Once again, hello and thank you to all creative advice seekers. This week's column addresses the issues of post-audition "trauma," and new theatre clubs, and offers some helpful online audition information. I invite actors of all ages to continue write me with any problems encountered at auditions, in class, or anything you feel could be standing between you and your talent. Make sure to check the previous columns to see if your question, or one like it, has been answered already!
I live in proximity to NYC, and I definitely want to study, but I don't know where to start! I recently went to my first "Big City" audition and felt that it was a disaster, but a terrific learning experience. Now I am also experiencing some fear about getting back on that audition horse. Any advice?
This is such a great question, Amy, because so many actors go through the off-the horse/on-the-horse syndrome, not only with auditions, but also with classes, productions and films.
What to do when you know you learned a lot from a recent audition, but are having trouble emerging from the cloud of self doubt, humiliation and fear that has descended upon you, in order to test your new knowledge?
Well, you partly answered your own question, Amy, in your expressed interest in studying. I believe that a class atmosphere will not only improve your craft, but also create a safe and supportive creative environment that is essential to any artist. The process and art of acting cannot be mastered in a vacuum. You need an audience, and other actors to work with; people who are like-minded, who will witness and provide honest feedback for your work, who you will do the same for-- a place that offers support for your craft and your career. These are the things a good acting class can provide, which in turn provides impetus to get back on the horse. You probably know the second part of the answer-- which is to feel the fear and get back on the horse anyway. Fear is actually a wonderful supply of creative energy waiting to be transformed. Have you ever had the experience of being really nervous at an audition, where it actually served you--like you were singing and your voice "magically" opened up and sounded better than normal? If you allow the tremendous energy of fear to flow through, you can empower your performance with it.
As far as where to study--there are too many schools in NYC for me to name them all. Buy a Backstage magazine, available at most specialty newsstands around the East coast, and see which classes, schools, teachers, interest you. Hit the button at the bottom of the column (if on the website) "More About Blair." Shop around, audit, and see which environments suit you best.
And when you can, let the sun shine in and give you energy to move out of the"cloud" and back onto the horse.
Good luck, Amy. Thanks again for writing.
I am trying to find the application and information for NETC [New England Theatre Conference] so I can download it. I found it the other day, but can't seem to locate it now. Can you help.. Need to find it soon and several friends are looking for copies. Has to be in by 1/31. Please advise!
Thanks so much for your question. I want all online aspiring actors to make a note of the following website URL's:
The website address for the New England Theatre Conference (NETC) is:
The website for South Eastern Theatre Conference (SETC) is:
These are organizations that provide pool audition opportunities for schools and professional theatre companies in the regions of their title.
I am representing the Theatre Club of my school and I would like to ask if you have any tips for aspiring actors and stage work. Do you have such a page on the web?
We need some help because presently our theatre group is still rather unknown in school and we would like to turn out some good acting, so I was just looking around for some handy advice.
Can you help me?
Thanks for your question about your school theatre club.
I would love to be of service to you but in order for me to be helpful, I need you to be more specific. I could write a book, in fact many people have, about acting tips and stage work -- so you can help me help you, by coming up with a list of specific questions. Here are some examples of types of questions :
- What can an ensemble do to ensure they work best together?
- How do we pick a good show?
- What should we focus on in the first rehearsals?
The only other online acting-advice site I know of is Actor's Workshop On Line, or AWOL: http://www.execpc.com/~blankda/acting2.html. As far as acting technique books, my favorite are Meisner's "On Acting" and Uta Hagen's "Respect for Acting". It is worth referring to Playbill On Line's theatre book listings or going to your local drama bookstore to check out some of the newer publications on the acting process.
One other piece of advice: Knowing your beginning acting troupe is probably in high school or college, I suggest the following things:
- Avoid doing any epic plays
- Stay close in age to the ages that you really are, as much as possible
- Choose plays that require minimal scenery
This will greatly improve your chances of having a true and moving production.
Good luck with your productions, Ong! Hope to hear from you again soon.