In Texas the road trip for actors is a regular routine. Those of us who are invested enough in our careers—and have the flexibility in our schedules—can sometimes find ourselves heading out of town once a week, twice a week or more often. This week I had the good fortune of having two auditions in Dallas, projects cast by Chris Freihofer and Kina Bale, on the same day.
I previously discussed the demands of working in Texas as an actor in a blog post entitled Traveling the Texas Triangle. We put in a lot of time. Often a single audition lasting no more than 5 minutes can consume 8 hours of our day due to travel time. Sometimes we’re on the road overnight to get to an early morning shoot or audition in another city. I have great respect for my colleagues here who make it happen.
When you reach the point of getting auditions in another city, there are some sensible ways to approach the opportunity. I created a list of 10 tips to help you qualify the audition, prepare for the audition, and plan for your road trip. My goal is to save you money and time so take a look at the list below and see what can help you.
1. QUALIFY THE AUDITION
Not every audition is worth the time. Determine what makes this one worth it. You won’t use the same variables every time. The pay could make one audition trip worth it while the next one is decided by wanting to get in front of a certain casting director. Qualifying it makes you think specifically about why you want to go it and what you plan to get out of it, whether cast or not.
2. BUDGET FOR THE TRIP
The goal is to get there and back as inexpensively as possible so set a budget and find ways to stick to it. Look for cheaper ways to travel, such as taking the bus. Pack snacks instead of buying the higher priced variety at convenience stores.
3. CONSIDER CARPOOLING
Someone may be headed to the same city on the same day so there’s an opportunity for both of you to benefit. You’ll save money on fuel and can share stories and ideas along the way. If you’re both licensed drivers, you can share the driving duties to give each other a chance to rest and relax along the way.
4. BRING EXTRA HEADSHOTS
You’re not preparing for what you need only. You are preparing for what you might need as well. You may discover another audition is going on while you’re in town and you don’t want to walk in empty-handed.
5. PACK EXTRA WARDROBE OPTIONS
I ran into a Houston actress in Austin recently who said she had been out there FOR DAYS due to auditions. She made the drive for one initially and more kept getting scheduled so she decided to stay. If you don’t pack extra clothes, you may end up shopping for things you already own.
6. REACH OUT TO A LOCAL FRIEND
You have no idea of how circumstances can change drastically while you’re going to a little ol’ audition one day. Letting someone know you’re coming into town gives them a chance to better prepare for your arrival and visit. They may have time to meet you for lunch or could help last-minute if you need a place to crash.
7. RESEARCH LOCAL PUBLIC TRANSIT OPTIONS
When I plan my trips by Greyhound or Megabus, I look at how I can get to my destination once I’m in my destination city. Often I walk, but I don’t recommend it when it’s raining or hot and it’s hot much of the year here. During my Dallas trip this week, I paid $5 for a day pass on the bus system (DART) there and rode all over town.
8. CHECK THE FORECAST
This can be tricky. Even though I checked the forecast for Dallas and was expecting a very warm day, it was cool and windy all day. I would have been more comfortable if I had packed a light jacket, but it actually worked in my favor since I was unlikely to show up at the audition sweating.
9. BE OPEN TO CHANGE
When I boarded Greyhound for Dallas, I had one set of lines ready to go. On the way I discovered a miscommunication led me to learning the wrong lines. So I had to remove the memorized lines from my brain and get well acquainted with the new lines. If you’re faced with a change, find a way to make it work without wasting time wishes things has gone differently.
10. ASK IF TAPING IS AN OPTION
Taping the audition and submitting by email eliminates the need for the initial trip, saving you time and money. This tactic works more often on film projects, especially a short film, than commercials.