Arts Ed Recall
I attended my recall audition at Arts Educational on 12th January 2017 (approximately a month after my initial audition there). I must say my experience as a whole was a lot more positive than my first round and the vibes I got were far warmer and like a place I could see myself at in the future, so when I heard the news that I wasn’t offered a place there it hurt a lot more than it initially would have.
The day was structured very similarly to the first round, with a speech by Gareth the head of the BA Acting explaining what the day would consist of, saying how well we had done to get to this point, followed by a more in depth outline of what the course at ArtsEd entails. We also heard from the head of Acting for Screen who told us about how in tune with screen acting the school is and how they feel as a school they need to keep up with the demands of the industry and that means developing good screen skills for film and Tv acting – the equipment and facilities they have for filming is amazing! After the talk we were informed that we would be called out one by one to perform our two monologues to the panel and then taken off to a separate room where we would have a short interview and brief chat about finances with Nicole (head of administration).
I was one of the last people to be seen for my monologues and so had to wait a long time, however I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous and engaged with the other people auditioning, as we all shared our audition experiences so far. Similarly to the first round, I found the group of people were all so genuine and so easily to get on with, which just made me feel so much more at ease and made the day so much more fun!
I performed my speeches to Gareth and another lady, and I feel I performed them at an okay standard, they probably weren’t the best I had done them, however I didn’t mess anything up and I felt that I had good energy when performing. Although, I did feel slightly external to myself when performing my Shakespeare and like I perhaps wasn’t connecting to the text as well as in my first round and on other occasions; but I didn’t like reading in to this too much as like I mentioned before I felt the same when performing my monologues in the first round (particularly in the modern speech). I decided to play my modern speech with the more vulnerable, naive and genuine portrayal rather than the harsher, colder approach I sometimes do, but I still made sure I made choices on words rather than just brushing over the surface by generalising the mood and feelings of the character. I was definitely pumped with adrenaline when in the audition room and so in hindsight worry that I may have slightly rusted my delivery of both of my speeches because of this, but was unaware of how pumped I was until I left the room and realised how fast my heart was beating and how hot I felt (which rarely happens for me).
The interview with Nicola was really relaxed and casual which helped calm me down a great deal as she was so warm and welcoming. We talked about what I was up to at the moment and I explained about the Extended Diploma course I am currently doing, but she also brought up my A levels and why I only did AS levels, and so I told her that the course I am currently on at Conservatoire EAST was very new and that Gary Willis only took it over a few years ago and so the opportunity was not there initially, and although I succeeded in my AS levels I knew I wanted to be doing something vocational. I have refrained from explaining my past history regarding my health and how I wasn’t actually able to complete my A Levels due to being hospitalised, as I didn’t want that judgment to stand against me of make them question whether I was mentally or physically ready and stable enough to manage at Arts Educational. I have given this answer at all the schools that have asked about my A levels as in part it is true, I have just left out the more personal details about why I am essentially a year or two behind; however I’m not sure whether this is the best thing to do in hindsight as it is a part of who I am and shows character and life experience which I know all drama schools are looking for. Nicola also asked me about where else I had applied and how I was getting on she so I listed the places I had gotten recalls au and the place I had been offered at East 15 – which she praised me on. We then came on finances and how I would fund the course if I was successful, so I explained that I knew about DaDa awards and would hope to apply for one. After that it was my turn to ask questions, so I reeled out my usual about the split in singing and movement as well as Screen and stage, which she answered thoroughly stating that at Arts Ed they want their students to be employable in all areas and so give training in as much as possible. I was then finished and allowed to go and wait until we were called in for the screen tests.
The screen tests were in front of Gareth, the head of film/tv, and two other tutors and also a graduate student who would film us and also read the other characters lines in the duologue. We were sent the short script extract with our recall letter to learn in advance, however we were given no indication as to how they would conduct the test. I assumed they would have someone acting with us and therefore be looking out for our movement and interaction with the other actor, however I was wrong! The test was very brief and consisted of us performing the extract in front of the camera (which the graduate student was behind) in three different ways: firstly as if we were a boyfriend/girlfriend in love, then with anger and lastly guilt. We were instructed to look at the graduate behind the camera rather than looking directly inti the camera, but this was difficult as they were not giving anything back and so we had to put all the work in to fuel the scene. I felt quite awkward as it was so alien to anything I had done before and completely different to how I had imagined it to be, and so I felt the responses I was giving were quite dead and didn’t change much on each emotion given. I didn’t physicalise myself well at all and stood there internally worrying about whether the response I was giving was what they wanted rather than actually being in the scene. When looking at it all in hindsight there are so many choices I could have made differently and even if they were not ‘right’ or what they wanted, at least they could have seen me make a choice and confidently owning it. I think the one I let myself down the most in was the ‘anger’ emotion as I didn’t necessarily express ‘anger’ but merely said each of the lines in a spiteful way. I think I could have moved more or made boulder choices, however I was so caught up in my head and overwhelmed by the unknown that I didn’t allow myself to do this; although, hindsight is a wonderful thing!
After the screen test we were free to go home! I left feeling rather disappointed in myself at how my screen test went but tried not to dwell on it as there is nothing I can about it now it’s done.
I received my letter a few days later informing me that I had been unsuccessful on this occasion, but was recommended to audition for the ‘Exceleration’ course as a way of preparing myself for next year. I am unsure why but this rejection hit me hard and I ended up crying in response for the first time since receiving negative results from auditions, which surprised me as after my initial audition there I was convinced the school wasn’t for me!
I decided to email the school to request feedback from my audition (despite knowing that this is usually not allowed due to the number of applicants and the schools audition policies) and surprisingly I received a reply from Nicola explains they don’t usually give personal feedback as they don’t like to influence your decisions or performance at other auditions (as all schools are looking for something different) however she said she could give me the notes taken at my Recall audition. I was so grateful for this and after reading the brief comments I was restored with a little faith as they were all fairly positive and I couldn’t see any areas that suggests they thought I was untalented or a poor actress, and all the areas I showed weakness were in areas I had already recognised as points I didn’t perform my best or made poor decisions.