By Kimberly Faye Greenberg, Jul 4 2016 12:09AM
I constantly hear many people gripe, complain, and sometimes even quit performing because they feel like he or she is just not the “right” body type or “Look” in this business. I recently shared my thoughts about this very subject on a popular chat board and yielded some very positive responses. I want to share my thoughts on this issue here for others who think they don’t have the right look, body type etc. to make it in this very fickle business.
Regardless of being someone who has personally suffered from the “problem” of being an average-body-type gal, I have successfully carved out my own unique niche in the Broadway community that keeps my phone ringing; let me share a few helpful hints for those who are also a bit “out of the box” from the typically-hired types that get hired for the NY and Regional stages.
1) I can’t stress this enough: CREATE YOUR OWN WORK that lets you show off your unique self. Create your own work, and get it on video! Add them to your website! Include clips with your submissions etc. and put your own work into the world. You’ll allow people to start seeing the unique gifts and performance nuance that YOU embody. People who see your own work may be inspired to steer their own productions to be able to include hiring you, or better yet, they may even be inspired to create things FOR you!
2) When you are going in for previously-done shows, those where you know you can play the role but you may be slightly against typical type, I truly suggest to SING FROM THE SHOW. Show them how your unique type is a great fit for the role, rather than trying to sing something else and hoping they will be able to match you to the role you want. In all likelihood, they won’t. There are probably three people behind you in the audition line that do fit the tradition visual mold for the part you are aiming for, and the audition team doesn’t always don't have time to think creatively. So spoonfeed them. Sing from the show! Help them, help you. Let them hear what a good fit you are, even if their eyes are seeing something ‘new’. It won't always work, but you will never second guess "what if".
3) In addition to having your own work on video, you should have DREAM ROLE VIDEOS, especially if you may be slightly against type. This is particularly for the same reason that you can attach videos with submissions when headshot/resumes are requested for appointment consideration. You should also have videos of your dream roles available on submission sites like Actors Access. Videos of your dream roles help casting people see you that way!
4) When going in for whole seasons, always offer your own UNIQUE YOU in your work and don't worry about being one specific thing that you think they might want. When theatres are casting numerous shows at one time, you just never know where their casting choices are going to land— does one person have to fill many parts, or are the roles precast, do they have local performers who are already in mind for the season? It is best to present your own unique self to help you stand out from the crowd. Even if you don't book that season, showcasing your unique self will allow them to remember you for future castings. When they start to plan future seasons, they may think of you, or the next time you go in for them, they will remember you. By offering your UNIQUE YOU in the room, you will start to establish an identity that could get you work in the future.
5) Go after any NEW WORKS, whether it small gigs or Broadway, where there is no type set from previous castings and no restrictions as far as who could be cast. Low and behold if you get cast, then YOU become the mold for which all future productions are based, and more often than not, you also have long term work as the show grows and develops—who knows where that will lead. Pursue NEW WORKS!
6) DON’T CHANGE who you are, body shape, hair style, or otherwise, unless it will make you just as happy in your personal life. Because no matter what you do or who you are in this business, standard-cast-types constantly shift and change, personal opinions usually differ, and you will never be able to satisfy everyone...the only person you can truly make happy and satisfy is yourself. So DON’T CHANGE who you are for the benefit of a fickle business. Be the person you are and be happy with the person you are!
I hope this helps to inspire YOU and keep you PROPELLING FORWARD in your performing career. Stay motivated!