Not Available; Should I Still Audition?

May I go to an audition for something when I already know I’m not available for it? I have a funny feeling that the answer is a resounding NO, but I would LOVE to be out there getting audition experience and being seen and I would hate to be missing opportunities because I listened to the negative little voice in my head. So I thought I would check. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience — it’s making me a better actor!

I’ve written before about the importance of letting producers, directors, and casting directors know up front that you have issues of availability. Absolutely, we struggle with falling in love with the right actor and then learning he or she is not available to us for the project. It’s disrespectful and potentially hazardous to your reputation in the industry to do this sort of thing too much.

That said, you mentioned in the part of your email that I didn’t include above that you are at the beginning stages of your career, trying to get experience in community theatre and smaller local opportunities. Therefore, I will absolutely recommend that you hit every open call available to you! If you are in a market that has a few venues for non-professional entertainment (community theatre, church pageants, student films, cable access productions, etc.), by all means, you should get out there and “do the rounds.” As a matter of respect for everyone involved, however, you should also indicate at the time of your audition what your schedule conflicts may be. That’s the best way to take care of yourself (getting experience with auditioning) and the producers (letting them know your status). Keep in mind that you may be told at the time you sign in with that schedule information that it would be better for you to skip the audition. If that happens, say thank you and ask to be informed about the next audition coming up, for future reference. Be respectful and professional and you should be just fine.

Another great way to get a taste of the auditioning experience without having to worry about your schedule conflicts would be to volunteer to help out at auditions. Especially in theatre, this can be extremely beneficial to a beginning actor. You will have a chance to see many different auditions as well as some of the process that the producers, directors, writers, and casting directors go through in selecting cast members. Even if you only work the sign-in sheet the first time you volunteer, you’ll be able to see dozens of headshots and resumés, meet fellow actors in your area, and talk about the business — where everyone trains, works out, is repped, etc.

Bottom line: Be forthright with your limitations and be willing to start at the lowest rung of the ladder to get the experiences you crave. You’ll learn a great deal without damaging any relationships that could make the difference in whether you’re able to work in the industry in the future! Good luck to you. Let me know how it goes!

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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