by Lauren LeBlanc with support from T3Writes editor and all-around Lauren LeBlanc Fan, Kat Edwards
Acting is a job. A real one that has to be earned. Casting directors aren’t just throwing bodies up onstage and hoping for the best. Actors submit resumes and are subjected to a vetting process just like you would be for any other job. You say interview and second interview. We say audition and callback. To-may-toe, toe-mah-toe. Similar rules of etiquette apply to both: be on time, look nice, etc. And, both are absolutely necessary to get the job.
In the instance that you cannot be present physically, it is not uncommon for an interviewer to request time for a video chat. The audition equivalent is called a video submission.
Lauren LeBlanc submitted a video for our general auditions back in March. That video earned her a callback for Michael Federico and Ian Ferguson’s new contemporary musical. And here we are, 10 months later, anxiously awaiting her Theatre Three debut as the title character in The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn.
With audition season just around the corner, I asked Lauren to talk a little about her audition experience.
Auditioning is the worst.
This is not a unique viewpoint. It’s a necessary evil in the life of an actor, an unwelcome but expected part of the job.
I moved here from Philadelphia just over a year ago. Prior to my move, I’d researched the DFW theatre scene and knew where I wanted to work. I just had to be ready when my metaphorical number was called.
So, I freshened up my book (industry term for a binder full of songs that sit well in my vocal range), printed a new batch of headshots, and began making rounds on the audition circuit. For seven months, it… uh, didn’t go well. I couldn’t get arrested at an audition. Also, not unique, especially when you’re the new kid in town. Resume credentials are helpful, but the unknown element is tricky in casting.
Then in March 2018, Theatre Three announced its general auditions. I thought, “This is it! I want to work there so much.” On the docket? Two musicals and a series of plays. The first musical, Once, required actors play an instrument. Three years of elementary piano don’t qualify me to list that skill on my resume, so Once was out. The second—unnamed but listed as “a new musical with contemporary music”—sounded promising. I’ve sung a lot of contemporary musical theatre in the past few years. Maybe I’d be right? I sent an email requesting an audition time.
And all the slots were full.
Again, not unique. This is Economics 101, basic supply-and-demand stuff: a surplus of actors and a dearth of jobs. You get used to gentle disappointment of this kind. The company manager (who would—spoiler alert—come to be a kind of human life raft for me) replied, offering that I submit a video by the end of the week in lieu of an in-person audition.
Here’s where I am (apparently) unique. Lots of actors hate video submissions. Some say they’d rather be in the room, feeling the electricity. Some cast aspersions about whether directors actually watch video submissions. They’ll send casting a YouTube link instead of the file so they can compulsively check the view count.
Even so, I love video submissions. It’s kinda nice to control the lighting, to make two or ten wardrobe changes, to review the video 67 times before submitting. My iPhone makes movies of decent quality. The acoustics in my bathroom aren’t half bad.
So last March, I balanced my iPhone on a towel rack and recorded a 32-bar cut of a Pasek and Paul song (from a little-known musical about a kid with a broken arm.) I sent it, then went downstairs to fold laundry.
Three weeks later, I stepped into Theatre Three for the first time, having received a callback for the title character of that new, contemporary musical. Two weeks after that, I was offered the part of Eveline in Michael Federico and Ian Ferguson’s brilliant new musical, The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn.
For me, it’s comforting to know no matter how fast those auditions fill up, my bathroom is always open.
As long as my iPhone storage isn’t full.