Training Too Many

There has recently been talk of how to address the disproportionately large number of freshly trained actors entering the industry every year. Equity President Malcolm Sinclair asserted: “Compared to when I started there are so many more drama schools and university courses,” Mr Sinclair said. “There are far more young actors coming out and it feels like there is less work around. There are too many actors and too few jobs.” The Stage reported that a Casting Call Pro survey found that over three quarters of actors earn less than £5,000 a year from the trade they trained for.

As Susan Elkin wrote in The Stage: “It simply wouldn’t be tolerated in other professions… Nobody embarks on medical training, an accountancy degree or business management training in the knowledge that she or he is highly unlikely ever to be able to make a living from it. It simply isn’t how training and work operates in a sensible world.” She advocated institutions becoming even more selective than they already are: ” “I think colleges should be contracting not expanding”. It goes without saying that those who train at accredited drama schools have a far higher chance of successfully making a living as an actor than those who attend newer university drama courses.It’s important to assert that it isn’t the nature of training that is under attack, but the proliferation of newer establishments that purport to offer professional training without accreditation. The importance of picking the right drama school is paramount to ensure durability in the profession and to avoid “effectively being conned by a numbers game”.

When interviewed by Ideastap, Adrian Lester emphasised the importance of training: “Always always always work on your weaknesses. When I left school I didn’t really have a great understanding of Shakespeare and I knew I wanted to be the kind of actor that could handle that. So, I made a conscious effort to work on my weakness which was Shakespeare and the eloquence of emotion that it provided. A few years ago, I turned around and looked at my career so far and realised that I had been regarded as a modern Shakespearean actor.”
With words like “finite”, “saturated” and “competition” routinely used to describe the nature of the industry, vocational training at top drama schools is more important than ever. Audition Doctor’s high success rate is why so many are beginning their training with Tilly.
Lester went onto comment on how “work can get stale if you are doing a long run”. The protracted length between auditions means that students often lose momentum. Audition Doctor sessions dotted regularly between each audition mean that many students have found that their auditions have improved exponentially and consequently, so have their recalls.Lester counselled: “The best way to keep things fresh is to understand why your character is saying what he’s saying. Not just what words you have to say, that’s important but it’s not as important as why they’re saying it. If you understand why…then you can use the words that you speak to try and achieve your objective in slightly different ways every night. No one knows what’s going to happen to them at any given moment, yet actors will say “Well this happens in scene 12 so in scene 10 I have to prepare for it. No you don’t. What happens in scene 12 should be as much of a surprise to you as the audience. Maybe then you’ll surprise yourself.”

Audition Doctor sessions ensure that students go into every audition prepared – not just in terms of understanding the text and their character, but equally in terms of being prepared for the possibility of spontaneous discovery.

Audition Doctor Lessons – Tackling the Bard and More

While Adrian Lester has been getting rave reviews in Othello at the National, it seems that someone else in the public eye is also looking to tackle one of the greatest roles in British theatrical history. Mike Tyson has announced that he is temporarily foregoing his main preoccupations of boxing, raping and cannibalism to try his hand at Othello – or in his words “that black guy”. He articulately predicts that the experience will be simply “awesome”.

“My career as an actor has blossomed,” he said. “I never considered myself a comedian or actor, even though I was in movies and shows helping out friends … a lot of my friends are actors and directors and they say: ‘Mike, we need you to concentrate and take it seriously.’ They say my skills are horrible, but I have the natural timings for it. I am working on my skills.”

Mike’s friends are right. Even though you have all the natural timing in the world, skills need to be sharpened and developed if you want to be taken seriously as an actor. Appearing in Passion Play, Zoe Wanamaker says that returning to the West End is “nerve-racking”; the hardest part is the challenge of trying to attain perfection for six nights a week and two matinees. “You want people to love you and think you’re marvellous and that kind of stuff.”

But the audience can only think you’re marvellous if they trust in your artistic abilities and if you, as an actor, are confident in your proficiency. Drama school is where you acquire the technique which will allow you to begin to master the craft. Although some actors who haven’t been to drama school say that not going has given them the gift of childish amateurism, the verbal, physical and emotional dexterity that actors practice seemingly effortlessly onstage is, in reality, the result of in-depth professional training. Audition Doctor sessions are invaluable in that they give you concentrated blocks of time to focus just on you. Whether you have problems with accessing a particular emotion or are unsure of the emotional journey of the character, Audition Doctor allows you to tackle your own specific queries.

Aside from helping people with public speaking and drama school applicants, Audition Doctor also works with professional actors for auditions. Carey Mulligan spoke about her “crazy” audition for The Great Gatsby in The Telegraph – “It was in a loft somewhere in New York and usually auditions are just a camera, you and the casting director, or whatever. This was at least three cameras, one 3-D camera, one guy walking around with a camera and Baz had a hand-held one. Then there were were two photographers taking pictures of the whole process.”

Auditions can be nerve-wracking and unpredictable which is why coming to Audition Doctor will ensure that you enter the audition space feeling as calm and clear-headed as you can possibly be in the circumstances. As a result, you will not squander your audition no matter how many cameras and eyes are focused on you.