©Megan Elyse Fulmer 2014
You did it. You made it through the first round as a Non-Equity woman at an ECC. A victory, but no need to get comfortable.
You don’t know how many hours you have left today, or how many days will proceed this initial call. You don’t know how many names the creative team kept from groups of dancers before you. This isn’t exclusive yet. There is a lot to prove. Get back into the holding room, go through your binder of music, flip to your “pop/rock” section, and decide which 16/32 bars will fit the style of the show. What song will showcase your vocal abilities? There seems to be about 30 women before you. Drink some water, warm up those vocal chords, and breathe.
As you wait for the monitor to call your name again, the women begin to line up ten at a time. Each woman walks back into the studio, and sings their 30-second solo. Those 30 seconds determine whether or not you move forward in the audition process. You have to show off your range. You have to make sure you are acting, telling the story of the song you selected as you sing. Even before you sing, you must remember to be personable when you enter the room. This may be the first time the casting/creative team hears you speak. This is the team’s moment to find out if you are someone they’re willing to spend 8 hours a day with during the rehearsal process. You know you’re easy to work with, so all you have to do is be yourself. Simple enough…right?
“Next group of ladies to line up and sing will be as followed….”
The monitor calls your name. You’re 8th in line. More waiting. You listen to the women before you. At this point, you see the same ladies at every audition. When there is so much waiting throughout the audition process, there is plenty of time to get to know most of the women you are surrounded by. You listen to your friends, or your audition buddies, sing their hearts out. You share the “break a leg” before they enter, and give them the “get it girl! you sounded great!” when they exit. When you find solid friends at auditions, it’s no longer a cat fight assisted by side eye. You have found a tight-knit group of women that encourage each other to succeed. This business is already hard enough. If you’re not going to get the job, you want to see your friends shine. You have watched them work just as hard as you have. All of our hard work has to pay off for someone, somewhere.
“Megan Elyse Fulmer, you’re next.”
Here we go. Just a couple more steps, and once again, you are in. The door closes behind you, and there are five members of the creative/casting team at the other end of the studio. As they sit behind the table, they’re hoping you’re worth listening to for 30 seconds. The team really does want you to succeed. They want you to be incredible. They want to hire their perfect cast sooner than later. After all, we’re getting close to summer, and the sun is shining. If we’re going to spend 10am-6pm in the studio, we want to already be working on the heart of the show.
You walk over to the pianist they’ve provided to accompany you. You have clearly marked your music. Your markings indicate where you want him to start playing your intro music, where you will start singing, and where you would like to end your cut of the song. You lightly tap your leg and softly sing along, so that he knows at what tempo (how fast, or slow) you would like him to play the song. You don’t want to snap or clap the beat in his face. Again, be personable, not demanding.
“Hi Megan. What will you be singing for us today?” You take a breath and smile. “I will be singing, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt”. The team smiles back. “Great! Whenever you’re ready.”
You take one more breath, you nod at the pianist, and he starts to play. You’re in the moment. You are singing every word as if it were a monologue. It’s as if you are thinking of these words yourself. You are saying each word as if for the very first time. The words fuel your objective within the context of this piece of music. This objective drives your action. The action fills you with emotions. The emotion is controlled enough so that you do not overwhelm the voice. Your sound is clear, and you don’t miss a note.
“Thank you Megan. Beautiful work. Do you have something contrasting? More uptempo?”
You walk back to the piano, and flip through your music. You have memorized every song in your audition binder, so choosing another will be a piece of cake. You just hope it’s what the team had in mind.
“Would, “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King work for you?”.
You reset the tempo, reset where you will start/finish, and you are ready for round two. After getting the first song over with, and feeling some positive energy from the creative team, you get to really let loose, have fun, and just perform! You can’t wait for your next chance to do what you love everyday, and get paid for it! These could be the people that give you that chance. That freedom, that passion, that love you’re feeling as you sing is in their hands.
“Really Great work Megan. Hang outside for a bit, and we’ll let you know if we need anything else from you today.”
Five minutes later, the monitor returns to the holding room.
“Hey ladies, if I call your name, the creative team would like you to come back at 4pm to dance again. You will be joining the men, and you’ll be doing some partner work. When I call your name, let me know you’re still here. If you have any conflicts, and are unable to attend the 4pm call, come see me. Natalie Wills, Michelle Summers, Becca Lee, Megan Elyse Fulmer…”