Auditioning for a BFA Program? Here's the #1 thing you have to know
Dec 26, 2015
Over Thanksgiving break, I spoke to Val Rachelle, formerly professor of theatre of the University of Southern California, head of casting at Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and choreographer at Utah Festival Opera. I was curious to know what someone on the other side of the table hopes to see from auditioners.
"Preparation," she said with a second to think about it. "Show me you're serious about doing this."
I asked a follow-up question. "What do you really NOT like to see at an audition?" She paused a little longer this time. "Lack of preparation," she smiled. Her theme was just subtle enough for me to pick up.
She continued to drive home: preparation over talent, every time. "I've seen people with all the talent in the world, that I haven't cast, [or this case admitted] because they were not prepared for this audition. And if you're not prepared for one audition, what are you going to bring to a two-year, or four-year program?" I asked specifically things she could point to that stood out to her in memory.
"I've seen girls show up in four inch heels, and not have anything else to wear for the dance call. And pencil skirts. They look pretty, but they can't MOVE!"
The song and the monologue are only half of the equation. The other half, equally as important, is the interview. The college likes to get to know who they're admitting into their program. Who will they be working with closely for four years? How can you help their department get stronger?
Val's thoughts on this were dead on.
"Be yourself. I want to admit you. Not a version of you that you put on for the auditions. And, to the point, you have a much better chance of getting in you by just being yourself."
I asked about the responsibility of the person auditioning to come up with material for the interview. Turns out, it's a huge part of your interview. Val continued.
"Ask us questions. Do your research on the school, and ask questions about what you've found about us. Show us you have an interest in going here. And that's for every school. Spend time getting to know each school and have specific questions for each audition."
We were wrapping up, and I asked if she had any parting thoughts. Not surprisingly, she reaffirmed my golden rule of auditioning. "Your audition begins the moment you step into the building. We always talk to the audition monitor afterward." Now that shouldn't scare you. Not if you're the awesome auditioner that I know you are. You dress for the audition, politely and confidently introduce yourself and get ready. You know the audition monitor is an extension of the people in the room, and you behave accordingly--as you would normally with your amazing professional attitude!
Stay tuned! Next blog coming up soon. Happy New Year everyone!