It’s January, or as those in the business would lovingly refer to it, hunting season.
January through April are our busiest months, which means shlepping (because there really is no other word for it) from one studio to the next, changing into one outfit, singing for 45 seconds (hopefully more), rinse and repeat.
Heigh ho the glamorous life…
Auditioning can be so stressful, but having your own set of systems that keep you mentally and physically at your best can help to keep you on top of your game, when things get a little crazy. Part of that is packing your audition bag.
In addition to my rep book, outfit(s) for the day, and dance clothes,
these are my audition bag essentials:
Holding rooms can be sensory overload, between conversations and meeting up with friends, it can be awesome, or it can be a bit much. For some, auditions are more of a mental game, than anything else. Implementing systems in place that allow you to find your center and deliver your best work in the room help to create calm and (even better) consistency.
I always have headphones in my bag to pop in when it becomes a bit much. Personally, it really helps me to take a moment, tune everything out and take a moment to focus on my breath. It’s so easy to get in your own head when you’re sitting in the same room for over an hour waiting to be seen.
I love to listen to a podcast or some acoustic music - just make sure you’re still staying visually aware near the time of your appointment group or the beginning of sign-in, that way you don’t miss an announcement from the monitor.
An audition journal
This was one of my greatest takeaways from my college years and it’s a practice I’ve been keeping up with since 2009. I keep a small notebook with me at every audition and after I’m finished, I write down as many details as I can remember including but not limited to: who was in the room, what I sang, what I wore, any commentary from the team, what time I arrived, what time I got seen, etc.
Those 45 seconds can go by in the blink of an eye and those small details are important when you only see casting in tiny moments at a time. There are so many people out there, that doing the small things to stay consistent and memorable can go a long way.
I remember in my first year auditioning, I was green and inexperienced, but was somehow called back for a really prestigious Equity theatre. They brought me back to dance later in the day and I remember feeling so nervous, being surrounded by well-seasoned dancers warming up around me. One of the dancers in the room was snacking on some oatmeal and I remember her saying to one of her friends who was sipping on Starbucks and teasing her for her DIY breakfast,
“You laugh, but I have to treat this body like it’s worth a million dollars.”
That really stuck with me. Even for tracks in a show that aren’t dance-heavy, you have to be in good health and shape. This stamina is just as necessary for auditions. I always make sure to pack snacks in my bag. I like to choose snacks with a higher fat content to give me more sustainable energy than a sugar-filled “protein” bar. I love almonds or cashews or a hard-boiled egg. Find what works best for you!
something to write with
This is a tiny tiny thing, but it’s always important to always have a pen and pencil whether it’s for marking a special cut in your music or signing your name on a list.
When you have the world’s busiest day and you feel like you’re running around New York like a chicken with your head cut off, remember to keep it simple.
Bringing everything you own isn’t always beneficial, and will kill your back. Really think hard about your day and what you need to bring - see if one outfit can do the job for the three auditions you have that day. Be realistic and remember whatever you bring with you, you have to carry around all day long.
Above all, be kind to everyone.
It’s no secret how exhaustive this business can be, but remember why you’re there - because you love it. Bring your best self into each room and always make the time to breathe and assess (I love the few seconds I’m in the elevator, personally).