Auditioning- Finding Auditions

At some point, I’ll get around to finishing Faust. This will happen perhaps after I stop getting spam from individuals who think we had great times together at a school I never attended in a state I may or may not have even visited. Enjoy that fantasy, spammerbot.

I’ve been meaning to talk about auditions and auditioning, but there more to cover than I can even begin to fathom. This crap takes effort. Not only that, it’s all a Goldilocks riddle where we search endlessly for that “just right” balance. There’s no easy fix on this one. Still, we have to start somewhere. So, you’re a newbie singer or you’re new to the area and you want to find some auditions. What do you do?

Here are some things you can do, listed in order of most lazy to most effort.

  1. Subscribe to an audition newsletter like Yaptracker

The Good: Services like Yaptracker find auditions for you and may even send them directly to your inbox. They may also provide services for organizing and keeping track of auditions or submitting materials online. Just sign up and wait for an opportunity that looks good.

The Bad: Firstly, you have to pay for these services and it isn’t as if singing isn’t already an expensive hobby/would-be-profession. You’re not just paying for the listings that interest you but for a whole bunch of listings that don’t. Also, most of these publications don’t vet their listings at all, so it’s your job to make sure you don’t get scammed.

The Ugly: Well, there are two problems. Firstly, not all of those listings you see on your Yaptracker e-mail were actually submitted to Yaptracker. That means you’ll be getting some notices late and some companies really aren’t interested in submissions from a listing they never place… speaking of which, any audition listing that looks halfway decent gets deluged by submissions. That means auditions fill up very fast and it isn’t unusual to walk into a local audition for a low-paying-gig only to find a room full of folks with wheelie suitcases who flew in because we’re all desperate for work. Yep.

2. Join a Facebook Group or Forum

The Good: These groups are free, so that’s good. You’ll also have chance to make contact with lots of other folks who do what you do and may have advice or help to offer. It’s a way to connect with other folks who may be near your area or know your area and can put you on the right track.

The Bad: Well, you get what you pay for. Sometimes you get great advice for free. Sometimes you get terrible advice for free. Sometimes you get no advice for free.

The Ugly: There are some nasty, bitter, unpleasant and/or flat out insane people online. I have met some of my best friends through online singer groups but I have also had to deal with some of the meanest and most hurtful people… and yes, a couple of total wackos who literally cannot control their urge to act like assholes whenever they think they can get away with it. I’ve also noticed that success tends to generate more hateful spewage and singers who are going somewhere usually end up having to distance themselves from these types of boards (which is a far better option than deciding to anonymously flame someone who didn’t like the movie you were in only to get yourself outed and publicly embarrassed and yes this really happened on a Broadway board.)

3. Join a local Facebook or Google group

The Good: In a local group, you’ll hear about local auditions which means more information you can actually use. Depending on the type of group, there may be a level of trust among members which will make people more comfortable with sharing last minute opportunities, closed group opportunities (stuff that is being intentionally kept away from random website visitors and audition newsletters) and direct contact information.

The Bad: Not all of these groups are easy to find. I learned about one through word of mouth and another group randomly added me in as a member because they knew who I was. When you’re new to performing or new to an area, you don’t have access to that information. Google groups can be a pain because you can end up wading through a lot of e-mails that you don’t need to find the ones that interest you.

The Ugly: Look, there’s not as much ugly here. As with many things, you’re still looking at listings that aren’t vetted, so you’re on your own to filter out what’s worthwhile and what isn’t. Also, many companies don’t reach out to these groups until there’s an opening that they’re desperate to fill, which is great if you’re a smoking hot bass who happens to be a great actor and has dance training but sucks if you’re female and double sucks if you’re a classical soprano.

4. Legwork

The Good: Doing your own legwork means that you’re much more likely to hear about auditions early enough to snag a good space. You can also find companies that aren’t being deluged with hundreds of applicants or companies that don’t hold regular auditions but are happy to hear singers from time to time.

The Bad: This requires effort. Lots of time and effort and using your brain. You have to figure out what companies are in your area (try looking in a newspaper for upcoming events and mark down the groups you want to investigate) then you have bookmark them and check up on them regularly. It’s a pain.

The Ugly: You’re going to put in a lot of time and effort for a limited return. A lot of places don’t list auditions at all, which means you have to send out cold e-mails which may or may not get a response. For all you know, you’re spending hours (and money if you send out physical materials) just to end up in the trash file over and over again. When you do get a rejection, they’re usually polite but it still stings a bit. Thanks for your resume but we have no interest in you. Ouch.

Bonus: In case you’re wondering how to start your legwork:

-Local newspaper performance and events listings

-Google search of your local cities plus theatre/opera/etc.

-Bulletin boards at local music stores, colleges with music departments, music schools

-Look up theaters in the area and see which companies are performing there

-If you get an audition, keep an eye out for bulletin boards, local performing arts magazines, local performing arts newsletters and so on

-Go to a performance in your genre of choice and read all the performers’ bios then research those groups to see if they still exist and if you can audition for them

 

Opera Abridged for Modern Audiences- Faust Act II

Opera Abridged for Modern Audiences

Faust Act II unless there was no intermission which would make it Act I, Scene 2

Some generic town, sort of like in Beauty and the Beast because that’s the set we rented

Wagner: *sings a drinking song*

Chorus: Drink drink drinkety drink!

