the past few weeks. My usual “Wow, this is a lot of casting” level has been dialed up to “ZOMG I HAVE SO MANY THINGS I HAVE TO CAST RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND AND TEN EMAILS JUST CAME IN ASKING FOR EVEN MORE ACTORS.” So help me find you! Because you know I want to.

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Defining “Professional”

It's a question of lust; it's a question of trust; it's a question of-- oh wait, no it's just a question of money

It’s a question of lust; it’s a question of trust; it’s a question of– oh wait, no it’s just a question of money

How we define who is and who is not a “professional” in the theatre community has always been a hot-button topic, especially when you throw companies into the mix. When you start discussing this topic, a lot of people will immediately open their mouths to pour out a response that has something to do with money. This makes no sense whatsoever in the theatre community.

Sure, we could define “professional” as “making enough money at theatremaking to cross a predetermined threshold” (such as hiring AEA actors, or making your living solely as an actor as opposed to a waiter/massage therapist). This is, however, a problematic definition to say the least. Many people who are in love with using this definition for theatre companies do not pass this definition in their own careers as artists. If we’re going to define “professional” for theatre, it needs to have a single definition for us all, not one for producers, one for actors, one for designers, and one for theatre alley hobos.

If an actor lands a role that makes her AEA, and then, as is all too common, sits for two years at home working out every possible ending of Dragon Age but never landing any roles, is she still a “professional”? While the money-based definition above says no, I say YES, and I bet you do, too. She’s still auditioning, maybe taking classes, certainly attending theatre to see others’ work. She’s working at her chosen profession, just not making money at it. Her experience, training, and dedication do not evaporate just because she can’t get hired. That actor is still an actor, and I would call that actor, without question, a “professional actor,” despite the fact that it says “lab assistant” on her 1040.

I really should work on that Rosalind monologue at lunch

I really should work on that Rosalind monologue at lunch

If an actor can retain the label “professional actor” without actually making any money as an actor, then it makes no sense for anyone to be held to a money-based definition, including producers and companies. Either “professional” means meeting specific financial criteria, or it does not.

In an industry where very, very few people are making their living solely as theatremakers, and almost no theatre in the nation is generating enough earned income to pay their bills (most of their budgets coming from donations and grants), what is the point of a financial threshold? What MEANING does money have? Are we honestly going to grant “professional” only to those artists who get hired frequently, and withhold it from those who do not, disproportionately shutting out women and people of color? Are we honestly going to grant “professional” only to those companies that sell lots of tickets or land high-value grants, disproportionately shutting out small companies that do experimental work or serve low-income communities? This is an arts community that purports to have The Art as its primary consideration, and yet so many of us are distressingly willing to make money the most important consideration.  But only for others, amirite? Because while plenty of people condemn other artists and companies with “not professional,” they still consider themselves professionals even though they’ve done nothing but 2 waiver shows and a staged reading since the Bush Administration.

No, we can’t draw financial lines for each other and say, “You must be this wealthy to ride this ride” because it leaves far too many worthy artists and companies out. We need a single definition, and it can’t be money. An artist for whom money is THE most important consideration in the definition of “professional” is an artist who is deliberately shortchanging the worth of other artists and companies. Gross.

So money is out.

What about using quality as the defining factor? “Professional” implies a certain level of quality, does it not? Perhaps, then, we can use excellence as the defining factor. Let’s consider that more deeply. OH WAIT. We already tried to define “excellence” and failed. Remember when the entire national theatre community suddenly started talking about holding each other accountable for “excellence”? It went nowhere because no two people can ever completely agree on what makes a work of art “excellent.” This is ART, and one person’s heartbreaking, brilliant, moving production is another person’s self-important, pretentious dreck. So using “professional” to mean “always high quality” doesn’t work for companies.

