The Importance of Taking A Break

breakCongratulations! You (hopefully) have worked your butt off for your auditions for the past couple of weeks. You took in input from your coaches like a sponge and are starting to get addicted to progress.

But then comes the day when you feel like your learning curve is hitting a plateau. Things you have been practising for ages suddenly don’t work anymore, maybe you even get sick. It is becoming clearer and clearer that your brain and your body are desperate for a break to get back to your productive and successful self!

The Stakes of Powering Through

I understand you might be scared that your plans could get derailed because you can’t get back on track after your break. You feel like powering through is the safer option. But believe you me, powering through almost never works out. Listen to your body! Are you feeling fatigued or sickly already? You’re only going to make it worse. You don’t want to get properly sick and not be able to shine on your audition day, right?

The Benefits of Taking A Break

There have been numerous studies about the effectiveness of studying and taking breaks and it turns out that you will learn in a more consistent fashion if you take breaks in between. And taking breaks is also good for your health. Furthermore, it helps you take a step back from what you’re doing right now and re-examine it after you get back. So, by taking a break from preparation, you will be able to prepare more effectively after Christmas.

How to Take a Break

Well, first of all you really have to admit that you can benefit from a break. Then you should schedule your break, you can even mark it in your calendar. (I, for example, have scheduled a break over Christmas so I can recharge my batteries and start looking at my life and business with fresh eyes after my return.)

Write down all the things that you need to do after your break so you don’t forget anything. Then, put that list safely away so you don’t get tempted to “get things done” during your break. This will also help with getting the to-dos off your mind.

Plan some activities that you love. This can be meeting friends you haven’t seen in a while but also make sure that you get some alone-time. Also, don’t schedule too many activities, you’ll still want some breathing room. And most importantly, be spontaneous and change your plans if you feel like it. Really listen to what you need in that very moment.

A New Beginning

sunset-day-summer-sky-90762Feel like taking a break now? Do it! You may be surprised by your progress during the break. Because, believe it or not, your brain will continue to work and things will fall into place because you let them. Maybe you will even find new angles to a song when you get back to it or a piece of technique you have been working on for ages suddenly lets your voice soar. So… what are you waiting for? Go on your break already! Just don’t forget to tune back in on January 16th! 😉

 

The 3 Most Common Mistakes in BFA Auditions // Guest Blog by Sara Glancy, Audition Rep Matchmaker

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SPOILER ALERT: It’s NOT a lack of preparation.

If you’re reading this blog, my guess is preparation is your JAM. All you’ve been doing for weeks is obsessing over these auditions.

Believe me, I get it.

I’m a NYC-based audition coach who went through the BFA audition process myself a few years back, so I’ve experienced this stressful situation from all sides.

My college audition story starts with a montage of research, coffee, and general anxiety, and ended with an acceptance letter from NYU Tisch School for the Arts.

My hope for you is that we can skip some of the anxiety and get straight to the acceptance letter. So without any further ado, the 3 most common mistakes in BFA auditions:

1. Trying to show them EVERYTHING in 16 bars

Let’s be real. For most of these auditions, you get at most two 32-bar cuts to show these colleges what you can do. And you can do SO MANY THINGS!! But if you try to show everything, you end up showing nothing. A 16-bar cut that includes legit, belting, crying, and prat-falls doesn’t make you look like a triple-threat. It makes you look like a crazy person.

Focus on telling a story with each cut. While it’s great to show off different vocal qualities, never let the technique suffocate the storytelling.

2. Aging yourself

Maybe you cry every time you listen to Kelli O’Hara sing “To Build a Home,” but that does not mean that’s an appropriate audition song for you. It can be tempting to pick a piece like this in order to show off your emotional depth, but it won’t play well in the room. Watching a 17-year-old perform a piece about motherhood and stagnation disconnects us from the experience. Even if you perform it beautifully, it’s difficult for us to suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to go on that journey with you.

Don’t be afraid of being young! You can show off your acting chops while still performing age-appropriate material.

