My Not-So-Secret Way of Getting Seen at EPAs as a Non-Eq
I really admire those of you dedicated non-union actors who get up at the crack of dawn to trudge to the Equity building in all types of weather and with all types of outfit possibilities and being prepared for all different sorts of audition scenarios, only to sit in the hallway outside the actual lounge for hours at a time, unable to use the bathroom in the building and with chances running pretty high that you’re not going to even get to audition that day.
I really do admire you (especially those of you smart enough to use the new site Audition Update to your advantage!). In fact, I really wanted to be you! I went to a few EPAs at the Equity building and Ripley-Grier early in the morning, put my name down on the list, and waited patiently to be seen all day. Only to not get seen. And get really bummed about it. And find it pretty hard to work up the motivation to go through all of the trouble of getting prepared, waking up crazy early, and dragging myself to an audition that I probably wouldn’t get to actually audition at.
For those of you who do manage to get cast and get your Equity card this way, bravo. I mean that. But it just wasn’t for me. I decided that I’d rather focus on auditioning for the things that were accessible to me and on getting an agent to submit me for appointments for things.
But then I saw an EPA notice on Playbill that was being held way out in New Jersey, about a 90-minute train ride from Penn Station. It occurred to me that maybe fewer people would be interested in making that kind of a trip, and so I might have a chance of getting seen. They were asking for emails to request audition appointments, so I shot one off, thinking it was at least worth a shot to ask. And, lo and behold, they emailed me right back with a time slot! I was shocked. And excited! I was actually going to get to audition at an EPA!
So I took the NJ Transit train alllll the way out to Long Branch (okay, it’s not that far, but when you’re a spoiled New Yorker who lives within 15 blocks of most auditions, it seems that way), had a great audition, and…a few days later, I was asked to become a company member at New Jersey Rep! I just performed in a wonderful staged reading with them, too.
A few months ago, I saw a notice for an EPA being held out at an Equity house in the Hamptons. It was for a play I thought I’d be perfect for and at a theater I’d always wanted to work at. Public transporation wasn’t a really great option to get out there, so I did something I’d been putting off for some time — joined Zipcar! They were having a great promotion, too, so I basically got my first year of membership for free.
I had a great monologue prepared for the show, drove myself out there, steeled myself for the possibility that they wouldn’t want to see me, and walked into the theater lobby to find a grand total of ten people there. After getting over the initial shock and delight of being the only light-haired early 20’s woman in the room (seriously, how often does that happen?!), I was thrilled to find out that I would be seen in less than 40 minutes.
To make a long story much shorter, the audition went great, I got called back in the city 6 weeks later and that went great, and I am now the only Non-Equity cast member in a stellar Christopher Durang play that runs 6 days a week for the month of July out in the Hamptons. But that last part of the sentence isn’t even totally accurate because, thanks to this production, I AM GETTING MY EQUITY CARD!
So here I am, sharing my not-so-secret with you: go to Equity auditions that are less-than-convenient for us city-dwellers. Because I’ve only done it a couple of times and it has resulted in amazing things for me. Just make sure it’s something you’re really right for, be totally prepared, and go blow ’em away.
And just in case I’m not being clear enough about how excited I am to be a part of this production this summer, I received my script in the mail moments ago and I am literally giddy:
What are your best getting-seen-at-an-EPA stories?
Have you had similar success at EPAs outside the city?