The Utah theatre community will know Dave Tinney for his incredible directing and choreography from Tuacahn to BYU to UVU to Hale Centre Theatre. He is a true craftsman and I’ve been so lucky to work with him a few times. During rehearsals for “Matilda”, I had a few moments to sit with Dave an ask him for some words of wisdom about auditioning. I scrambled notes down as quickly as I could and I wanted to share them with you. It is so good to get a mixture of different directors’ preferences so that you can make more educated choices! Straight from the other side of the table:
What is the most important things you look for in a headshot?
That it is current. That you look like when you audition so that it’s easy to find you. Especially in long audition processes it is really difficult to remember-make it easier for them. He emphasized that this was particularly true for men with facial hair or lack thereof.
That it looks natural-not too glam.
That the expression is not forced.
When selecting your photos from a photographer, make sure you have 2 distinctly different looks: dramatic (somber, serious) and a lighter look.
Any tips for resumes?
List your experience as the biggest and best role first, not chronilogically.
Be selective about what is on there.
Add a “references upon request” footnote, and have references on a separate paper-always ready to go.
On the “special skills” section-don’t be cutesy.
Never lie-we always know. Or we can call someone who would know.
Any tips for auditions?
Train like an Olympian. (I loooooove this one.)
This is a job interview.
Do your research on the show.
Don’t sing something outside your age range or gender.
Help the directors and producers see you in their material.
If you don’t get cast-you aren’t bad. (Louder for those in the back!)
If you are not called back for the show-he assures you-you were considered and don’t fit the vision. Please do not ask to read for it. If you were called back for the show, but think you might fit a role better-asking to read for that particular role is more acceptable, but use that judgement WISELY and seldomly.
Any tips for finding your character type?
Ask MANY different directors. Ask them to name some roles they think you fit in. Ask what current movie roles you’d fit in. Ask what celebrities you have similar castability to. Ask how you’d fit in different genres: modern musicals, straight plays, golden age, etc.
Is there anything that could get a person blacklisted from working with you in the future?
Creating negative energy.
Throwing fits at the technicians.
Being difficult about wearing costume pieces or mics.
Not respecting the work of those around you.
Once a performance starts and an actor decides to go rogue and make new choices: ad lib, change blocking, etc.
What does your ideal actor look like?
Prepared. On time and memorized.
Doesn’t direct their fellow actors.
No drama. They don’t bring their personal life.
Someone I can live with for the next 8 weeks.
Theatre is 100% collaborative.
Know your castability.
Be patient with your castability. You may not fit anywhere now, but you might age into a sweet spot.
Accept your type.
Know that when a cast list comes out there are things that you’re not privy to and are out of your control. (ex. They’re bringing in a name to help the theatre thrive, they’re casting in NYC, etc.)
Come back and audition again.
If you are cast—every rehearsal is your next audition.
Over and over again prove that you are professional and reliable.
Dave was gracious enough to actually send me a sheet that he sent his UVU students that is absolutely PACKED with gems. You will find that Dave’s actual words are significantly more eloquent and graceful and powerful than my sad note taking. It is WELL worth the read. It’s literally gorgeous and might leave you crying.