This business of show we all work at is an incredibly competitive business. At any given audition you may be sitting with 10 or more people who look very much like you and all of them likely can sing, dance and act about as well as you. So how do you set yourself apart? Hard work!
Over the years I have talked to hundreds of students about the value of professionalism. In the world of theatre, being a professional about your work can be the one thing that will set you apart from the crowd.
Here are my top 5 tips for being know as a professional performer.
1) Arrive on time, every time. This means being 10 minutes early. You never know when you might hit traffic or get lost at a new place. Give yourself extra time.
2) Know your stuff! Be the first one off book. Work as hard as you can to know what you need to know as soon as you can.
3) Ask questions early and often. This relates to #2 but it need to be said. Asking questions is good, especially if you are seeking help or clarification on a step or some bit of blocking. Don’t ask too much about your character or individual issues in the large group. Do that before or after rehearsal so you don’t take everyone’s time.
4) Do your research. Learn about the show, character, location, and time of the show you are working on. If it is a commercial audition, learn what you can about the product or company you are representing. Once you have your character identified, continue to explore the finer points and become the expert on your character.
5) Be polite. It is true that “Jerks don’t work”. It is also true that producers, directors, choreographers, and casting agents talk to each other. If you behave poorly in one place, everyone around will know about it. These same people often travel and work with people from other states and around the world. If you are an epic diva, everyone will know about it and you will suffer. Always speak kindly to those you work with and for. In this business, it is impossible to know who will audition you next. The guy or gal in ensemble with you in one show may be your director in the next. Be kind and thoughtful. It will carry you far.