While developing the platform Audition Source, I have had a multitude of bursts in ideas for other ways I'd love to have Audition Source be useful to the performing arts community. This article is going to be the beginning of a multi-part series on my own Audition Theory I've developed. It will help to explain why I created this site and how I structured the database within. I think breaking down these following theories will help actors make smarter audition choices.
To start I'd like to cite and develop a few definitions of terms that are used on this site. The first definition I want to address is for "audition." What is an audition? Well, I thought, who better to decide that than the good ol' dictionary? Pulled from Google's search for the word "audition," I found an excellent definition that backs up things I inherently thought already involving how to best select your material. It's right there when you read the text:
noun: audition; plural noun: auditions
verb: audition; 3rd person present: auditions; past tense: auditioned; past participle: auditioned; gerund or present participle: auditioning
late 16th century (in the sense ‘power of hearing or listening’): from Latin auditio(n)-, from audire ‘hear.’ The current sense of the noun dates from the late 19th century."
Did you see it when you were reading? The noun definition states:
"An INTERVIEW for a particular role or JOB... a practical DEMONSTRATION of candidate's SUITABILITY and SKILL."
The verb portion of the definition also shows how auditions are perceived from the casting side of it: "assess the suitability of (someone) for a role." I also appreciate seeing the latin origins of audition as well. "The Power of Hearing or Listening." I would also add on the power of sight and imagination. Since it requires the development of vision whether you are performing in or hosting an audition.
So an audition is essentially a job interview. Being a good auditioner, just like being a good interviewee, isn't a natural talent but a honed and acquired skill. It also requires a knowledge of or an access to knowledge of a wide range of material, spread across a wide spectrum of sources including on-line searches, libraries and music stores.
My goal with Audition Source is to provide actors access to knowledge about the materials they need to help them land a great job in a field they work so passionately hard for, sometimes just for the love of performing and not for monetary reasons. Whether it is paid or unpaid work, nearly everyone auditions unless you are a household name like Bette Midler, (but you know if she did audition, it would knock a casting director’s socks off.)
So let me combine both of those definitions to help reframe how I'm exploring auditions and why it supports what is utilizes in Audition Source's database.
Redefined, "Auditioning is an assessment and/or interview involving a practical demonstration of suitability and skill for a particular role or job."
With this definition in mind, a character breakdown (More on Character Breakdowns later) in an audition listing, is like a job description. This connects to a theory I have that the best way to decide what to do for an audition is to find material that uses common attributes to any of the information provided on the audition notice. This information can include any of the following categories used in the database I'm creating: Genre, Show Title, Artists Involved, Vocal Range, Special Skills or Talents Required. An actor can utilize any combination of these clues found right in the audition notice to lead them in the direction of finding good relevant audition materials that appeal to them as well.
In the next few articles, I plan to go over some of the different methods I want to help you use for picking your audition material. A lot of this is common practice for many professional working actors, some of these methods are fairly new. I plan on covering each category used in this site a reference guide. I plan to make updates to these articles periodically in accordance with new discoveries made as Audition Source grows with the help of readers like you.
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Thanks for reading, and break a leg!
Founder of Audition Source