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You have to have a plan

So yesterday was the sprint version of auditions… we got to see 45-ish people in 4 hours. Honestly the talent level was great and we didn’t know most of these folks, which speaks to a depth of talent that I’ve been pretty skeptical of.

I do want to share some of the lessons we’ve been reminded of from the other side of the table this time out. We had a great response so these are all general (some very basic and often repeated) notes and fairly well anonymized to prevent individual calling out.

  1. If you are asked to RSVP? Do it.
  2. If you’re using an agency responder? Follow up with a real email. We got a lot of response from one agency that slurped our Craigslist ad, and not ONE of those people followed up with an email (or an audition).
  3. When you RSVP it is your first chance to tell a story. Do it. Be professional. Use complete sentences. Get a Real Name email from a free provider and use it. AngelEyez247 isn’t your name.
  4. When you RSVP with your headshot and resume? Make it in universal formats. Will and I can (and will) open whatever you throw at us, but .docx isn’t universal and less nerdy recipients will simply put you in the kill file. .PDF and .JPG. Download CutePDF and use it. Make sure your .JPG isn’t huge, we’re trying to get names and faces, not make sure your pores are clear. Hey, I know! Why don’t you put it in the same .PDF file with your resume so we can save them together? Email me if you’re not sure how. Travis at Cambiare Productions.
  5. That guy sitting at the table out front? He’s probably not just a fancy pencil cup. He MIGHT be. But you’re better off not assuming that he or she is. In our case the guy at the front desk is me, and despite my egalitarian and deferential habits, I’m the boss (is that okay Will?). It probably best you don’t blow me off or treat me as less than. I’m not judging your reading. I’m judging you as a human. If you are a dismissive [expletive] while dealing with people you don’t think you need to impress? That hurts you. It may not kill your chances, but oddly enough? Will and I talk.
    Are you REALLY nervous?
    Do you have no idea what the play is about?
    Have you read anything about us?
    Have you glanced at the blog?If not, why not? This is a job interview. We’re trying to figure out if we want to spend the next 6 weeks in a small room with you, you should be doing likewise.
  6. I don’t care if your headshot is professional, but it NEEDS to look like you. I’ll admit I poked a little fun at the performer who had sent a sloppy candid earlier in the week, but when they arrived I knew who they were and what their resume contained.
  7. Look like you when you show up. This isn’t really a direct audition note from Saturday.
    Look… I know you’re all freaks or whatever… but I need you to look like someone ELSE on demand. If you have three feet of fire engine red hair, or a mohawk? I have limited options. So tell me a happy lie about how you can be anyone.
  8. Ladies. This is sexist. I understand that. Holler at me over beers after the show, but we need to have an idea what your body looks like. You don’t need to dress sexy, you don’t need to “slut it up”, but you need to not wear a tent. Office casual is fine.
  9. This is specific to me: I put out snacks on purpose. Don’t be afraid of them. We’re a small indie group in a small indie town. Our talent pool isn’t full of professional auditioners. If you don’t have a routine around auditions, let me help you. I put out cold water – you’re getting dry mouth and you don’t need to. The (adorable baby) bananas and orange juice are light sugar and potassium. The M&M’s a heavier sugar for a quick energy boost and light protein.
    I’m trying to give you a chance. Help me help you.
  10. I am rooting for you. Hard. As I said on Twitter the other day, we have as much of a vested interest in you not sucking as you do. It is very much in my best interest to make sure that when you hit the chute you really are ready for the rodeo. You may think that my enthusiasm for you and the “Kick Ass in There” as I shoo you in are fake, they aren’t. I need this cast to be world beaters in 6 weeks, and I need you at your best to see if you’re going to be part of it.

And then of course I make Will do all the hard work.

We’ll be having callbacks over the next few days to work around schedules, and yes we understand that we need to work around schedules because the folks who are worth having are already doing something.

By next weekend we should know who’ll be our new family for the summer. Couldn’t be more excited.

EDITED TO ADD: Here is a great list of tips from DFW Theater.