It's ok to get it off your chest.
I know this could bring a lot of criticism. I also know that as a 47 year old white lady, the "Hamilton" open call affects my life in exactly zero ways, but for all the Professionals out there who know it's more important to be at your best than to be #1, here are my thoughts for you. Oh, and I gave up my anonymity here a long time ago.
Love this so much.
This is amazing!
Oh, yes. All of this. I had a couple of folks from my small hometown who trekked out here for the Hairspray Live audition. Everyone commented on them doing so in ways like, "We're so excited you're following your dream!". Say huh? Wha? Living your normal life back in small town Ohio, working your 10 to 6 at the mall, and coming to NYC once to attend an open call does not following a dream make. Crazy.
I don't want to start an argument. But I do need to say this. Be thankful that you grew up privileged enough to spend all the money you did on your career. Not everyone had parents who could afford music lessons or acting lessons or all the things you did. Not everyone has a family that can put aside that kind of money. Not everyone has the money to go to college for this kind of career. And if they do have just enough to go to college, it will be for a safe job where they can stably support themselves. Who are we to say somebody just shouldn't show up to an audition because they didn't train, or maybe didn't have the means to go get trained. Nobody should feel that sense of entitlement. Everyone deserves a chance.
I also think they had an open call precisely because they are open to talented unknowns - and thank God for that. Its true, most people on Broadway have years of training - but most of that casting is done through appointments. There are some CRAZY talented kids out there, and I'm glad they have a chance to be seen for Hamilton (and the Hairspray open call). I certainly won't be in the rain at 2am, but I applaud the newbees taking that chance... they might be training away and moving here to join the auditioning masses soon enough. Everyone has their own path and story :)
yes but this is one of the few career paths that
a) everyone who has no experience thinks they can give an opinion about
b) they just think they can waltz in and that isn't a big deal.
if this is the case, that it doesn't matter to be a professional, why don't I just go be a pilot because that sounds fun ;)
I know that's a severe example. but all of us who hustle, which I'm sure y'all do as well, have sacrificed a lot.
^ Whole lot of assuming going. I started mowing lawns when I was 12 to make money because I didn't want to ask my single mother to up money for things I could work for. I bought my own professional trombone when I was 14.
I worked at fast food restaurants when I was in high school, and attractions at Disney world to pay for college. I lived at home, went to a state school, took semesters off because I couldn't always afford to go. After 7 years of very hard work.I proudly graduated with a degree in Music Education.
I worked for everything I have. And as I mentioned I'm 47 years old, so I'm not living off my parents.
I'm the first person to say follow your dreams. In fact Live Your Dream is my tag line. But this isn't skydiving or swimming with the dolphins. This is a career that requires training. That was my point. And if you want something bad enough, you can figure out how to work hard and get it.
@patrick- you're bae. I applaud you. A lot of privilege happening right now.
^^^ And as for being privileged, I'm privileged that I had a mom who raised me with a great work ethic. She raised 4 daughters on her own. An amazingly strong woman as a mother was the ONLY privilege I had growing up. And I wouldn't change a thing.
unpopular opinion here. It's a Open call for a reason. Why does is matter to you is someone from small town Ohio comes in for this audition? Let them audition and dream away. Their chances of booking are probably a lot lower than someone that's in the business so relax. Just because you have hustled in NYC and have a BFA does not entitle you to the job. Does it increase your chances to book? Of course. This business is all about luck and those crazy stories happen. Why do we have to be so judge mental of other people? It's hard enough as it is.
Let me be clear. I am not saying that actors from out of town should not come to New York and audition. They absolutely should. Lots of my friends do that and they sleep on my couch that's wonderful. If you read my blog my point is we, as Actors, treat this like a business. Not some hobby we do every know and then. That was my point. Know I'm going out! Have a lovely evening everyone.
