Monday, November 8, 2010

Character Performer Auditions

So it's at the time during our College Program when we can apply for an extension to stay through the spring semester until May. You can request to stay in the same role you currently have, you can request a new role, or you can audition to be a character performer.

Since I come from a theatre background, and I want to get my foot in the door within the entertainment department, I decided to audition to be a character performer. Given my tall height, I had a feeling I might have a good chance of getting through the auditions, since most of it is purely based on height.

So last Wednesday morning, I went to the College Program extension auditions at the Animal Kingdom rehearsal facility. I got there at 8 am, and left at 1:45 pm. It was a long process with a LOT of sitting and waiting.

About 330 people auditioned. After filling out some paperwork, being measured and having our picture taken, we were taught a simple dance routine. It was basically marching and jazz squares with some basic hand movements. In groups of four, we performed the four counts of 8 routine to a group of 3 casting directors. After we went, we were taken into a room and told to wait.

After 30 minutes or so of waiting, a casting director came in and started calling numbers. When your number was called, you were asked to leave the room. After they called out a bunch of numbers, there were only about 17 of us in the room (there were about 100 or so in the room to begin with, as they split us up into different rooms.) I'm not sure exactly what happened with everybody whose number was called, but I'm assuming they were sent home from there.

After they had made their first round of cuts, there were maybe 100 of us left. They took us into a room and taught us a second, more intense dance routine. The first few counts of eight weren't bad; but the second half of the routine was more technical and proved difficult for most people. But they weren't looking to see how good or bad we were at the routine. It still had a lot to do with height. But if we did have good dance skills, then we might also be considered for parades or more dance-intesive roles.

Along with our dance routine, we had to pantomime planting a tree as well as pantomime being a monkey. Then we put it all together: two counts of 8 planting a tree, the dance routine, two counts of 8 being a monkey, and the dance routine once again. This is what we would perform in front of the casting directors.

Once everybody had learned the routine and practiced a number of time, we all left the room and lined up in the hall. They then took us in groups of 9 to perform our routine in front of 3 casting directors. It wasn't too bad. Everybody had a positive attitude, and I didn't feel like I was being judged. All of us were in the same boat, and we all felt lucky to have made it past the first round of cuts.

So after we went in front of the casting directors, we were told to wait in the main rehearsal room until further instruction. We just kept sitting and waiting. Sitting and waiting. After about 40 minutes or so of waiting, one of the coordinators came out and started calling people's numbers. A small group would go into another hallway and return with pieces of paper, and then leave. I believe most of these people didn't make the cut, most likely due to their height being too common.

After they kept sending home small groups of people, there were about 25-30 of us left. They took us all into a hallway and explained to us that we are in the "pool" for potential character performers! So we made it all the way to the end of the audition process. Now we aren't guaranteed a role by any means. But once they offer extensions to current character performers and figure out how many open slots are available in each height range, they will then turn to the pool and pick from there. So I'm definitely feeling optimistic about being extended as a character performer! Sometimes it helps to be tall!


Abigail Nora said...

I was in one of the first groups called back and they told us we were in the pool too...

Corri said...

congrats! I just got in as a character performer for the spring program

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