Let me tell you a little bit about what an improv audition is like. I happened to have one yesterday at Second City. And thanks to all of the awesome comments you left on this post, I went in there feeling confident and relaxed. I wasn't necessarily confident I was going to nail it, I was confident I was going to have fun and just be excited I'm in a place where I get to do what I do. I may bitch about comedy a lot, but that's only because I love it so much.
Right when I got there I saw a lot of faces I recognized. I wasn't sure if I actually knew them, or just knew them from watching them perform somewhere, or was it just from Facebook? I had no idea. The improv world is a small world. You'll cross paths with everyone at least twice. And if you're single you'll probably cross more than paths... (That's according to my young single gal pals) Says the old engaged lady.
Anyway, there's two types of improv people- the loud ones who seem to be best friends with everyone and take it upon themselves to intimate a game of Zip, Zap, Zop. And then there's the quiet ones who seek out a safe corner to silently access the situation. I fall into the latter.
When it's time to start the audition you're brought on stage all at once. The lights are pretty bright, but if you look hard enough you can see the eyes of the people sitting in the audience who hold your future in their notebooks.
We say our names and are told to say "something interesting" about ourself. This first part is crucial. You don't want to try to say something funny, they can smell that a mile away. But you are in a comedy audition, so you have to be a little funny. But not too funny. But funny. But shit did I already ruin this audition before it even started?!? And that's a little glimpse inside my head at auditions.
After the intros, it's quick two person scenes. When your name is called you step out and one other person who wants to join you steps out as well. Then you start. You jump into a scene about whatever you want. And then you have about thirty seconds to apply every tool you've ever learned about improv to show your chops.
Listen. Yes and. Be real. Be honest. Do scene work. Don't be a talking head. Make it count. Show emotion. Say a name. State a relationship. Don't say too much. Don't say too little. Be a good actor. But don't act too much. Be a good scene partner. Don't deny. Play smart. Put down the broom. AND GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD.
About halfway through doing a scene in front of a stage full of talented people, where I get tongue tied and don't always have the best responses, I ask myself why I didn't just get into good old fashioned acting. You know, so I could have auditions with scripts. Wouldn't that be a lot easier? Yes, yes it would. But here I am in a scene trying to tell my husband I'm scared to have our twin baby girls because I think one is going to eat the other. Girls can be very nasty in the womb, I've heard. Carry on.
We then go on to do longer two person scenes and the time on stage while all eyes are on you can feel like a second or two hours. It's all an illusion. Time isn't real on stage.
When it's all said and done I have my usual post audition feeling. I wouldn't say it's a good feeling per say. It's more like a why didn't I do what I planned/hoped/prayed I would do kind of feeling.
This video might better sum up how I was feeling yesterday immediately after.
And that's what it's like to go through an improv audition. I'm going to be fine. We all are.
If you're a talent agent, please sign me.