2018 Unified General Auditions – Auditor Survey results & Stats

Stats on: 539 monologues & 216 songs

Most popular playwright:
66 – William Shakespeare
11 – Neil Simon
8 – Sarah Ruhl
7 – Arthur Miller
6 – Edward Albee; Gabriel Davis; Stephen Adly Guirgis
5 – Anton Chekhov; John Logan; Martin McDonagh
4 – A.R. Gurney; David Auburn; David Lindsay-Abaire; David Mamet; Madeleine George; Neil LaBute

No monologues from 7 Shakespeare plays:
All’s Well That Ends Well; Coriolanus; Cymbeline; Henry VI Part II; Richard III; Taming of the Shrew; Timon of Athens

Most performed plays/musicals:
7 – The Merchant of Venice
4 – Addams Family; Anastasia; Carousel; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; Midsummer Night’s Dream; Red; She Loves Me; Twelfth Night

Song repeats:
“Crazier Than You” (Addams Family); “Here I Am” (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels); “I Believe” (Book of Mormon); “Journey to the Past” (Anastasia) (4 times); “Little Girls” (Annie); “Mister Snow” (Carousel); “Not For the Life of Me” (Thoroughly Modern Millie); “Screw Loose” (Cry Baby)

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FEEDBACK FROM AUDITORS:

Every year we allow our auditors to give feedback on what they liked/disliked about the annual Unified General Auditions. Over 50 auditors filled out the survey – this is valuable information for future UGA actors, containing information about how best to prepare for your 2018 audition.

While this survey contains a lot of great information, each specific opinion should be regarded as exactly that – one person’s opinion. Getting positions from 50 different casting directors means the results contain many contradictions – for example, one auditor may say “never do Shakespeare at the UGA” while another may say the exact opposite!

*The perspectives offered in this feedback do not represent those of Theatre Puget Sound. Names have been redacted — otherwise comments have not been altered in any way.

We attended this General to cast for projects occurring between: (Please check all that apply)

March – July 2018

38.1%

August 2018 – January 2019

35.7%

2019 or beyond

28.6%

We keep headshots/resumes on file for currently unscheduled projects.

52.3%

Not Applicable/Other

14.2%

 

How many 2014 UGA actors potentially fit a future project of yours?

Less than 10

11.9%

11-25 actors

40.5%

26-100 actors

16.7%

I keep all or most of the actors on file.

9.5%

Not Applicable/Other

21.4%

 

 

What were the most surprising, enjoyable, memorable moments from actors?

  • The amount of talent that was displayed throughout the auditions. Many of the performers were outstanding.
  • when you feel that they believe what they are saying…not just reciting.
  • Some amazing singers. A few people used pieces not from nondramatic works-songs poetry- that worked well.
  • The moment when [performer] rewrote the lyrics to Moana.
  • Shakespeare monologues can be deadly; one of the most memorable auditions I saw at the generals was from a performer who abandoned any pretense of an accent other than their own and gave their monologue tremendous life and vitality. More performances like that, regardless of their textual source, that manage to overcome expectation and get at something true within the text, are a direct line to being remembered, as far as I’m concerned.
  • An actor who did a satiric version of a song that got us all laughing.
  • [Performer]’s interpretation of the Republican party survey. It’s refreshing to see someone who chooses to do a piece in a way that really capitalizes on their skills instead of following convention.
  • The pieces talent created themselves.
  • Monologues that were varied, different, interesting.
  • … Actors who are completely alive on the stage.
  • Clever transitions between pieces. Those who let their individual personalities shine through. Those who took obvious risks.
  • Well-prepared pieces.
  • There were so many.  Many, many actors stood out.
  • The performance by the deaf male. He was incredible.
  • There were a handful of actors who were very polished, understood their monologue and chose monologues that worked, and presented and delivered with professional craft.  That these moments were relatively rare, it made them stand out all the more.  [Performer] was the most memorable performer of the day for myself, and the work and preparation he’s clearly put in, while having the great disadvantage in this medium of being deaf was incredible and compelling.
  • One young woman in particular gave an unusually humorous and clever performance that made a big hit with the audience and got a big round of applause, I forget the name. So many others did not stand out of the pack.
  • When people handled Shakespeare or classical pieces as well as their modern ones.
  • The young man who sang Gorgeous was an absolute stand out.

In a General Audition like this, what factors make an actor stand out?

