'I'm not a great fan of reviews, as all those I get sent by actors are always glowing - with not a bad or vaguely negative word in sight. They might as well send a letter from their Mother, saying 'I think my Son / Daughter is the greatest actor in the world'. So we're bowing to pressure and including this page... feel free to contribute your thoughts on the Forum, and, if they're positive enough, they might get included here!'
© The Drama Student 2010
Mark Shenton, July 2009
In my experience, attending an audition is a nerve-racking business, whichever side of the table you sit. Having attended many of these sessions both as performer and Artistic Director, my preference was to cast plays through a workshopping process, which (I hope) was less stressful for everyone. However, workshopping is time-consuming, and the age-old method of casting remains the preferred model. Hence, any guidance for performers must be useful and this book meets the task head-on, whether the audition be for drama school, television, voice work, classical or contemporary theatre - and even includes advice on workshops.
Richard Evans has cast a wide variety of productions in all kinds of media, as well as working as an actor. Divided into three sections, his book takes you through the Before, During and After of auditions, giving ample advice for preparation, including where to find auditions, getting an agent, what to wear and even (if you are really desperate) how to gatecrash! The main section gives practical advice for what to do during the audition, covering the wide variety of media that you may come across, with suggestions for interview technique, how to cope with nerves and (in rare circumstances) the casting couch .The final section has tips on negotiating your contract with or without an agent, making sure that the job is suitable for you and how to deal with rejection. The book is full of practical tips, is fun to read and while you may not lose your nerves completely, you will feel much better prepared after reading it.
Published by Routledge in May 2009, Auditions - A Practical Guide retails at £15.99.
Auditions: A Practical Guide by Richard Evans
Reviewed by Jane Williamson
I am not afraid to admit that the very thought of auditions scares the living daylights out of me. Unfortunately, as a first year drama student, I will have to go through my fair share of them, and that’s even before I step into the real industry. The questions are endless: what do I do? Say? Wear? What if I make a mistake? Where do I find auditions in the first place? Is there really any point to them? Auditions: A Practical Guide does exactly what it says on the front cover, offering a comprehensive and reassuring guide to the whole terrifying and frustrating process.
Evans breaks down the auditions into three sections: before, during and after, and takes the reader gently through the whole scenario, offering advice, techniques, tips and most importantly of all, a hefty dose of common sense and reassurance. The chapters are short and snappy, with a checklist at the end summarising the most important points. A wide range of situations is covered from musical theatre, to film tests to radio drama as well as looking at finding agents, how to deal with rejection and if you are ever so lucky, turning down work. It is certainly the most comprehensive guide on this subject that I have ever come across.
It’s also very readable. Evans peppers his advice with anecdotes and examples from his own substantial personal experience. This is not an anonymous jobbing writer scribbling away to some publisher’s brief. Evans has himself been through the mill of the audition process many times, first as an actor and later as a casting director. In short, he knows his stuff.
The book is certainly geared more towards those actors who are already working, or about to start work in the industry, as it mostly deals with finding paid, professional jobs. Professional actors may however, find it patronising in places as Evans sometimes points out the really obvious, presuming a total lack of common sense on the part of his reader. But on the whole he takes you through a fascinating journey. Evans really made me consider all the possibilities that could be thrown at me in an audition and allowed me to start to gauge how well I could cope with them and how I could start to improve.
Arguably, I don’t need to bother with any of this just yet, as I still have two-and-a-half years to go on my drama course and the world of professional theatre is still a distant dream. However, from reading this book, I have gained some confidence from knowing that Evans himself once had the same fears and questions as me. He has made the prospect of entering a rather daunting industry seems more approachable and achievable.
Worth a Read: Theatre Books Round-up - July 2009
Date: 15 July 2009
This month’s new books are full of surprises. Dawn French’s memoir, Dear Fatty, now out in paperback, reveals the comic’s talent for the serious, while there’s been a possible publishing first: a guide for actors on how to gatecrash an audition. It’s by Richard Evans, the casting director of The Rat Pack in the West End. Does he know what he’s let himself in for? I should add that Evans also gives some sensible advice on what to do when you get invited to an audition. We’ve conveniently featured two collections of Shakespearean monologues so you can test his techniques.
Auditions by Richard Evans
Covering almost all situations from what to do if you’re dyslexic to how to audition in a cupboard (it’s not inconceivable, apparently), Evans – who’s been a casting director for the past 20 years and worked on the latest Rat Pack in the West End – comes across as personable and enthusiastic. While much of his advice, such as research the part you want and think positively, is obvious, Evans is equally confident on more controversial ground. He devotes a chapter, for example, to gatecrashing: ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. And in another on what to wear, he recommends slipping on a wedding ring if the character you’re going for is married, adding ‘make sure it doesn’t turn your finger green’ (presumably if it’s too tight). His health warning is at least sensible, unless you want to play Shrek. No, really this guide is reassuringly good.
By Laura Silverman – Theatregoer Reporter
© The Drama Student 2009
Elaine Paige mentioned the book on her BBC Radio 2 Sunday Musical Theatre show on 26 July 2009 Click here to hear what she said.
© BBC 2009
Richard was interviewed by Natalie Lambracos in The Stage newspaper, which was published on 22 September 2011. Click here to read what he said.
© The Stage 2011
'An excellent, informative read. I wish such a book had existed when I left drama school'.
'I have read your book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It certainly endorses all the work we do on audition techniques at GSA'.
Peter Barlow, Director, Guildford School of Acting
'I am about to graduate from Drama Studio London and I had my 1st outside professional audition coming up. To say I was scared was an understatement! But my lovely friend bought me this book and my god it made the world of difference! There are sections on every audition you will come against and it is so easy to read and fills you with such confidence and calmness. It was quite a big audition and I went in there with all the words I had read in my head from the book and I sailed through it. There is help about how to write letters to agents and casting directors and also the absolute importance of positive thinking. A fantastic read and a book you will find yourself referring to time and time again. I have a lot to thank this book for and I'm sure I will for years to come. Go and buy it NOW! Thank you so much Richard, it is written with honesty, ease and so much knowledge and is very inspiring and comforting when you are heading out there in the big wide world!'
Gemma (Drama Student)
'I have now read all the book and it's great!! It does exactly what it says on the tin - it is a really practical, commonsense guide. I love the anecdotes and I am inspired to do my showreel and photos using the tips. That bit of extra confidence can make all the difference at auditions. Watch this space!'
'I like the book and I like Richard Evans. He is a generous - and empathetic - man, who obviously loves the theatre and actors. He is doing everything he can to be helpful and his voice is most welcome'.
'Been reading the book. Really really good. I hope you sell thousands'.
'My Son's book is the greatest ever written and should be bought and owned by every performer in the world'.
Mrs Evans (Author's Mother)
'I've just finished the book. I thought it would be good, but it is absolutly BRILLIANT!!!! So much information, tips, addresses of helpful organisations and especially the background stuff that I would never have thought about in a million years and all written in a relaxed atyle that is easy to read. I now feel ready to go to auditions and try out my new skills (before I would have been really scared and nervous, but know I'll be much more confident now.) This is one book that every performer should have, I really recommend it. Thank you for writing it Richard it deserves to be a bestseller. I hope I get to meet you one day to say thanks to your face (hopefully at an audition, hint hint!!!)'
If you'd like to read the Book's press release, please click here to download it in PDF format.
If your computer doesn't already have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader installed, click here to download the software free of charge.