A surprise bonus episode this summer...I just couldn't stay away! And also introducing the first-ever listener question.
- First and foremost, I'd love to hear from you and get your thoughts on this podcast. Share what you love and especially what bothers you about WINMI episodes or the blog or the online presence. It's all fair game in the Season Two Feedback Survey: survey.winmipodcast.com
- There's also been a slew of Broadway show closings announced recently. By summer's end 16 shows will be gone, with two more set to leave Broadway in the Fall and Winter. Is this normal? Should we be worried about the state of NY theater? As always, money plays a big part in the equation, but there's also an interesting trend or market correction at play as well. Read more from Ken Davenport as well as Forbes and TheaterMania.
- It's been awhile since I've mentioned it, but there's yet another reason why I'll never make it: my own lack of time management and keeping up with my schedule. I share a personal story of messing up big time, and it involves a former guest on the show.
- And for the first time on the podcast, I answer a listener's question about moving to NYC, auditioning, getting an agent, and when is the best time to join Actors Equity:
Hi! My name is Carley and I'm an actor that's living in Florida. I've been to NYC for "audition season" for the past 2 years to go through the motions. I haven't been too successful because I've been non-union, so I'm hoping that I'm seen more at this upcoming season in 2020. I was wondering if you had any advice for people who are living outside of NYC but still working to make it? I plan to move there soon. I'm getting married so my fiancé and I are hanging out here right now because it's easier to save but plan to move after the wedding that's in October 2020. So I guess I'm just wondering what advice you have for people outside of NYC, do any agencies take talent outside of the city, etc. I love the podcast. Thanks in advance!
(Thanks so much to Carley for reaching out and I hope more of you will do the same. If you'd like your own question or comment addressed on a future episode, send your message to email@example.com.)
So here are some of my thoughts on the issues raised...
- I used to live in Florida as well, in Orlando for nine years, and I was taking trips to NYC also for specific auditions. So I think it’s smart that you come up for the audition season as a whole. That way you can focus on getting seen as much as you can, which as you said is unfortunately hampered by being Non-Equity. But there’s still plenty of tour work and regional theaters that need non-Eq performers to fill out their casts.
- As you prepare for 2020, I would say find as much theater work as you can there in Florida. Don’t hesitate to drive (if you can) to Miami or Jacksonville or Tampa for specific theater season or show-specific auditions. There are plenty of Equity theaters that could possibly get you your Equity card before you get to NYC, which would of course be such a leg-up in getting in the audition room.
- You’re also smart about staying in Florida and saving. That’s what I did as well and had a nice nest-egg coming to NYC that helped tremendously. It kept me from having to find work right away so I could focus on auditions and getting theater work. I came alone, however, while you will have your fiancé. So it’ll certainly be an emotional and financial help to have both of you supporting each other.
- Some agents will take out-of-town talent, but most want you in town of course. Having credits behind you or a recommendation from a casting director or another agent would greatly help you to get an initial appointment for possible representation. Also, colleges are a big deal here. So if you went to Michigan, CCM, Boston Conservatory, UPenn, etc. - those kind of rich musical theater schools have vast networks throughout NYC. I had no such degree, so I came here without any college cred or network behind me. It was a little more uphill because of it, but I was still able to make some headway.
- If you know any directors in Florida who work in NYC, whether as a director or teacher, get in front of them again, especially if they’ll be in NYC auditioning. Connections and networking are a big help in this business, like schooling I mentioned above. It’s one of the aspects of the business I’d not given as much thought or attention to as I should’ve. So even after 11 years here, I’m still not known to as many directors and producers as I'd like.
- As to the issue of when to join Equity, it’s really a different answer for each person. I would say that once your resume is diverse enough and has sufficient credits that show off the range of your talents, then you’re probably ready to make the leap. It’s all about consistency and having positive experiences in the audition room, whether you book the role or not. If you’re prepared to give that level of diligence each time, then you’ll be in a good place to handle the “clout” that comes with being in Equity. I put it in quotes because it’s more of a perception and is not a real indicator of talent or professionalism, but it still comes with some responsibility of maintaining and presenting yourself in the best light at all times.