  • A non-rushed, confident and well prepared piece that shows a range of character, emotion, style, or humor.
  • The amount of energy brought to the audition and the choice of pieces that really showcase the actors ability.
  • Confidence and presence.
  • Allowing themselves to really act their pieces, rather than just “presenting” them.
  • A good solid introduction. Plant before you speak- own the space.
  • A clean, clear, simple presentation – and of course, talent.
  • Originality. Liveliness. Demonstration of the qualities you think you can play best, not necessarily what you think is the greatest reach for you.
  • Not trying too hard; walking in with confidence; good choice of material.
  • When they are relaxed and confident. When they choose truly contrasting pieces. When they edit their pieces well. When they have energy.
  • Humor, preparedness, something unique.
  • How the monologue is delivered and with some surprises in it.
  • When an actor uses his/her/their audition to demonstrate acting; i.e., they have chosen an audition piece that is dramatically active, not a rant, not a poem, not a piece of reflective remembering. The actor knows who s/he is speaking, what their relationship is, and why s/he is speaking. Purpose. Focus. Action. Not merely performance.
  • Confidence and professionalism.  Being prepared and following the guidelines is more appreciated than using a gimmick.  Your talent will show, when you try to “stand out” it seems like you’re not relying on your abilities to get the job.
  • Colorful clothing. Big, bold choices. Interesting, unique, and accessible material.
  • Confidence and relaxed good humor.
  • Contrasting monologues and songs.Confidence, mastery of material, ability to change in two different pieces.
  • Preparation, specificity and seeing their personality. Less acting robot, more relaxed human.
  • A well-chosen monologue that fits / that the actor understands and could indeed perform on stage; a strong consistent choice; professionalism (if humility presents itself as well, that can be all the difference – particularly when one fumbles on stage, the ability to remain present and move forward).
  • For me it’s vocal character and skill, as well as sincerity. The one singer I contacted afterward was sincere and didn’t belt.
  • Charisma, imagination, technique.
  • Actors who are well-trained and understand what it is to live truthfully on stage. Actors who understand what they are trying to accomplish in an audition. Actors who choose appropriate contrasting monologues/songs to showcase themselves. Actors who understand that crying or yelling in an audition is NOT the goal of an audition. Actors who know how to create a relationship with whoever they are talking with in the piece they are doing. Actors who know to trust the material and not push. Actors who know how to find honest humor in the material.

You saw a lot of headshots and resumes.  What were common mistakes actors might want to avoid in their headshots and resumes?

  • Your headshots should still look like you; not what you wish you looked like.  Odds are you’ve changed in 5 years.
  • Be sure to update the photo so you look like the photo.
    Reduce the amount of information on the resume only list shows and training that really make you stand out.
  • Not professional looking, too tight on just their head…it’s nice to see a little more neck and shoulder.
  • I didn’t see a lot of mistakes.
  • Seemed okay to me.
  • They need to look like their headshots and make the resume easy to read.
  • Don’t know.
  • They ought to be recognizable from the photo. Many times the makeup is so overwhelming that I don’t know who it is in person.
  • Old headshots.
  • Having funny, off the wall pictures.  The best I think are the ones that simply look like the actor.
    Too much writing on the resume such as all the teachers they had.
  • 99 out of 100 times, a smile is better than a frown. It activates the face.
    A picture that does not look like that actor. I use a headshot to remember the person I just saw on stage.
    A reading is not a play. Stop listing readings.
    Leaving off key information: Play name, role, theatre name, director.
    Too much educational information. I don’t need to know what classes an actor took. Just tell me what school, what degree & what year.
    Oh yeah, and don’t lie. We’ll find out.
  • Don’t use selfies.  Don’t have a friend take your picture with their phone or little digital camera.  Ask your fellow actors who they went to or use the TPS resources to find a reputable and recommended headshot photographer and spend a little money to have them done right.  Headshots don’t need to cost thousands of dollars, but they do need to look professional.  If an actor doesn’t have a proper headshot, auditors will assume the actor doesn’t take their profession seriously.
    As far as resumes are concerned, organization is key.  We want the name of the show, the character you played, and the theatre where it was produced.  Including other info, such as director, is a bonus, but not always necessary.  Every job should have its own line.  You should include ALL contact information including phone number and e-mail address.  If you have an agent, list their contact information as well, but still include your own personal contact info.  In Seattle, agents are generally used for film and television work, but theatres rarely use agencies for audition calls.  So put your information on the resume so we know we’re calling you and not your representative.
  • Eyes should connect in headshot. Check for misspelled play titles and character names.
  • Unprofessional backgrounds or snapped-by-a-friend-on-her-iphone headshots, and photos that are CLEARLY no longer representative of that actor’s age. We all want to hang on to the past, but it does a disservice to the auditors who have to remember that you actually don’t look like your headshot.
  • Make it clear what theatre company their performances were with.
  • We saw  lot of formatting errors that looked sloppy.
    Occasionally there was no contact info.
  • I love to see directors on resumes.
  • Keeping headshots up to date and capture “you.”  There were a lot of folks who nearly looked a different person from their headshot to being on stage now.
  • This will vary depending on the auditor’s needs. For me, lists of performance credits and educational background are very helpful.
  • There were some actors who looked very different or much older than their headshots indicated.
  • Already answered in previous question.
  • Their headshots and resumes are the least of their problems.

