Tuesday, 7 May 2013

In Brackets

OK, so here's the tip of the day...  Whether you are auditioning at drama school or for a show, knowing your casting bracket and exploiting it for all you're worth is absolutely key.

For example, if we audition someone here at Read and they have a really strong contemporary MT voice with a big belt, great acting skills with a strong monologue and their dance is their third discipline - not bad but not great - we're going to start thinking about where we would be able to send them on to.  Immediately in my head, I'm thinking Mountview or LSMT, or maybe GSA if they've got the right look.

But then what if we interview them and ask them where they see themselves going, and they say Laine or Bird?  The big problem for us at that stage is figuring out if that person is going to be able to cope with the news that we have in store for them... It Ain't Gonna Happen.  Do they already know that in their heart of hearts?  Are they unrealistic about their skills or looks?  Are they just badly informed?

Whatever your casting bracket is, you're pretty much stuck with most of it.  If you are bigger built you can choose to slim down, or indeed if you're a slight build you can bulk up, but it's a safe assumption that you're not going to change your height, and the essence of 'you' is always going to be the same.  The fact is, you might be 99% right for a certain role but there are so many people working in this industry that the casting people are not going to have to look too far to find an actor who is 100% right.  It doesn't matter if you can sing the hell out of it, the slipper doesn't fit.  So what to do? Embrace it, don't fight it.

I could have spent a long time bemoaning the fact that I was 2 inches too tall to play Eddie in Blood Brothers or that, frankly, I wasn't good looking or dashing enough to play Enjolras in Les Mis (both were true).  But why waste time? Instead learn to accept and find out about who you ARE going to play.  Are you short?  Are you tall?  Are you skinny? Are you big?  Who cares, as long as you work it!

The same is absolutely true for students auditioning.  If you come to an audition with no idea of where you fit into the industry then you're a very hard proposition for someone to train.  A lot (and I mean a LOT) of girls come to audition at Read wanting to go on to study at Arts Ed and then be in Wicked. Great, if that happens for you.  But mostly this is not actually what they want based on an informed career decision, it is simply all that they know about. Research, research, research.  If this industry is going to be your career, then find out everything you can about it because it interests you and excites you!  Don't go for the obvious, especially since casting is so specific.

Most of all, treat your casting bracket like a spouse.  It will be with you your whole life, so make sure the relationship is based on honesty and faithfulness, and don't kid yourself.  If you're a tall, muscular man with a great tenor voice, or a petite high belting girl with astonishing cheekbones, good for you.  You shall go to the ball.

If though, like me, you are a character actor with a regular-person physique and regular-person looks, then even better for you.  You will also go to the ball, but you will play the roles that make people laugh or be part of a fantastic ensemble without which a show does not run, and there's a lot of work out there for you.  Find the parts that you could play, find out who's playing them, and THEN find out where they trained.  That's where you want to be, and who knows? Maybe Read College could be a part of the journey ;)