It doesn’t work for individuals, either. I know many like to draw the line for actors between AEA (“professional”) and non-AEA (“amateur”). But anyone who has spent more than five minutes in casting knows that union affiliation is no guarantee of quality for an actor. Sure, in the aggregate, AEA actors are “better” than non-AEA actors, because the class of “non-AEA actors” includes those with little or no experience, and those who think they are actors but will shortly discover they are directors or playwrights. Or audience. Or donors! (THINK POSITIVE.) But we can’t cast in the aggregate; we have to cast individuals, and when you compare one individual to another individual for any specific role, union affiliation is not going to indicate anything useful to you about which individual actor is more “excellent,” or more anything else, for that matter. This is why we have auditions. There are stunningly brilliant nonunion actors, no question, just as there are stunningly brilliant AEA actors, and jaw-droppingly mediocre actors both union and non. It’s useless as an indicator of INDIVIDUAL excellence. And of course, even if we wanted to use union affiliation as a marker for excellence and thus “professional,” what about all those people who are directors, designers, playwrights, art directors, and so on, for whom union affiliation is a completely different ball game? Union affiliation is useless as a definer of “excellence” for individuals. In the end, though, it matters little because “excellence” is useless for defining “professional.” We can’t all agree on what “excellence” is.

You may actually believe that all AEA actors are always “better” than all non-AEA actors (because of course all actors automatically go from sucktastic to brilliant the moment they sign, right?), and who would be able to prove your opinion of nonunion actors wrong? It’s your opinion. You may actually believe that a big, expensive set or a full orchestra make a show “excellent,” and who could argue with you? That’s what you enjoy, and therefore it’s “excellence” to you. My point here is: when you can’t pin down a definition for “excellence,” you can’t use excellence to define “professional.”

So money is out and “excellence” is out. Then what the sriracha-flavored fuck CAN we use  to define “professional”?

I'm still trying to work out "sriracha-flavored fuck"

I’m still trying to work out “sriracha-flavored fuck”

I have an idea! I baked it just for you and I hope you like it. I made it out of my lifelong obsession with etymology and my need to accrue respect to theatremakers of all income levels.

So, no surprise, I own a copy of the OED. I cracked it open (any excuse, right?) and looked up “professional,” “profession,” and “profess.” Yes, I know that a dictionary definition is going to have limited applicability on its own in this context, and there is something obnoxious about using a dictionary definition in any argument, but bear with me for a second. The main concepts throughout all the definitions of “professional” in the OED (and Webster, which I also checked for fun) are: professing (self-declaration), depth of commitment (making something your main daily activity; your “profession”), and expertise.

So how about this: “Professionals” in theatre are those people who are openly dedicated primarily to the activity of theatremaking. A “professional” individual in theatre is someone who has made a commitment to the art of theatre, and has made that his or her primary daily activity, or has theatre as a primary daily activity as his or her goal (we don’t want to leave out that AEA lab assistant). A “professional” theatre is one that is staffed with such individuals, regardless of what that theatre pays them.  “Theatre professionals” are people who have made theatremaking their lives, and “professional theatres” are the companies that are staffed with those people.

I believe that resistance to this idea, and assertion that “professional” must have strict financial criteria, comes from a place of elitism. It comes from a place of wanting to protect one’s own privilege, and not have to share it with others one has previously been able to keep out. I don’t think those are useful concepts in theatremaking, so I hope to see the day they’re discarded in favor of becoming more inclusive and diverse.

MAKE ROOM FOR OTHERS. They deserve to be there. Honor the artists and companies around you, no matter how much money they have. Think of looking at the world, and at our art, in ways that do not privilege money over everything else. Yes, we all have to make a living, pay bills, and buy Dragon Age 3, but we do not need to make financial considerations the centerpiece and main defining characteristic of our art. Leave that to Scary Movie 12, porn, and A Doll’s House on Broadway starring Kanye West as Torvald and Kim Kardashian as Nora. (YOU KNOW IT COULD HAPPEN.)

Imma let you finish, but the Tarantella is the BEST DANCE OF ALL TIME

Imma let you finish, but the Tarantella is the BEST DANCE OF ALL TIME

Before I go, I want to say a word about “community theatre.” “Community theatre” is a wonderful, precious resource that exists to allow people who are not professionals to participate in making theatre. My wonderful former father-in-law, a retired chemist, spent the last years of his life acting and building sets at a truly excellent local community theatre. It enriched his life greatly. He had no intention of becoming a professional actor, but he wanted to participate in theatremaking. I truly adored watching him onstage. He was terrible, but he loved to be there, so he was a joy to watch. When he died, they renamed the theatre space after him in honor of the many ways he had contributed to that company. THAT is what “community theatre” is. It’s valuable, and important, and I won’t hear another word about it being somehow “lesser” than professional theatre. When I hear “community theatre,” I see a retired chemist, grinning from ear to ear, on a stage full of people thrilled to be there.