General comments you wish to make to actors who may want to do the general auditions in the future.

  • Do not take 4 minutes of monologue and speed them into 2 minutes.  Silence communicates a lot and rushing misses many moments.
  • Wear something very simple that fits you well and isn’t distracting, some of the wardrobe choices can be too loud, too much pattern, and sometimes even just shabby…everyone should have something that is their audition outfit…
  • I wish people would include a Shakespeare piece – we learn a lot about your skill set from this material. Also, please don’t chat with us – announce your pieces and do them, then say thank you. anything else is really annoying, which I know you don’t mean it to be.
  • There has been a big push to steer people away from Shakespeare and the dearth of classical language pieces was disappointing.
  • Avoid doing monologues with an iconic film performance associated with them; it usually invites a comparison that you don’t want.
  • Make it clean and clear, no fuss, no extra muscle, no trying to win us over.  Just show us your stuff.
  • Don’t get rattled by going overtime; I for one don’t track that. The important thing is if time is called to thank the auditors and leave with a positive attitude. After all, you were seen!
    Dress appropriately for your characters. Unmemorable clothing is best.
    Make the transitions between monologues distinct, even if it’s just turning in a circle. One actor moved a chair in between theirs, which not only took time away from what they were doing but wasn’t clearly either in or out of the world of the play.
    If you have to have a prop, make it utterly essential.
  • Choose a unique monologue.
  • I don’t think it is necessary  to thank the theatre groups for being there.  But a nice thank you after the monologue is always appreciated.
    Some people might have taken too much time to get into character.
  • Select dramatically active monologues. If you don’t know what that means, find out.
    We want to know who you are as an actor. Don’t try to second guess what we might want. Show us who you are.
    Select a song that is in your range. We want to hear who you are as a singer and see how you act while you’re singing.
    No need to wow us with a belt note. Particularly if you’re going to miss.
  • Choose material you connect with. If you are 20 years old– we do not need to see a monologue about a 50 year old going through whatever it is they are going through.
  • Time your audition so you know your coming in under the limit.
    Work with someone who can give you constructive advice and help you give the best audition you can.
    Don’t sing if you can’t sing on key.  A weak singer who chooses to sing only shows us that they don’t have a good gauge of talent.  Same with Shakespeare.  If you don’t know what you’re saying, we won’t either.  Either work with a text coach, or just do something contemporary.
  • Don’t go over time! Follow the instructions. Don’t choose a piece that will require you to “take a moment” at the beginning of your audition—we don’t want to watch that. Be in the moment when you step out!
  • Particularly for the women – keep the energy of professionalism to the very end. For many the final “Thank you” became apologetic or even cute.
  • You don’t need to sing enough of your song for it to make sense to us; we know it’s not going to, and we’re okay with that because we just want to see that you can findfind enough variance within a song to make you an interesting choice for us to have callbacks for.
  • Be on time.  Don’t go over time.  Enjoy yourself.
  • It’s worth it. I saw people that I’ve never seen before and cast in a show this season.
  • Have fun!  It’s horrifying and it always will be, but it is true, as a first time auditor for TPS generals, I bring back what every casting director says, and that is that they are indeed rooting for you.  The hope is to see a lot of bold and strong choices, but mostly, just a consistent choice that makes sense; well-chosen monologues that are understood; and performers who are enjoying the moment – even for how difficult it is.
  • Be your natural self. Do not try to force yourself on the audience or overact. Re singing, I noted too much belting, which is a singing style i dislike since it is somewhat unnatural though it appears to be characteristic of much or most musical theater.
  • Find a GOOD coach and get to work — 95% of the actors who auditioned this year were NOT ready for the generals.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the 2018 Unified General Auditions!

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