Oh gosh, people, chill out. This is why folks hate posting anything here. People take stuff so seriously. This is the BITCHING POST. Lighten up. Was what I said a tad on the bitchy and entitled side? Absolutely. The same way (just in the opposite direction) we feel privileged or entitled when we see Handsome Movie Star with no theatre credits descend upon Broadway. I think errrbody deserves a chance at their dream. Absolutely. I don't begrudge anybody coming from small town wherever for an open call. My observation was mainly upon the people commenting that they were "living the dream!". I found it funny. And like...yeah, sure.
And don't make assumptions upon my privilege either. My parents didn't pay for a thing. I didn't have parents. I put myself through undergrad and grad school completely on my own and have sacrificed like everyone else to make this happen. :)
Gonna be real here.
If you know anything about the reality of audition for Hamilton, you know that Andy Blankenbuehler doesn't have time for anyone isn't well trained.
That's not saying no one has a chance at any other show, but this is just the straight up truth of what Blankenbuehler believes: Training is what allows you to tell a story on a professional level, not talent.
Talent is so secondary to the specific skill level that can only be achieved by training. He doesn't want raw talent at all, and has made that clear in countless interviews and talks to schools, etc. He openly speaks about this all the time - about how training is NECESSARY for anyone to have chance to tell a detailed, intricate story through dance.
He's looking for unknowns, sure, but not amateurs.
Now, that doesn't mean that's true for Hairspray Live or any other show, and I'm not saying at all that I agree with that. (because I don't).
But when you're auditioning for Hamilton which is Blankenbuehler's greatest work, you should do you research about expectations before you decide to camp out because you love the cast album, you know?
From someone who personally straddles the fence on a lot of issues to do with my own privilege, I'd like to stress that privilege isn't just to do with economic advantage. Let me give you an example:
I think we can all agree that the "best" or most "talented" person doesn't always get a job. There are plenty of other factors. Some of them more political than others. Think about the privilege that comes from simply going to an elite university and being friends with a group of people who tend to stick together and hire each other. That's nepotism. That's a form of privilege I think we've all seen work against us at some point or another. We all know how it feels to be on the receiving end of discrimination. Just like economically you don't experience privilege. But generally we are much more resistant to see privileges that might benefit us. Feeling a headwind is hard to ignore. Feeling a tailwind is hard to notice.
I know this is from Buzfeed, but I genuinely recommend this check list to *everyone.* I think it raises issues that can be eye opening for people from *all* backgrounds.
"Think about the privilege that comes from simply going to an elite university and being friends with a group of people who tend to stick together and hire each other. That's nepotism. That's a form of privilege I think we've all seen work against us at some point or another. We all know how it feels to be on the receiving end of discrimination.”
No- that’s not privilege. That’s called working hard and called being a smart businessperson.
If you are accepted into an elite university for theatre- your worked your ass off for that. You proved your talent, you got good grades in school, you applied for scholarships and you EARNED that spot. And you earned that degree, and you built connections and relationships with people that matter. That’s called business- and it’s smart business. And it’s also hard work.
Project- I can understand what you’re trying to do, and can respect it so I do not at all say this combatively, but there are very real issues in the theatre with discrimination. Very real. Every day.
For you to equate someone working their ass off to get into a top tier training program, honing their craft, establishing relationships, and being a smart and talented actor as “privilege” and “discrimination” does a serious disservice to the actual issues those words entail, and quite frankly, are kind of insulting.
Not everyone gets a medal and we have to stop blaming not getting a job on someone else’s “privilege” and because “I was discriminated against because of nepotism”. No you weren’t.
I’m honestly not being combative- so please do not read this as such. These are very real issues, and we cheapen them and their weight by using them to throw someone else’s hard work in their face.
Mmmm, I have to disagree. I was disadvantaged, between a learning disability, an environment that didn't cater to my passions, and financial instability being the norm in my up bringing. Consequently my schooling was compromised (compromised being a kind description), and my career has suffered ever since. Have I made the most of it? Sure. Do I think people who have the luxury of a better life style, and a youth clouted with opportunity sometimes have their careers handed to them? Also yes. Unpopular opinion: This industry is classist.