UPDATE: A couple of people have asked me if I’m referring to specific AEA language that appears in some of their documents. Let me explicate: No. I’m discussing how theatremakers talk about each other. If I were discussing specific AEA documents, I would have said so. I’m not really coy about these kinds of things. AEA is one union that represents one segment of theatremakers, and I’m discussing us all.

Comments for this article are now closed. 

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Things Not To Do At TBA Generals Or Really Any Audition Ever

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Well, the first day of the annual Theatre Bay Area General Auditions is under our belts, and I’m seeing too many actors sabotage what would otherwise be an excellent audition with easily avoided mistakes. Here’s what NOT to do at TBAs (or at any audition). Strap in.

1. RUSHING. I would *much* rather you get cut off than have you rush through your pieces trying to play Beat the Clock. When you rush your pieces, your shaping, diction, and choices go straight to hell, and all I’m left with is the knowledge that you can say a lot of words very quickly. Your punchlines do not land. Your beautifully crafted emotional moments speed by and make as much impression as a poem written on the side of a runaway freight train. Cut your pieces down to manageable sizes and rehearse them TIMED.

2. BLAND CHOICES. I get that you don’t want to be pigeonholed into one particular “type” and miss opportunities to be called in for other types of roles, but speaking emphatically is not acting. I’ve seen dozens of monologues where the actors made choices I thought were misguided or downright awful, but at least I could see that they were able to make bold choices. That skill is worth a callback. I’d rather have you swing the bat and miss than never pick up the bat at all.

3. SINGING WHEN YOU CAN’T SING. It’s not helpful. Sing if you’re a singer. Sing if you are hoping to be cast in musicals. Do not sing because you’re doing a monologue about a guy who sings all the time. Two minutes of listening to singing done by a guy who can’t sing is not putting me in a callback frame of mind. What’s worse is that the singing in such a case is all too often taking the place of solid acting choices. Do not sing because you can kind of sing and think you might be cast in a “play with music.” Most people can’t sing and that’s FINE. If that’s you, just act. It’s enough, I promise.

4. POOR CHOICE OF MONOLOGUE. Non-linear, experimental, poetic monologues are the very worst choices you can make for audition monologues in a general audition. Almost all of us are casting for linear narrative projects. If there’s no narrative in your monologue, I can’t see how you shape narrative. If there’ s no discrete character, I can’t see how you make character choices. In the end, all I have is you speaking emphatically (again). Monologues that are sexist, racist, or insane are also poor choices. I covered that point in my earlier audition tips post.

5. UNDERREHEARSED. My heart bled for a kid who went up during his Macbeth monologue today. This is not something you want happening to you at TBAs. Only do pieces you know as well as I know the layout of Solitude in Skyrim. Which is to say: PERFECTLY.

6. SONGS WITHOUT RANGE. BLUES SONGS. ROCK SONGS. If you’re singing a song with a four-note range, I have no idea how well you can sing. If you’re taking the trouble to sing at an audition, show me what you can do! Blues songs and rock songs are just beside the point of most musical theatre. While you may be rocking the cast-iron fuck out of that song, we still have no idea how you handle musical theatre songs, which are, let’s face it, the vast majority of musical theatre out there. Even “rock musicals” are (mostly) using musical theatre-style voices, and most musical theatre songs are technically more difficult and demanding, with wider ranges, than most blues and rock songs. They just don’t give me the information I need.

7. WEARING A SHORT SKIRT AND SITTING IN A CHAIR ON A RAISED STAGE. This one needs no explanation. Hello, nurse!

8. TRYING TO CRAM 4+ PIECES INTO YOUR TWO-MINUTE SLOT. This is never a good idea. You’re not showing virtuosity. You’re not giving us enough time to understand why you’ve made the choices you’ve made. It’s unfocused and always ends up being a parade of caricatures. Two pieces are plenty. We don’t need to see everything you’ve ever done.

9. DOING A MONOLOGUE WRITTEN FOR A PERSON OF COLOR WHEN YOU ARE NOT A PERSON OF COLOR. Remember, most of us have no idea who you are and have no way to ascertain if you’re making this choice on purpose (although to what end, I would have to wonder). This will only result in every auditor assuming you haven’t read the play. And if you *are* making this a deliberate choice, bear in mind that this is an incredibly controversial action that would be perceived as naive at best and racist at worst by most of the people in the room capable of giving you a job.

