Preparing for An Audition with Less Than 24 Hours
It’s for a Pilot.
I was referred by the producer who knows me.
It shoots out of town.
There are 6 pages of sides and the audition is in 16 hours.
Stop the presses.
6 pages. Uh oh. Ok, let's do some math. It's 6 pm. The audition is at noon. I won’t have time to take a crack at the sides until much later this evening when I've returned home.
Will I have time to memorize the sides in such short notice?!
Dilemma here. Am I supposed to cancel what I had planned that night or is this the ultimate lesson in cold-reading? I'm used to getting a heads up for an audition at least 2 days in advance. Sometimes 4 or 5 days! This is new for me.
It's around 10 pm when I return home. Time to remember those cold-reading techniques I learned at NYU:
- Know the first few words of every sentence you start. This way, you can start each passage of text by connecting with the reader, instead of having your face buried in the pages.
- Vocal Choices: Obviously there should be some vocal work involved in EVERYTHING you do, but especially with a cold read, it’s very important to have a lot of vocal variations going on. I remember my teacher telling us that she's witnessed many an audition where the voice became dead because the actor was so glued to the page.
My preparation for the role involved a carefully devised outfit and dark nail polish (it was referenced in the script.) In the last 10 days I've played a cute hardware store worker, a girl from Uganda, a sassy lawyer, and now a gothic assistant.
It's all in a days work.
Photo by Deborah Wald