Sunday, June 03, 2007

Knowing your Business

Yesterday, Tim auditioned for a movie. It's a local independent film, a musical comedy being shot in Longmont, so it sounded like it should be fun.

The audition consisted of your usual monologue and solo, which every musical theater actor is familiar with.

Tim is a student of his business. Every aspect of it, not just singing on stage. He studies actors. He studies music. He studies everything.

So when he came back and told me what he'd done with his audition, I was a little stunned. It went against all my instincts. I have only musical theater training--no film. My inclination when facing that situation would have been to sing a musical theater song that showed off my voice best, and then do a monologue that showed off my comic potential. Something written to be funny.

Tim performed Shakespeare, sloooooowly and deliberately, with little emotion, while chewing gum (on purpose). Then he sang a hard rock song about bacon that he wrote for one of his groups.

When I heard that, I have to admit that it all sounded funny but I bet he blew the audition. My first reaction.

But the auditioners kept asking him to read a little of this character, and a little of that character, and more of this one but try it this way, etc. And they told him that, of all the things he could have sung, the bacon song was actually quite like the music that is going to be in the film. Go figure.

Last night, they emailed and offered him a major singing role in the film--one with the hardest songs.

Tim didn't do any of those things haphazardly or from laziness. Instead, he, as a student of the industry, understood not only what filmmakers need, but also what catches someone's eye, what everyone else would likely be doing with their audition (which is what I would have done), how to perform many different kinds of comedy, the balance between restraint and over-the-topness required for film (as opposed to musical theater), how to show off his voice in several ways, etc. He also understood that most film actors probably don't sing, and most singing actors probably don't understand how to act on camera. To put it succinctly, he did his research and nailed the audition.

Goes to show that knowing your job is as important as the talents you have.

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