I personally have a degree i paid for myself.Have a very supportive home life and pay for tons of training all on my own. And I wouldn't say my career has been handed to me, Fatniss. The opposite actually. I don't work a lot at all.
I think we are all confusing the intent of that blog and what we all mean.
I agree with Fatniss also.
Because of financial constraints, I went to a school that had arguably weak training and very few connections. There was obviously no showcase and this school would not mean much to any casting director on a resume.
Afterwards I moved to New York and worked my ass off at a two year conservatory that I paid for myself, but I feel I'm still "suffering" the repercussions of not having advantages that students from colleges with showcases, good training had.
And I think what ProjectamIRight is articulating, (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that not everyone has the advantages or knowledge that would give them an edge to get into a good theatre college.
I'm not discrediting working your ass off, but sometimes that means paying for private lessons, coachings, or growing up in a place where the arts existed.
If you grow up extremely poor or in a bad school district, there may be no encouragement for/availability to the arts at all. So you can teach yourself how to dance from YouTube, but (and I'm speculating here) I doubt you'd get accepted over someone who had been studying dance since age three.
... accepted to a prestigious arts college...is what I meant to write...
@Steve thanks for your support and also for your civil disagreement. I would like to clarify that I'm not equating nepotism to the larger more serious forms of discrimination that happen in our field and in our world at large. I'm using nepotism as an analogy. It's a good proxy that I think everyone can relate to. It's a good way in to understanding how privilege can work against you. If you can get someone to see advantages that act against them sometimes it can help them to see the advantages that work for them too.
And @fatniss I'm with you. Girl, am I with you. Thanks for your voice.
@bailee privilege doesn't negate hard work. It doesn't mean you've achieved things you don't "deserve." I means that while you've been working hard you may not have noticed a tail wind pushing you along a little bit. If you don't work hard it won't take you much of anywhere. But if you're working hard it will certainly help you get further. Meanwhile, there are people who work exactly as hard as you do who are working *against* a headwind that may keep them from getting as far as you do despite the fact that you work equally as hard. It's not your fault that the wind blows that way. But you can help by noticing those winds and maybe lending a hand once in a while to those in the headwind.
@basicNAB You've hit the nail on the head. Thanks!
Hey everyone! I'm in the midst of compiling a list of theaters that have acting apprenticeships or internships either during the year or over the summer, particularly ones with the EMC program. Is there anywhere you worked that you loved and benefited from career wise?
Maine State Music Theater ME
Barn theatre in Michigan
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Flat Rock Playhouse, NC
Actors Theatre of Louisville!
I mean this 100% sincerely since I have never done any kind of regional apprenticeship program:
What are the long term professional benefits of doing such a program? I can definitely see how in the short term it might give you a slight edge over others in terms of how your resume looks. But have you found that your experience as an apprentice still carried weight (either as a credit on your resume or what you learned about your craft and the business) as you got farther along in your career?
^Honestly, I would do it just for the EMC points.
@Raja - I completely agree. My friends that have done apprenticeships haven't had an real benefits to their career (that I can see) aside from a few EMC points. You get your Equity card at the end of Alabama Shakes' program, but they have only rehired ONE apprentice alum EVER (learned that factoid on the HurryUpAndWait podcast this morning). And the STNJ program isn't just unpaid, it costs money to be in it. My friends who have done that one have later done the educational tour, but nothing mainstage other than Spearbearer #12 during their apprenticeship.
I'm not trying to dissuade you. One of these programs might be perfect for you and give you the knowledge and connections you need for the next step of your career. Make sure you do as much research as you can before jumping in to something like this.
Sorry, most of that was directed at emgala, though the initial response was to Raja... I'm sure you guys can figure out what I meant. You're smart.