3. Striving for Perfection

This is where we circle back to that “preparation” for a moment. Preparation is essential, but be able to leave it at the audition door. Once you walk in the room, it’s important that you allow yourself to be present. When auditioners ask you questions, really listen and be ready to respond. Consider your responses to potential interview questions, but don’t memorize them. Rehearse your songs, but don’t choreograph the moments. Leave room for your impulses. Prepared is great, polished can be good, but plastic is never wanted.

Remember, colleges are looking for potential, not perfection. If you were ready to make your Broadway debut tomorrow, you wouldn’t be applying to these schools.

Show them that you’re talented and trainable.

Be young.

Be unpolished.

Be prepared.

Be yourself.

Break legs!


sara_glancy_headshot-email-sizeSara Glancy, AKA “The Audition Rep Matchmaker,” pairs actors with the audition materials that are going to book them the job!  Think of her as a Yente for the digital age — helping actors find the songs and monologues of their dreams. Sara’s special superpower is pinpointing the holes in an actor’s audition repertoire.  She then matches her client with material that is type-appropriate, unique, and, above all, storytelling-focused. To learn more about her adventures in matchmaking, check out saraglancy.com or read Sara’s blog here. And make sure to follow her on twitter @AuditionRep!

Some people need pressure and some people break

popcorn-pressureLast week, I went to the cinema to watch “The Audition” by director Till Harms. “The Audition” is about the audition process at the acting college in Hannover, Germany. As an actress and blogger, I was interested in the film because it showed the process from the viewpoint of the jury instead of the viewpoint of the participants.

What I didn’t know was that there would also be a supporting film that night. This supporting film was “About Pressure” by Sebastian Binder and Sebastian Fred Schirmer. It barely lasted thirteen minutes but it really got me thinking. Whoever picked the two films to go together at the festival, well, kudos to you! Because auditions are very much about pressure for all people involved.

“About Pressure” basically consisted of interviews with everyday people and each of them shared their own take on the subject of pressure. There were funny moments such as the one when the woman at the bar associated pressure with going to the toilet but one quote really got stuck in my brain, “There are some people who need pressure and there are people who break.”

POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE PRESSURE

So, let’s take a step back here, what insight can we gain from this quote? Well, showbiz is full of pressure. It starts with the pressure at college auditions and it continues to be a constant battle for attention, being compared to others and landing the next gig. And let’s face the facts, some people just aren’t cut out to face that type of pressure for a longer period of time.

But then there’s also that pressure to perform well on stage. And the latter (even though the word pressure has a negative connotation) is really why we pick the job, isn’t it? Because that so-called pressure on stage makes our stories take wing! So we can think of negative pressure as opposed to positive pressure.

But how do we gain access to that positive pressure without getting broken by negative pressure on the way there? Good question, my friend! Because I frankly assume that actors are the kind of people who need pressure otherwise they wouldn’t pick a job in which they are permanently exposed.

THREE STEPS TO USE PRESSURE FOR GOOD

Whenever you feel negative pressure, try and identify where it’s coming from. Are you scared you won’t get in? Ask yourself why! Then try and find a solution to eliminate the reason. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution!pressure-piano

Bring yourself into as many situations in which you can access positive pressure. Try landing some gigs before your main audition season, work with new coaches who help you soar, you can even go to a karaoke bar if you want to. While you’re at it, also identify how that positive pressure came about and how it makes you feel.

Create positive pressure within negative pressure moments! Say what? Well, whenever you feel negative pressure, just try to recreate a moment created by positive pressure. This must sound rather abstract so let me give you an example.

PRESSURE IN AUDITIONS

There is a lot of negative pressure in auditions, I’ll give you that. But what if you treated auditions like a show? Shows are usually full of positive pressure, aren’t they? So, when you walk into that room, don’t treat it like an examination, treat it like a one-person-show of three to fifteen minutes. You’ll be surprised of the way this will affect your performance and your nerves! And think about it, this will only be one audition of many, so it is totally worth trying out! 🙂