The audience: *checks off a square on their 19th Century French Opera bingo cards “drinking song”*

Soldiers: Drink! Girls! Drink!

Chorus: Drink drink drinkety drink!

enter Valentin

Valentin: I’m so glad I have this protective charm that my sister gave me, which I definitely won’t throw away at the worst possible time.

Wagner: What’s up, Valentin?

Valentin: Oh nothing, just indulging in my creepy obsession with my sister, Marguerite, before I head off to whatever war we’re having right now.

Siebel: Don’t worry, I’ll be here to stalk protect her while you’re gone.

Chorus: We’ll help you because apparently everyone in this town spends their free time stalking Marguerite.

Valentin: *aria “While I’m away, I’ll be thinking weird creepy thoughts about my sister.”*

Wagner: And people wonder why I drink so much. So, a cat and a rat walk into a bar…

Mephistopheles: Yo.

Wagner: …

Mephistopheles: I’m just a random stranger who dropped by to sing a song for some reason. Totally normal. Nothing at all creepy about this.

Mephistopheles: *aria “Evil rules, God drools”*

Chorus: Yay for evil songs!

Valentin: What a weirdo.

Wagner: I need another drink.

Mephistopheles: By the way, I just read your palm and it says you’ll be unlucky. You’ll probably die or something.

Wagner: Meh.

Chorus: *does not care*

Mephistopheles: You’re also cursed, Siebel, and stop creeping on Marguerite.

Siebel: Gack!

Valentin: No one creeps on my sister but me!

Chorus: *still does not care*

Mephistopheles: Also, this wine sucks. Let me fix that up for you.

*Mephistopheles turns the wine into… better wine*

Mephistopheles: To Marguerite!

Valentin: What is wrong with you, dude???

Chorus: OMG this dude is into fancy wine. KILL HIM!!!!!!!

Valentin: Sword stab!

Mephistopheles: *causes Valentin’s prop sword to break*

Valentin: *uses broken sword as a crucifix*

Mephistopheles: OMG it’s like kryptonite for evil! I’m melting… melting… what a world…

The chorus leaves for some reason

Faust enters

Faust: What did I miss?

Mephistopheles: Just some chorus music and the baritone’s aria. How about we head for Vegas?

Faust: First you have to hook me up with that hot chick you showed me.

Mephistopheles: About that… have you considered that she might not be into you?

Faust: Ppppppft I’m the lead tenor. Of course, she’ll be into me.

Mephistopheles: If you say so, dude. Anyways, the chorus is coming back and they kind of hate me for some reason, so we should clear center stage.

Chorus: *sings “We are waltzing because that’s how we roll in this type of opera”

Audience: *marks another square on their 19th Century French Opera bingo cards “waltz song” if there are ballet dancers, that’s another square “random ballet dancers for no good reason”*

Mephistopheles: Hey, look at all these cute chicks…

Faust: Shut up, I’m stalking here.

Siebel: Yeah, shut up, we’re stalking here.

Marguerite enters

Faust: Hey baby, wanna hang out?

Marguerite: Ew. No. Bye.

Marguerite leaves

Faust: Being shut down makes me love her even more!

Mephistopheles: *facepalm*

Chorus: OMG Marguerite totally shut down that guy. What a frigid bitch! Oh well, let’s waltz!

The Audience: *needs a drink*

Intermission

 

Opera Abridged for Modern Audiences- Faust Act I

Faust Abridged for Modern Audiences

Act I … or Act I, Scene I depending on when the intermissions are scheduled

Faust: *Aria: It sucks to be me.*

Offstage chorus: Everything is awesome!

Faust: Being old sucks. I wish I was dead.

Offstage chorus: Everything is awesome! Yay!

Faust: I hate you people. Also, if Satan wants to show up, now would be a pretty good time.

*smoke effects… hopefully…*

Mephistopheles: Yo!

The Orchestra: *coughs*

The Tech Crew: *is happy because if the orchestra is asphyxiating then the smoke effects worked perfectly*

Faust: Gah! *hides*

Mephistopheles: Don’t look so surprised, man. So, I’ve got the standard wealth, power, fame and video games sluts packages ready to go. What’s your kink?

Faust: No, no, no and what is wrong with you, you creeper.

Mephistofeles: Okay, fine. What do you want, then?

Faust: Youth.

Mefistofeles: Gotcha covered. Sign here.

Faust: Everything is awesome! Wait… so what do you want in return?

The audience: *wonders why Faust doesn’t know how this deal works, because they all know exactly what’s coming*

Mefistofeles: It won’t cost much, just your… soul.

Faust: Seriously? No way. That is crappy deal.

The audience: Yes. Yes, it is.

Mefistofeles: How about I throw in a leading soprano?

Marguerite: *appears somewhere on stage in some form or other*

Faust: Despite having never met this chick, I am now totally in love with her and for some reason I think that letting Satan force a complete stranger into a relationship with me is an excellent idea. Where do I sign?

Faust: *signs contract*

Mephistofeles: *makes Faust young again through the magic of a lighting cue and a costume change*

Faust: Woohoo! Let’s go find that woman I have never ever met so I can get down!

Mephistofeles: I completely endorse this terrible idea. Let’s roll!

Curtain: *falls*

Audience: *facepalms*