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.
- 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.
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