Fourth Year Actors Audition Virtually for Industry Professionals
Last week marked the Next General Showcase, external link, an annual event at which actors from across Ontario share their work with industry professionals. Typically, graduating members of acting conservatories would present monologues live, in front of an audience of casting directors, agents, artistic directors and other members of the performance industry, creating some of their first professional connections to launch their careers.
This year's iteration of the Showcase took place entirely online allowing the actors to submit self tapes of monologues, headshots and résumés to be reviewed by the industry professionals. The 19 members of our fourth year Performance Acting class were among the participants.
The Actors spent last term selecting and preparing their materials with three coaches: Marianne McIsaac, focusing on contemporary texts, Tim Welham, focusing on classical texts, and Laura Nordin, external link, who’s specialty in film supported the actors translating their work to camera and creating their at-home shooting set-ups. The presentation went live to Casting Workbook, external link, opens in new window on January 25, 2021.
The switch to an online format may sound subtle at first. Just as before, students were expected to prepare two short monologues, and submit soft copies of their headshots and resumes. Like before the Showcase offered the opportunity for emerging actors to “explore material that speaks to them as an artist” as described by fourth year actor, Shanti Harris. In hearing more from the students who participated, it becomes apparent that this switch is more significant than it appears at first glance.
“The most challenging yet liberating aspect of doing self tapes is that you get to watch them once they are filmed. While this can help you to develop your work and learn from it, it can also make you more self analytical. For me, the Showcase this year was a lesson on letting go and trusting the work I put in. Because, what I think is most important about the work you put into the Showcase is that your personality and unique artistry shines through.” -Shanti Harris
The students were responsible for creating their own mini filming studios in their homes, with microphones and lights provided by the School of Performance for their Fall presentation of Love and Information.
Shanti’s classmate, Tarique Lewis spoke of the pros and cons of this new way of working. Tarique highlighted the benefit to having multiple takes to work through a monologue, without having to face the “performance jitters” of a live presentation. On the other hand, Tarique found his tendency for perfectionism getting in the way as he watched, and rewatched his recordings, trying to improve upon his performance with each take.
Despite this new process, things are looking up. Tarique shared that he is already in contact with a casting director who saw his work as part of the Showcase. This is just the beginning as Tarique looks to pursue a robust career in film and television, taking on principle roles. Tarique is motivated by the actors he watched growing up (Denzel Washington and Will Smith to name a few), and is inspired to continue their legacy, paving a path for others who want to take on this industry.
“While I strive to be what I want to be, I want to keep in mind that there may be people who are watching me [in the way I watched my idols]... as I go deeper into this industry, [I remember] my cousins are looking up to me, going to their art schools, and saying ‘I want to be like you’. You have a responsibility [not only to] represent yourself, but where you come from and the people you love.” -Tarique Lewis
Congratulations to Shanti, Tarique, and their classmates on their participation in the Next Generation Showcase! We look forward to celebrating the next chapters of your careers as artists.