Thursday, 14 January 2010

Impression Pressure

It's been almost a year since I started this blog and, just as that first post was about auditions, so this post is too. I have to admit, I haven't been particularly dedicated to keeping it up-to-date, and I think this is partly because my focus was so narrow - when nothing of note was going on in my career, I had nothing to write about. So, in the new year I think I want to widen the appeal - keep it theatrical based but maybe extend it to reviews, industry gossip and the like, rather than just my personal story.

So, in keeping with my new philosophy, I want to discuss auditions for drama school. Between October and June, drama schools begin their annual intake auditions and the numbers of auditionees seem to mount up ever higher each year, ranging from complete amateurs to those who could tap before they could walk. Naturally, the pressure is on for all candidates; for most, these will be their first auditions (which are nerve-wracking enough, standing infront of esteemed teachers and actors and performing) and for all they will decide their future, for the next year or so. Many see drama school as their only gateway into the industry. I myself am preparing monologues and songs for the long slog which will be the audition circuit. My auditions this year range from January to April, stretch across three countries and ask for a whole range of different material. I admit to being a tad stressed, a few butterflies tickling the stomach just before I fall asleep.

However, the pressure I was feeling was nothing compared to those writing in today's issue of industry paper 'The Stage'. Each week in the letters section, selections from a thread on the papers forums are featured and this issue had several lengthy posts about the pressures one puts upon themselves to impress the auditioning panel and to live up to their successes last year. One reader wrote, "Last year, I had recalls at Central for two strands (acting and musical theatre), GSA, Arts Ed (reserve list), RADA (three rounds). I now feel under pressure - what if applying to the same schools this year means I don't get recalls? Will that means I have regressed?

I can sort of understand their point, but why let themselves get so bogged under with all the stress? Last year at Mountview, I got to the final round of their acting auditions. Is this making me more worried than last year? No. I see it as an achievement last year, of course, but if I don't make it to the same stage this year, that's fine. Maybe they're looking for something different this year; maybe they already have somebody like me; maybe everyone else is just a lot better this year! But to put doubt upon your own talent and skill isn't going to help in an audition situation and will probably be noticeable to the panel.

Of course I'm a bit worried and of course I'll be nervous about it on the day. But I don't see the point in worrying unduly and to excess when its not going to help. Some nervous energy always helps but it seems these worriers have over-thought their situation so much that on audition day, they'll end up too petrified to speak! If you are prepared, have put in the effort and do your best on audition day, you can't ask for anything more. You will get in or you won't. But worrying won't change that. If you get in, fantastic! If not, okay, its upsetting, but it isn't the end of the world. You can try again next year, try and break the industry without training or, in extreme cases (and please don't think I'm telling you to do this!) try your hand at something else. Who knows, this may give you the 'life experience' so many drama schools ask for, or even lead you in unexpected ways into a job in the industry!

I start back at college next week and expect to be thrown back into the exhaustive but amazing routine of the training - and hopefully I'll keep this place a little more updated!

So get back to your ballet barre, sing your heart out and stop worrying!