10. YELLING, SHOUTING, OR SCREAMING. Yes, I understand that on occasion volume can be a powerful choice. On the rare occasion. Like, very rare. Easily 99 times out of 100, yelling, shouting, or screaming is the easiest, cheapest, and most boring choice you can make. Pick something more interesting. Any fool can say words loudly. McKayla is not impressed. When you feel the urge to use volume in a monologue, put your thinking cap on and come up with a few different choices to try in that moment. You’ll be glad you did because WE’LL be glad you did.

Auditions are bizarre. WE KNOW THAT. It’s extremely difficult to truly showcase your talent and skill in two minutes. So do yourself a favor and craft that audition to show yourself to your best advantage. We’re all out there rooting for you, honestly.

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General Auditions Dos and Don’ts

My Lisa Keating headshot.  She's amazing!

My Lisa Keating “I’m a fancy grown-up Artistic Director” headshot. She’s amazing!

This is an article I originally wrote for Theatre Bay Area Magazine about the TBA General Auditions. While it was written specifically for these annual Bay Area-wide general auditions, 99.997% (shut up, I did the math) of the article is applicable to any audition. 

Theatre Bay Area General Auditions are right around the corner, and many of you are preparing for what will be the most important audition you’ll have all year. As someone who’s watched thousands of actors audition over the years, I’ve seen a lot of great auditions and a lot of truly awful ones, and despite the number of audition workshops going on in the world, lots and lots and lots of actors make the same, easily avoided mistakes. Here are my top 10 audition tips to help make your Generals audition—and all your auditions throughout the year—look professional and polished.

Before we begin, let me start by saying that, for the auditor, every audition is a set of problems that needs to be solved. If you’re casting, say, “Measure for Measure,” you have a minimum of 13 problems that need to be solved—13 parts that need filling. Each and every person who walks through that door is a potential solution to one of your problems, and trust me, all casting directors are rooting for you because of that. There’s no adversarial relationship—quite the opposite! We want you to do well.

1. Be polite to every single human you see. This seems like a no-brainer, and yet I saw an actress flip off Berkeley Rep casting director Amy Potozkin in an ill-advised bit of road rage on my way into the Generals last year. This is the sort of thing my businessman brother likes to call “career-limiting behavior.”

2. Dress appropriately. By this I mean that you should wear something clean, comfortable and reasonably professional. You don’t have to wear something uber-dressy, but you should look presentable. You should not look like you just tumbled out of some strange bed in the SFSU dorms and barely managed to get on BART in time. You should wear something that makes you feel confident and that you don’t have to fuss with. You don’t want to be futzing with your sleeves or pulling the Picard maneuver every few seconds, because then we’ll start to watch that instead of watching you. For this same reason, you shouldn’t dress provocatively. When you dress like Jenna Jameson on the red carpet at the AVN Awards, pretty much all anyone will notice is your outfit. That finely tuned Rosalind goes right out the window. Also, please do not wear something “costumey.” I know many of you have used this kind of thing successfully for commercial auditions, but I do not recommend it for the Generals. While an audition is indeed a type of performance, it is first and foremost a job interview. A special note for the TBA Generals: Please avoid anything shiny or reflective, such as sequins. The last few times I’ve seen this at the Generals, the light bounce made the audition almost unwatchable.

3. Do a well-rehearsed monologue. Under-rehearsed monologues always look terrible, as they are without fail filled with bland choices, blank spots where you’re hunting for lines, and unmotivated pauses. I know you think you can totally pull it off, and maybe you can, but you’d be in the tiny minority. Be mindful of the difference between doing it in front of the bathroom mirror and the pressure of doing it in front of all of the Generals auditors.

4. Face forward so everyone in the room can see you. No, you can’t do your audition to an empty chair stage left or in complete profile stage right. Whoever told you that’s okay is wrong. Also, please never “use” us. Don’t look directly at the auditors. It makes us uncomfortable, and that’s the last thing you want. We stop thinking about you and your monologue and become fully absorbed in the fact that you’re staring at us. We do not wish to be part of your scene; we want to watch you and take notes. Place your mark over the auditors’ heads.