I mean there are professional long term benefits that have to do with experience. Most apprentice programs have the apprentices understudying for the main stage. To my mind, apprentices are generally early career professionals and probably haven't been in too many professional rehearsals, so it can be invaluable to watch professional actors work through their process when you're just starting out. There usually is some sort of performative aspect to most apprenticeships, so you are getting to work the things you are learning in practical terms as well.
Also, even if you have to pay a tuition, having a few EMCs points is invaluable, particularly for straight actors who can't attend large open dancer or singer calls. A lot of those theatres still need Spear carrier number 5 (Straight theatre equivalent of being in the ensemble of a musical right?) and some will cast those non-union roles from actors they like at EPAs.
As someone who has done an apprenticeship at a Shakespeare Festival, I know the credits I have on my resume from it have opened a ton of doors in terms of auditions for the regional Shakespeare festival circuit. I'm still in touch with the artistic director of the company that I apprenticed with and then got a NY audition for show he was directing regionally. It's like anything, you network, you make a good impression, people remember your work. It's definitely a long game move but anything that starts building connections to working directors and producers is a good thing, particularly if those directors and producers are doing work that interests you.
If you're not EMC yet or don't have any regional credits you MUST do it. It's the only way to get your foot in the door and get experience! Just don't let anyone make you pay to do it. You should show respect for your craft enough (esp if you already go to school for this) to believe you should be paid to perform! XO -vick
I would agree with what others have said. Unless you have no EMC points, I don't think these apprenticeships are especially worth it, especially Williamstown and STNJ, which you have to pay for to attend. While it might have changed since I did it, which was about 10 years ago, Williamstown isn't even strictly acting, some apprentices did nothing acting relatd the whole summer, and there were multiple weeks where I had shitty jobs like picking up garbage or cleaning people's offices, while I was great full to have my EMC card by the end of it, it really didn't feel worth it,
I did a couple of musical theatre ones in college (one paid and one unpaid), and in addition to the EMC points, it was super helpful to get 3 or 4 shows on my resume per summer, and work with (redundant) working equity actors who I learned/networked from. I felt like I was that the bottom of the totem pole, and I learned a lot from wanted by wanting to better myself based on the talent I was surrounded by.
And not for nothing, I was featured in those shows pretty well.
pardon the typos. Still asleep.
I too did EMC apprentice programs in college and for me it was TOTALLY worth it - for a young actor I think its a way to learn, perform, meet directors, and honestly see what the business is REALLY like. It also gives you some credits at reputable theatres - in my case I had the option of doing nonunion outdoor theatre or a lower-paid apprenticeship and have never regretted my choice to do the latter - for me it was also where I met my future theatre-friends as many more of my apprentice colleagues pursued this professionally than my fellow bfa-majors. I also met a more seasoned actor of my "type" who was very much a mentor for me as I started out - I have nothing but great things to say about my experiences. Research the programs, but go for it (I also graduated from college pretty much eligible to join equity via points, there was another post about other unions having "ways in" - apprenticeships are one such way for young actors!)
So I am really passionate about this:
I did the 15 month internship at the Barter Theatre. It was life changing.
I did 26 shows during my time there, half of them were great parts in the Equity shows, I ended up with 37 points by the end, I was offered a full time position at the end, but I chose to move on to new experiences.
They only have 6 year long interns (some have their MFA) at a time with an overlap in the summer, but you receive a truly incredible training.
The main focus: to kick your ass as an artist.
It is a rep theatre so most of the time you are performing in as many as 3 shows and rehearsing as many as 3 different shows. It is a mental workout that makes you grow immensely. Yes, you do some grunt work, like do the changing of the sets between shows, but not that much and the "reps" are executed efficiently. The children shows often times are written specially to challenge you and target your weaker areas and they are really incredible shows.
