Monday, July 17, 2006

ADVICE FOR AUDITIONERS
--guest blogger, April Walsh (American Idol 5, Disfigured)

The movie shoot went well. I met some amazing character actresses who I recognized from many shows. Foremost in my mind were Lindsay Hollister (imdb profile) and Sonya Eddy (her imdb profile). I particularly admired them because they've been hitting your TV for years. They are two funny, talented gals and reminded me of what kind of actress I want to be. (The kind that works a lot)

I was finished Friday, but they want me to come back for one more scene. Awesome. A last hurrah.

My other piece of business:

Feel free to pass this around. Without giving away too much, I'd like to help all those aspiring Idols.

Introducing myself... Hi. April Walsh. I was a contestant this past season. Blink and you'll miss me as I only made it to top 44. A lot of people have emailed or messaged me for advice on the upcoming Season 6 auditions. As I like helping people out, I'm glad to do it, but writing the same thing over gets tiresome, so I thought it would be best to write some general advice. On that note, I give you...

For The Aspiring Contestant

Understand, I can't answer all things no matter how nice you might ask. It's just not fair to the show. And much of this you may already know. But as I auditioned twice, I know what gets you noticed and what doesn't. I'm also a long-time fan of this awesome show and even what little exposure I got from it has benefited me greatly. I love that I did this. I hope everyone takes away as many positive and useful things as I did, even from the early auditions.

Stand out:

It's not enough to have a good voice, even a great voice. I've been Little Miss School Concert Solo since I can remember. I was first alto in All-Catholic Chorus. I get paid to sing weddings, funerals, showtunes at senior himes. I can sing. But when I got rejected at my first audition in San Francisco, I walked out doubting whether I had any talent at all. I mourned. I thought it was a sign from God that I was doing the wrong thing with my life.

But I didn't hold on to that negativity for long. I was scrappy. I picked myself up and decided to hop a Greyhound to Denver and, this time, be risky.

At my first audition, I dressed casual and sang out pretty. Basically, I blended in. Wrong choice. See, I'm chubby and have never won a beauty contest here (that's not complete insecurity talking, that's the nature of this business. Though I could feel I'm beautiful in my way, considering what look sells, I'm low on the scale). Anyway, I had to trump my looks. I took that fun, inappropriate-for-daily-wear dress out of the back of my closet, did myself up like it was 1938 and instead of singing out pretty, I belted out and was funny. That was what made me unique. I finally stood out.

Personality and Background:

You can complain all you want about people getting in on personality or a story. But people want to vote for someone they like or find interesting. So you think about your life and what makes you unique and be ready to talk about it. It's good for you. It's good for the show. America loves it.

More on the first audition and unique-itude (Yes. I did just make up a word):

The first audition is the hardest to pass. Be ready with two songs, maybe three. It's acapella. So don't go scrambling around for backing tracks or sheet music.

Seriously, don't just dress cute and sing pretty. It's not enough. Wear that cocktail dress or sequined tube or gorgeous necklace. If you're a boy... yeah. Not much I can tell you there. I don't know men's fashion. I hardly know women's fashion. I'm not a fashion girl.

And don't just stand there and sing. Emote or dance. Get into it. There's no time to be shy or embarrassed. It's a short audition and you want to give them something to see and hear that won't put them to sleep. These people are working like dogs and having a long, miserable, often hot or rainy, day. Make them perk up and take notice.

Other bits and pieces:

Don't sit up all night having a sing-a-long with your fellow auditioners. You won't have a voice. You'll kick yourself. I mean, this isn't something you do every day, so have fun. But just take it easy.

I recommend staying over night at the location. You can get a room the next day (if you, hopefully, have the need to).

Ricola Honey Lemon drops...and not the sugar-free. They don't coat your throat.

A squeeze-bottle of honey. Seriously, squeezing some honey down your throat right before coats you when your throat is dry. And nerves can make you dry. At least they do that to me. Of course, do try not to suck down the honey in front of a camera. Been there, did it, was made fun of all over the net.

Sleep! If you are disoriented and tired, you will not enjoy yourself. You will babble strangely. You will take the wrong escalator (and I speak from experience). Try to sleep. K?

If you don't make it:

Don't doubt yourself. There are many factors at work in this process and not all of them are about talent. You try out for your school or community's musicals. You record a demo. You get out there and keep trying. Persistence is key.

Final note:

It does make me sad that there are people who just can't sing and don't know it. I'd rather they find out in a way less humiliating than on National TV, but if that's what it takes to help them let go and find their true talent, that's what it takes. I cannot dance (except when I'm doing it to be funny). I wish I could, but I just can't and never will be any good at it. I nurture those things I can do instead. If you get humiliated for not being any good, just take it and move on. Everyone has some great ability even if it's not the one they dreamed of having. It's better to find it than to waste time trying to do something God just didn't give you the knack for.

Okay. That's it. Take from that what you will. And break a leg!

3 Comments:

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Me said...

Hey JD...just saying hi. I just read through all your Todd Agnew stuff. I was laughing along with you at some responses...

Keep it up friend.

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

What a great idea for a post... & good advice!

 
At 3:24 AM, Blogger Tricia said...

JD, you always have such interesting guests! Really interesting advice...thanks!

 

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