Updated: Apr 6, 2020
It's not about being perfect, it's about being ready. So how do you show world-class B.F.A. acting programs you're ready?
Nobody was accepted to drama school because they did perfect in the audition. There is no perfect. Forget that you can be perfect, or that there is some "perfect" to hit.
Top drama schools accept people who are ready. Being ready is different than being perfect.
You can't convince anyone you're ready. You just ARE or you're NOT. And it comes through when you deliver great work.
Doing Great Work
There are 2 different types of work I'm referring to when it comes to college auditions...
The work you bring in
The work they do with you
Let's talk about the work you bring in first. The monologues you prepare.
There are different approaches to working one's monologues and ultimately delivering great work. And you've got to listen to yourself to know how best you do that.
How do you find the most freedom and depth in your work?
For me, I find new layers the more time I spend with something.
When I was preparing for college auditions, I spent a ton of time with my pieces.
Slacking on the work ethic means you're going to rely on something other (something weaker) than your quality of work to get accepted, and that's going to be apparent to auditors.
Let me ask you something. If you were a school and you sensed that someone was relying on a trick - charisma, excitement in the room, etc - to get accepted, would you call them back?
Probably not. They might be talented, but they're not ready. They're not respecting the work. Schools sense when someone is doing great work, and we all love when someone does great work. It's exciting! So, at the risk of sounding redundant, do great work in order to get accepted into top drama schools! Doing great work means:
you connect deeply with your pieces.
you commit fully to your choices
your choices are specific.
I got accepted to 7 out of the 7 schools I auditioned for. Running my pieces a lot frees me up to play and explore and see how different choices fit and feel on the monologue. Then getting feedback from coaches on those choices helps me understand how well I'm telling the story and where I can go even deeper.
I probably spent 1000+ hours exploring my pieces. To give you a perspective, that's about 3 hours per day for a whole year focusing on my college audition pieces. Always remember, it's art. There's endless things to find.
Next, it's about doing great work when they work with you in the room. And that's about letting your imagination lead the way.
Whether it's your initial audition or your call back, the schools that ultimately accept you will be giving you adjustments and working with you in the room. And that's the other place you need to deliver great work.
How do you deliver great work when they're working with you in the room? You listen to what they say, and commit fully to it with your entire imagination!
There are various things a school could ask you when they're working with you in the room. In my Juilliard audition, I was asked to change the setting of one of my monologues to my dead father's grave. Getting on my knees and imagining my father (who's still alive in real life) buried in the ground and delivering the monologue totally impacted me emotionally. I let it affect the words I was saying and the meaning behind them and fully committed to that new reality. No questions asked, nothing held back. And I got accepted to Juilliard, so that must have had something to do with it.
When they see that you can bring solid work in the room and then they see how responsive your imagination is to the adjustments they give you, that shows that you're ready for world-class acting training.
And you've got to be 100% satisfied with delivering that, whether or not you get accepted to that particular program that year, because doing great work is ultimately the best you can offer!
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