The knowledge, experience, and friendships I made as a result of my apprenticeship are invaluable! Yes there are short benefits to doing an apprenticeship, but the long term benefits are so much more worthwhile. I am a firm believer that every young actor starting out and hoping to maintain a longevous career in the theatre should do an apprenticeship. I learned so much about what it means to be a professional actor, respect for EVERY aspect of the theatre not just acting, what it takes to make a career out of this very difficult business, and confidence in my craft by working along side seasoned broadway professionals. Absolutely research the program. Absolutely never pay to perform, if this is your chosen profession. But i think it is ludicrous to say that there are no long term benefits to attending an apprenticeship program, I think it's almost imperative!
@Curiousmind: "I learned so much about what it means to be a professional actor... [and] what it takes to make a career out of this very difficult business..."
I'd love to hear more about what you learned, particularly the part about making a career.
Thanks for the input everyone! I've applied to a few of these apprenticeships in years past, and have not even been granted an audition -- despite the fact that I have a lot of great training and a couple of decent credits on my resume. Any advice on how to at least get in the room?
@Raja - I know you didn't ask me - but I learned a lot - one of my apprenticeships had specific classes for this purpose - we took classes from the equity actors and artistic staff - it was where I first really learned audition technique and things I needed to know about the biz side of things in NYC - BUT most of my learning came from getting to know the professsional actors there - from everything to subletting their apartments to what their daily audition grind was - I knew much of the ins and outs of nyc before moving here. Incidentally, I now share an apartment with someone who was on the staff of one of my emc programs - it really is invaluable for young actors :)
That's awesome! Exactly what I was hoping you'd say. Thank you for lessening my skepticism. :)
emgala - check out who attends which combined auditions - aka - if you're in NYC see if they're slated to attend strawhats (that's where I got mine in college) - if so, drop them a line before the event if you're attending letting them know your audition time/etc and that you'd like to audition for them. I also got one of my apprenticeships by going to the theatre and auditioning for them directly - a nice cover letter/email highlighting what you're interested in about their program/season is always good too - good luck!
@thejollyraja to briefly discuss what I learned from my apprenticeship in a simple post: I learned about the union, agents, casting directors, various theatres, how to develop and maintain professional relationships with people in this business, the mentality to keep in order to stay in this business, and general late night brain picking from 20 + years equity card holding actors over a glass of wine.
Considering its been a year of me living in this city and I am an equity actor with representation who just booked my third equity contract, I think they steered me in the right direction.
I booked Flat Rock through the SETC cattle call process. I highly recommend taking that route if you're a young actor just starting out looking to break into the industry!
All the best!
@chelsea28, can you please explain a little more or perhaps give some details on the work you did at Barter, and what you learned transitioning out of it? You mentioned that many players had MFAs or were similarly older/experienced. Were there any recent undergrad graduates in the program?
I'd love to email with you about it, if you're willing! (mctaylor412 @ g mail . com )
Just taking a poll- have any non-eqs ever been seen an a singer ECC for Phantom? Specifically women.
Yes, seen at a reasonable time in July and November last year. Skipped the earlier call this year because I knew it would be packed during audition season (they didn't end up seeing noneq at that one). Definitely go! The worst that will happen is you don't get seen :)
Has anyone taken class from Anthony Daniels (casting director for Ogonquit)? I read about his audition workshop on playbill and was curious to take it, but thought I'd ask about it first....
i've taken this class and loved it. anthony has a really awesome way of teaching / coaching and makes this experience a lot of fun. i took one of his classes at growing studio and was really happy when i found out he offered this workshop, too. totally worth it.
I was contacted by a manager who saw my work and I have a meeting coming up. Any advice on what to expect/what I should be prepared to discuss/etc? Any help is appreciated!
Not really a bitch, but I am just curious how people feel about when you get an email from a CD or Theatre saying they "received your materials, will contact you if necessary" blah blah blah. Because honestly, I have mixed feelings about them. Maybe at just because over time, I learned that you more or less will only hear from them if they want to see you/want you, so for me personally, when I get an email saying the above, I get disappointed and even a little angry sometimes. The same goes for rejection emails saying you didn't get the part, I just see its from them in my inbox and then open it only to be dissapointed. Not a huge deal I know, and it's easily shaken off, but what are people's thoughts?
