A critically acclaimed documentary gave Australian actors a chance to reflect on their own audition experiences
On Monday evening the Equity Foundation presented a free screening of ‘Showing Up’ to its members at the State Library NSW. ‘Showing Up’ is a documentary shot by husband and wife creative team Riad Galayini and James Morrison, which asks actors to divulge some of their most personal experiences in the audition room, what processes they go through and how it changes them. Some of the world’s most respected actors open up about how they achieve what they most want in life. Artists interviewed include Kristin Chenoweth, Richard Griffiths, Zoe Kazan, Nathan Lane, Chris Messina, Sam Rockwell, Bill Irwin and Eli Wallach.
Following the screening, Sydney Actors Equity members were invited to discuss their thoughts on the film, their own experiences with the auditioning processes as well as any other issues the film raised. There was a lively discussion moderated by a member of Equity’s National Performers Committee, Glen Hazeldine, about the different standards and expectations between the British system of auditioning and the US, which the Australian model is moving towards. In the British system there is not an expectation to ‘dress up’ for the role, but rather to dress plainly to have your skills come through. The US model largely requires actors to create a certain air of the character in the way they appear. It was suggested that women do have to pay a lot more before they even get to the audition because of grooming expectations, this point largely agreed upon among members in the audience.
A question was raised about the popularity of self testing for auditioning in recent years. How frustrating it is for actors to critique themselves, to chose a ‘good’ tape and then send it in, without knowing if it was the right one. Hazeldine suggested that this could be resolved by having someone who’s opinion you trust to help you make the decision, to act as your third eye.
By the end of the evening the discussion turned to actors’ own learnings from the audition process. Members of the audience were adamant that the formula is… there is no formula. Actors just have to find a way to maintain their self confidence through the process to get through it.
To find out more about 'Showing Up' or to watch the trailer, head to http://bit.ly/1bGiXR1
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