“To Audition Workshop Or Not To Audition Workshop? That Is The Question!”

With reference to the blog on “My Acting Career” March 31st 2015

My Acting Career

John – I do not think there is any real question as to whether actors should attend Audition Workshops or not. Sure, everything has changed in this and other industries over the last decade, but what should remain, and be retained, constant, is the quality of teaching and the respect given to actors, and the actors to the teachers.

I am supposing that the criticism about Casting Director Workshops that you are referring to, which you have heard over the last fifteen years, has been a negative experience for yourself and TAFTA?

I think it healthy, rather than pathetic, to receive criticism (preferably positive) because this can assist both the teachers and actors in making decisions about which School or Academy to participate with to teach and to learn from.

Audition Workshops have been around further back than 2001. In fact in the early 1990’s after I had left the Grundy Organization as Casting Director in 1990 I was not permitted to give Workshops whilst with them as it was viewed as unprofessional because actors would think that was the way to get cast…. Nothing’s changed!

I was giving Workshops in Sydney and then in Brisbane very soon after – mainly because I too believed actors needed more knowledge about the whole audition process. There has been many an actor who has had some tuition whilst auditioning for Grundy’s! I am sure other Casting Directors were doing and thinking the same.

I still have the paperwork I wrote up about The Actors’ Forum Meeting in Sydney on March 26th 1995 in which a short time was allocated to a Draft Code of Practice for Casting Consultants. I have not seen any results from that meeting from Actors’ Equity or the Actor’s Forum and so was really pleased when the Casting Guild of Australia was formed in 2013, and I am a proud Member .

To me, The Casting Guild has now become a necessary platform from which to unite professional Casting Directors, Agents, Actors, and affiliates such as MEAA.

Times must change – of course there has to be Audition Workshops to cope with the now very many and varied people who wish to perform; I do not think any Casting Director considers performers as “pathetic”. There are some very good Casting Directors giving very good Workshops around Australia but I think that there is an element of people who do pay just to see a famous television “star” give them a Workshop, and also think they might just become famous if they attend a Workshop given by a Casting Director from a popular television series, especially if they have only received twenty-two weeks of training which purports to making them an Actor.