I'm not a huge fan either. I can definitely understand how people like it, it eases their minds and can let them move on without worrying if they got the part or not.
But I'm with you 100%. That feeling of elation and excitement when you see the theater emailed you - only to open it up and it says "Unfortunately..." is not worth it. I would rather just hear through the grapevine.
Different strokes for different folks..
I appreciate those emails honestly. I'm a pretty direct and assertive person, so I don't want to hear from a third party. People need to have the balls to be upfront. Just my opinion..
The receipt emails are not for actors like you.
The emails are for actors who will CONTINUE emailing until they get confirmation that the office received their materials. There are even actors who will CALL the casting office until they know their submission is safe and sound...and there is NEVER a reason good enough to call a casting office.
Annoying, yes. But it's just to avoid these situations that, sadly, happen alllll the time. :)
I used the search bar because I knew someone else would feel this way. I think it's hard being in this business with a good heart(perhaps I'm just naïve...). I say that specifically in the sense that I have been auditioning for over 5 years and just a month ago someone revealed that a lot of the times people make up information on callback corner. I wish sometimes there could be a generic rejection email so we aren't constantly depending on the words/knowledge of others--especially when they are deliberately being deceitful. That being said, I understand time constraints and work loads of the average CD so it's not something that has an easy fix. but I am wondering if there could be anything in place to be notified directly of casting moving forward that isn't just an anonymous troll on CBC.
Not a fan of rejection emails at all, but I am a HUUUUGE fan of receipt emails. Sometimes shit just doesn't go through; not too long ago, I submitted for a show I was perfect for, never heard back, and crashed the audition. Turns out, they never got the email, even though it was very much sent.
Even a simple "Got it! We will contact you if we need anything more from you" would be amazing.
yeah I'm confused as to why this upsets people hahaha
Just read this expose on the horrors of abusive labor conditions within the modeling industry, and they used ACTORS and our union as a counterexample of how good creative industries CAN treat their independent labor population if unionized.
I just wanted to bring this to people's attention, because yes our union has flaws and we're constantly debating how to improve it... but having AEA is SO MUCH better than not having a union at all and getting used like disposable trash. (These poor models!)
agree. just wish it was easier to get in.
And if not, why not?
There's no excuse.
I know there are more Equity members here than me and Raja...
I am a new member and I voted online! It was so easy and there is great PDF on the site to reference with each candidate's platform and bio! I had an audition at AEA building yesterday, and I took a breath and remembered how long and hard I worked to get my card ....I feel like I owe it to myself and my union to vote for the best candidates who I think will improve our union and maintain it's strength!! #voteordontcomplain
I voted online too - I think equity need "I voted" stickers -you know, so people will do it just to be able to post on social media that they did #kidding #sortof #butreallystickers
You mean like this?
I wish I could audition for Michael Cassara every day. He gives me a warm and comfortable feeling in the room that makes me feel calm and able to connect with my song without feeling judged.....at the same time I know Michael Hicks is going to follow me and play in this amazing way that makes me feel like I am singing for an audience on a Broadway stage. I am so corny, and I know you are supposed to give your best at every audition no matter who is behind the table, but for two days in a row I have felt like I actually belong in that audition room...and for me, Michael and Michael are the common denominators! So Thanks!
^^^ Agreed. Michael Hicks is also great with coachings. The way he feels and plays the music is amazing.
There is literally no CD in this city who is more actor friendly than Michael Cassara. Also his assistant Jamie is the bomb dot com. Always a pleasure to audition for. THANK YOU IF YOU'RE READING THIS
Hi Acting friends. I released Episode 4 of my web series Composing Life this week; and this one is for the actors, those of us who think we can make a difference with our art, even if not everyone agrees. Honestly, this one is for all of us. Hope you enjoy!
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