5. Make bold, interesting, motivated choices. Some early-career actors make bland, boring choices in audition monologues, fearing that bold choices will lock them into one “type” or another. However, all they’ve shown me is that they’re bland and boring. Make bold and interesting choices! Show me your chops! On the flip side, don’t make wild, unmotivated choices in the mistaken attempt to show virtuosity. Unmotivated screaming, weeping, maniacal laughter, or randomly chosen physicalizations, for example, are not showing you to the best of your ability. Also, please don’t bring props. Again, I know some of you have had success with this for TV auditions, but it’s not done in the theatre. I actually saw someone whip out a prop gun during the Generals one year. Not a good idea.

6. Choose your audition pieces wisely. Choose pieces that focus on your desired area of specialization, whether that’s period-specific, type-specific or what have you. In addition, when you choose your audition pieces, bear this in mind: many of the Generals auditors will have never met you before, and our only real taste of you will be your audition. Try to avoid choosing pieces that, while potentially awesome in a performance situation, could be unsettling in a monologue situation. I understand that this sounds unfair, but life is unfair, bubbeleh.

Avoid monologues that are creepy or insane unless you have a sharply contrasting companion piece. Exceptions are very well-known monologues, particularly Shakespeare.

Beware of monologues with lots of overt sexual talk and/or swearing. Many auditors, including myself, don’t mind that at all, but many do, and who they are would surprise you.

Avoid monologues that are insulting, racist or otherwise controversial. Yes, I understand that the character doesn’t necessarily reflect your personal opinions, but again, you want to avoid making a roomful of auditors who have never met you before uncomfortable. A great example of this is Carter’s monologue about his mother from Neil LaBute’s “Fat Pig.” While some people love this piece, enough people are put off by its hateful content to make it an extremely poor choice for Generals, or any audition where you’re not absolutely sure it will be well received.

7. Beware the classic pitfalls everyone warns you about:

Avoid accents unless you’re truly expert. Nothing pulls an auditor out of a monologue faster than a poorly done accent. Additionally, many auditors talk about how they sigh wearily to themselves whenever someone busts out a Southern accent (unless the play calls for it), because they are astonishingly overused in audition situations.

Avoid the monologues that are ludicrously overdone. I realize that this is subjective to the individual auditor, but by and large, all your standard lists are generally applicable: No Durang tuna fish monologue, Laundry and Bourbon, Spike Heels, Cowboy Mouth, Shadow Box, Popo Martin. I exempt classic pieces from this, because there are only so many from which to choose. If you want to do Julia or Launce, be my guest. Just be the best damn Julia or Launce you can be.

Never do a self-written monologue. Even if you’re the next Marga Gomez, a self-written monologue tells me exactly nothing about how you would handle standard material. It’s simply beside the point of most auditions.

8. Know what you’re talking about. Please don’t come in pronouncing words—or even the name of the playwright—incorrectly. Read the entire play if at all possible. If the play is unpublished, you can bet there is something about it somewhere online, and Google is your friend. Even a brief review from six years ago can tell you valuable information about the play’s tone, about the characters, etc. Once I judged a high school Shakespeare competition where two girls did the willow scene from “Othello” as slapstick comedy. Painful.

9. Make sure your headshot and résumé are professional. A great headshot is worth the money. While you may look gorgeous in the DIY headshot your boyfriend took of you in the backyard in front of a bush (why is it always in front of a bush?) it simply doesn’t look professional. And that shot from ten years ago is no longer usable, no matter how much you spent on Botox. There are many fantastic headshot photographers in the Bay Area. In my opinion, Lisa Keating is one of the finest in the country. Check out her work at http://lisakeatingphotography.com.

Poorly formatted résumés are a rampant (and distressing) problem. Many actors have excellently formatted résumés posted online that you can use as examples. Check out http://cindyim.com, http://valerieweak.com, and http://reggiedwhite.com for properly formatted résumés. Too many actors leave off their most recent email address, the names of directors, or the names of the theatre companies. Please also make sure that you have the name of the producing company, not the venue. La Val’s Subterranean Theatre and Exit Theatre are venues, not theatre companies. Finally, make sure that everything on your résumé is spelled correctly. An actor once auditioned for me with my name misspelled on his résumé. If you’re not good at spelling and grammar, find someone who is.

10. Exude confidence. Don’t apologize for being there, either verbally or by the way you present yourself. We know it’s nerve-wracking, but do your best to feel confident and enjoy performing for us. We’re all rooting for you, truly.

All right, kids: Now go kick some ass. I’ll be in the audience at TBAs this weekend sending you ass-kicking vibes.

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