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Why I wrote my own drama school audition piece.

Updated: Mar 1

I got into a top drama school (UCSD MFA) with zero, nada, none, acting experience at the age of 30 as a woman. Yes, I am adding my gender because I believe we all know this industry treats women differently from our male colleagues.


With zero experience I mean no drama lessons in high school, never done a single play in my life, the only drama work I did was reenacting Bollywood from my mom's living room and living like a chameleon as a Muslim teenager.

Writing my own piece, writing a killer statement and finding pieces that truly fit my unique experience is the personal work I did to prepare myself before getting coaching.

Then, the great How To Get Into Drama School coaches helped me with the craft, to develop and refine the monologues and to stay true to myself (instead of perform a Shakespeare poem). But we'll save those juicy coaching insights for another post!

In this post I'd like to elaborate on why I wrote my own drama school audition piece!

Reason 1 - I always knew I wanted to create my own work.

It was important to me to be honest about my artistic ambitions by doing a self-written piece. I wanted to be transparent to these schools about who I am - someone with an opinion and a unique background.

If they still like me after this, that means we're a match. If however they're only looking for people to mold, then the relationship would make the both of us very unhappy. Don't hide yourself to fit their mold, it's gonna be hard to keep up with that for 3 full years.

Reason 2 - It was hard to find a piece

I had so much trouble finding a piece that fit all my complexities yet I was determined to present all my facets. A self-written piece was the only way to do so for me.

Reason 3 - With 0 experience, I needed something to set me apart.

Trust that (almost) all audition panels gave me a snobby look when I introduced the piece as "self-written" but once they heard it, they appreciated and understood the work and with that myself as an artist on a much deeper level. 

Reason 4 - I needed a piece I could easily access emotionally.

With 0 experience in the craft I needed a piece that was easily accessible to my inner life, emotions and physicality.

Doing a self-written piece made my prep easier in a way, it was about my own life for which I had real memories, triggers, needs, objectives, fears, etc. 

Reason 5 - I like to share my work.

My self-written piece affected various audition panels. I got into some of these schools, not all. But what I do know is that I shared a very unique story to people that have decision making power.

I gave them a glimpse into the layered existence of people with my underrepresented background. That in itself is doing the work I aim to do as an artist. Take that win, even if you don't get in. 

A special note to all the minorities, women, Muslims, queers, refugees: Trust yourself. You deserve to be there. Your story is worthy of telling.

Think about how many movies exist about straight white people falling in love. There's an endless sea of stories to be told about our unique experiences.

Enjoy and support each other.

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