Sunday, March 7, 2010

Audition! By Michael Shurtleff (and Marc Warzecha)

By: Marc Warzecha

Its been fun writing these blogs this term. Thanks for reading them, and for all of the kind words. I was especially encouraged by the people who claimed to not know about Armenian bashing:

"I knew there were Armenians...but I didn't know anyone disliked them!"

Anyway, I figured since this is a SC Training Center blog, maybe I should try actually writing something useful about the Second City before I wrap this bitch up for the term and hand it over to a new SC blogger (I feel you breathing down my neck, Granny).

Second City auditions have been on the student's minds here in LA. I've had the pleasure of conducting auditions for Second City dozens of times all over the country. Its always a great learning experience, and often a lot of fun. I think that word must get around somehow, because for years now - right before auditions, people usually find me and ask for some advice.

I'm happy to give it, as long as you don't mind me being blunt. And while I don't have any top secret trade secrets to reveal, I hope this helps a bit...

First, realize that an initial audition for Second City most likely an all improv audition.

So, you know, be ready to improvise.

You are probably only gonna get up on stage a couplefew times in the audition. I often hear people complain about this after the auditions. "But, I only got to do three short scenes." Look, bottom line is if you are good enough to get hired by Second City then you are good enough to easily display your skills in three short scenes.

They don't let people do 45 minute lounge acts in the American Idol auditions before Simon can tell if they are ready for the next round, right? They sing a few bars and everybody gets the gist. Same deal here.

So display your improv skill set and - this is important - make a strong, different character choice each time you come out.

Second, you're going to be playing with people you don't know, and sometimes they will be great. And sometimes they will suck. It doesn't matter if they suck.

If you are good enough to get hired by Second City then you are good enough to have a great scene with a bad improviser. TJ Jagadowski - one of the best improvisers in the world - did a scene in the SC ETC where he would pull a random person up on stage every show and improvise with them. And it would kill.

That show off.

Lastly, have fun and get out of your head! Improv is super fun, especially when you are playing with strangers in a weird room in front of a handful of auditors who don't laugh and everyone on stage with you is in competition for the same job.

I'm kidding, of course.

Look, its hard to relax in any almost audition setting. The only thing I can recommended for that is experience. If you want to be hired as one of the few people on earth to do improv for a living, you've got to be experienced enough to hang in any situation.

So keep taking those classes, and improvise outside of class with your classmates. Form troupes. Play anywhere and everywhere you can.

And have a great audition!


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