Feedback on Taped Auditions and Attrition

So, last week, we took a look at an email from an actor who was hoping to score an audition for Shrek the Musical. We talked both about the timing of sides showing up at (and what that means) and the emergence of audition footage. Well, you know how I love a follow-up email! Or two! 🙂

Thank you Bonnie!

I needed to see another perspective, your advice and outlook cleared up my confusion about the Shrek auditions. So, thank you for your advice!

Follow-up: I got an audition for Shrek. They called me Thursday afternoon and asked me to come down Friday morning, so they emailed me the sides and I took the Chinatown bus to get to NYC.

I auditioned for the director and casting director, and they worked with me for about a half hour. (I sang the song like five times, and read each of the sides twice.)

They didn’t offer a callback, but Jason (Moore) took a lot of notes as I worked. It was a great experience, and my first time auditioning for a Broadway show outside of an EPA (which I’ve been to like 500 of).

Your column is great, I really appreciate you taking the time to put all this information out there for us actors. Thanks again for your help and advice!

Adam Kern

Yay!!! I love a happy ending! Congratulations on the audition and the quality time with those high-profile folks. That’s a huge “win” and I’m thrilled to know you got in the room at all. Awesome! Remember, you NEVER know where those relationships are going to pay off down the line. Stay in touch with the team and keep doing good work. And thank you for the follow-up!

Now, here’s an email asking for more info about that whole auditioning thing.

Hi Bonnie,

I read your column today where you talked about auditioning. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. What equipment do we need to do this? Do the actors find someone to read their sides with them on the audition tape? Or are the sides built for this kind of read… monologues? Do we have to sign up for You Tube usage/auditions/accounts?


You will have to sign up for a You Tube account in order to upload footage to a casting director’s private channel or group at that site. But some of us are also open to having you email us links to your audition footage wherever you have it stored online (,, the Breakdown Services’ audition services video hosting area, your own personal website, etc.), so there are other options as well.

As for what you need in terms of technology, some actors have shot audition footage for me using the video capabilities built into their cell phones! Others have bought a disposable camcorder (Yes! Disposable) and had Best Buy do the processing and uploading for them! Still other actors will use any standard, consumer-grade camcorder. And at the “high-end” of the spectrum, there’s the actor who will pay a service to tape her audition in a studio, then upload the footage as a part of that service.

So, there are several options (for all sorts of financial levels of investment) and for those who are technophobic, there’s always the, “Grab a friend who is more tech savvy,” route. Buy him lunch and have him shoot, edit, and upload your audition. Heck, maybe he’s right for a role in the project too! You never know!

Most of the sides I’ve seen (and certainly almost all of the ones I’ve put out there for actors to self-tape) have been two-person scenes, which would mean you’d need a reader to help you out. Again, great chance to buy lunch for a friend who has a gift for videography and uploading in exchange for helping you out for a few minutes one afternoon.

And finally, one last follow-up email. This one is regarding a previous column called “Attrition.”

Hi Bonnie ~

You won’t remember me, but that’s immaterial here. I really just want to thank you for the article you wrote (which I only just saw five minutes ago) titled, “Attrition.” This is a very poignant article, with many relevant points — especially now. With the writers strike, a number of my fellow thespians had grown despondent, but are taking heart with my good fortune of late.

I do believe that only through sticking around long enough, can things be allowed to come around. I am, of course, speaking for the majority of us who don’t get “picked up” right off the arriving flight to LAX! It is now exactly three years since I started (fairly green, and with no training to speak of) here in LA.

To make a short story unbearable, last week I had three auditions: one from a hard-copy drop (posted on Actors Access), one called me from AFI, and another found me on Now Casting. I’ve been cast in all three, two of them for bigger roles than the ones for which I auditioned (the two webisode shows that called me). Why now? Who knows? It’s been quiet for me since I started: one TV co-star role for each of the first two years, and nothing in all of last year (network TV and film-wise). Still plugging on, I knew I would succeed through tenacity and working my plan daily to achieve my goals.

I had three more auditions this week, and there’s another next Friday.

The thing I will always keep in mind is something Neil Patrick Harris once said in an interview a few years ago: “You have to remember that success in this business comes in waves.” His career is an example of this. Patrick (coincidence?!) Dempsey’s is another. Only a few really “make it big,” and of them only a handful stay at the top after peaking.

Dammit! This was supposed to be a quick thank you note. I am sorry about this. If you read this far, congratulations on your patience, and thanks for giving this your attention.

Kind regards and peace,

Love it! Keep ’em comin’, folks. I know our readers enjoy sharing in your process and experience. I sure do!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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