How do I audition

by Lara Lipsch

 

I knew before and after the audition that I wanted to do theater, but it was really tough!

Hannah's path to acting training is similar to what most of the aspiring actors have experienced. Making theater has always been her dream. Immediately after graduating from high school, she wanted to put this into practice and traveled to Great Britain to apply to various drama schools there. Basically, she received primarily positive feedback there, but unfortunately there was still no acceptance. After a year she decided to try it in Germany - first at public drama schools.

There are many negative prejudices about private drama schools. Of course, this is primarily because you have to pay money for it. And there are really a lot of bad schools that care about money. For this reason, they accept a large number of applicants and thus create overcrowded classes!

An 'extremely long and frustrating time' began for Hannah with the application and auditions at public German drama schools. Repeated rejections and negative feedback strained her nerves, but she never gave up her dream of acting. After a total of two years of unsuccessful attempts, which, according to Hannah, is quite a normal duration for aspiring actresses (male actors would have much better chances), she decided to try a private school. With success.

How do the auditions work?

Hannah had to rehearse three monologues and one song for auditions at both public and private drama schools. In the monologues there should be some variation between classic and modern. The auditions run over several rounds, although there were significantly fewer applicants at the private drama school and therefore only two rounds.

Hannah had a lot of previous experience in her luggage: from school theater to various independent theater groups to a collaboration with a Cologne theater studio. These could help, but they are not absolutely necessary. 'It looks good, of course, if the résumé is not empty, but the schools pay attention to the potential in the auditions'. Here, according to Hannah, the audition experience itself helps most.

Most of all, you need auditioning experience. You get this through the many auditions and feedback that lead to you working on the monologues, changing them or even rejecting them entirely. Auditions will always be with you too!

Basically, however, it is primarily about passion, courage and interest in the topics. And of course about the awareness that it won't be easy.

What funding options are there in private drama schools?

The school where Hannah is doing her training costs 450 euros a month. In contrast to most other private institutions, a big advantage of this school is that it is state-recognized and therefore it is possible to apply for student BAföG. Accordingly, those who would otherwise not be able to raise the financial means also have the opportunity to study there.

How can I imagine an acting training?

The duration of the training is three and a half years. It runs according to a timetable and usually takes place five days a week. The first year consists mainly of ensemble lessons, which train the students in the basics as well as in the areas of movement, singing and choir. In the second year, there will be more individual lessons, in which the focus will be on topics such as speaking and phonetics. In addition, there are monologues that mean independent work and communication with lecturers. In addition, there are also more unusual subjects, such as stage combat, in which the students learn how to depict battle and death scenes on the stage. In the third year this subject is replaced by stage fencing.

It is particularly important for Hannah that the subject of politics has now also gained a place in the timetable: 'Theater is a current art, we have to be familiar with political issues in order to be able to work with it!' She explains. In addition, the subject also includes an economic part, which is particularly about living and working as a freelance artist.

The exams consist of six-month 'sightings', in which the scenes, singing, movement and spoken texts are assessed, and final exams in the summer. The final production then follows in the third year. This is worked out jointly by the class and is then given a permanent place in the program of a theater that cooperates with the school.

Directors come there and see if there are good graduates.

At the end of the training, there is a graduate audition to which directors are invited. For Hannah, this moment symbolizes the transition from training to everyday work. Here the budding actors get the opportunity to introduce themselves and receive offers of cooperation.

Is there an opportunity to make contacts during the training?

'With state schools, it is much easier with regard to the future. State theaters always see state schools first. It is difficult for privately trained actors to draw attention to themselves. In terms of quality, we're actually positioned in the same way, says Hannah. Nevertheless, through her school, she got opportunities to make contacts. In addition to working with the adjoining theater, they are represented by a film and television school through which casting agencies can contact them. These inquiries are particularly good because they are also remunerated. In addition, the school now has very good partnerships. In the meantime, various trainees have found engagements in productions. Hannah has already participated in two productions and feels it is particularly important to put what she has learned into practice and to be able to make further contacts.

What tip do you have for those who would like to become an actor?

If you want that and have the passion and the courage, then you can do it! You just have to be aware in advance that it's a tough road.