Some people get all crazy on audition season, attending every single company audition that gets posted like its a mission to attend them all, but when auditioning takes money and time (and let's not forget time is money), is this really the best way to get through auditions season?
Let's make something clear to begin with, the fact that people have to pay an audition fee for work consideration, is already messed up enough. Talk to some non-dancers for a change, and ask them what they would think if they needed to attend a job interview where they would have to pay to be interviewed, and let me know what they answered.
Now, if its a school audition it is different, but when a professional company, searching for dancers to employ goes around the country having auditions charging $20-$30 dollars a pop, there is something absolutely fishy happening, specially when you consider in the fact that most likely there isn't even a handful of jobs to be offered to both men and women. And if you are saying its to pay for the costs of the audition, think again, a flight only costs about $300 and renting prime studio for 2 hours is roughly $150 (in Manhattan), say the person conducting the audition is staying overnight, and hired a teacher to give class so he/she could look for work candidates, add $500, we are still under $1000 which is roughly 50 dancers @$20 dollars each.
Having said that, (and I'll get back to that on another post), there are many other things you should consider finding out before blindingly going to an open call and paying for the privilege to work your ass off for an hour and a half for someone who you might not even be certain they have a job to offer, so here is a list of Things You Should Research Before Attending an Audition
What kind of work they do?
Maybe the particular style of dancing isn't work you would be thrilled to be doing.
What kind of dancers do they currently have on contract?
You should make sure it is work that you respect and you'll be proud to be working with them.
Who is in charge?
Maybe you already worked or know someone who works with that director. They could possibly save you from working for a crazy. Or you could possibly want to work harder to land a gig with a super cool boss.
What Stats do their dancers currently have?
Do you fit the look, height, shape and possibly level, of the company? There are a lot of different companies and some like more muscular people, some like tall, some like short. Where do you fit in?
Is the company is actually hiring?
Lets face it, most companies are suffering and are mostly downsizing. If you can, find out how many man and female contracts they have available for the next season. If you have a spine, you might even ask them directly when you arrive at the audition, before you pay.
"How many male and female full time contracts do you guys have available?"
What kind of pay do they offer?
Unless your parents are still supporting you, you might want to find a REAL dance job, and not one of those that pays $50 dollars a week and requires you to work full time (possibly after you had to relocate).
So having researched all of the above should save you some time, money and energy, and will allow you to focus on actually landing the jobs that are a good fit for you.
Don't forget, you ALSO get to audition the company, its not just them auditioning you!
Some people say your headshot is the first impression you'll make when it comes to an audition, or casting, and this may very well be true. however this doesn't mean you need to spend everything in your piggy bank in order to get the perfect one to take in (specially) for your potential first few jobs!
Granted, you should probably not have take a selfie, or a random snapshot where you think you look great (I have seen some people use prom pictures and what not for a headhsot) , but there is no need to pay more than maybe $100-$200 for a great looking shot.
That's where the magic of photoshop can come in extremely handy.
Considering the following facts...
a) hiring a photographer who has a lot of lighting equipment (which probably needs to be in their personal studio) may run anywhere between $150-$400,
b) an outdoor session may be not only out of the question because of the winter, but because they can be more expensive, and its a pain to walk around with everything you and your photographer may need during the shoot,
c) you may potentially already be a starving artist, and the job you may get (thanks to your headshot) could possibly not even pay for the cost of your photographer's fees after an entire month of work
...then you might want to consider just finding a photographer with the right eye and some decent retouching skills.
As you can see in the example above I show the transitional steps between a 'normal' ok shot and the finished product a beautiful headshot. I took that shot with indoor 'home' lighting and no flash, and worked three different versions with very mild photoshopping that mimic the results of proper (and very expensive) studio lighting. Also for those outdoor headshot lovers, i did an outdoor version.
Having an idea of what expensive headshots look like is definitely important, that way trying to achieve the same results is somewhat easier. You can do this by simply googling headshots of famous people, who obviously have access to the best photographers. Another key thing is having good material to start from.
So I encourage you today to find yourself a friend who knows how to use photoshop, or an affordable photographer who is willing to photograph and retouch your image for a reasonable price, or even maybe just photoshop a picture you or a friend of yours took for you for a flat fee.
D a e v i d M e n d i v i l
is a NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist in the visual and performing arts, creating expressive works through dance, music, photography, painting, film & design.
A lot of people like to complicate things in life way more than they should, and so this week, I bring to you a simple guide i found on how to succeed in life, in just two steps.
Lose Weight in two Steps:
1- Close your mouth
2- Start running
Successful Finances in two Steps:
1-Stop buying crap you don't need
2-Stop borrowing money
Good self esteem in two Steps:
1-Love yourself, just how you are
2- Stop giving a f**k what other people think
Self Improvement in two Steps:
1-Stop F**cking around
2-Get to work
Happy love life in two Steps:
1-Realize there's nobody that'll fit your ridiculous demands
2-Don't be afraid to be alone
Healing in two Steps:
1-Forgive yourself for your dumb sh*t
2-Forgive other people for their dumb sh*t
Public Speaking in two Steps:
1-Don't be afraid to sound stupid
2-If you said something stupid, keep talking
Good Grooming in two Steps:
1-Shower, do your hair, and brush your teeth
2-Stand up straight
Etiquette in two Steps:
1-Be polite to others
2-Close your mouth when you eat
Leadership course in two Steps:
1-Have some balls
2-Set an example for others to follow
Ethics and Values in two Steps:
1-Don't f**k other people over
2-Stop talking and start helping others
Self Knowledge in two Steps:
1-Look in the mirror
2-Tell yourself your truths even if it hurts
Emotional Growth in two Steps:
1-Stop feeling sorry for yourself
2-Stop blaming others for your problems
So there it is fellas, keep it simple, and you'll make it far!