I just returned home after two awesome trips for NY Unifieds and Chicago Unifieds to support my MCA students and parents. I love being there as a source of morale for my famlies and just simply getting the chance to connect with our students outside of a lesson.
I wanted to write a quick blog post regarding walk-in auditions as this has become a pretty hot topic. If you are new to the college audition process and haven’t heard the term walk-ins before, first, welcome to the process and second, buckle up.
Walk-In Auditions are essentially exactly how they sound. If a school or program has gaps or room in their audition schedule, students who are already there for Unifieds are able to try to grab a spot to audition. Spots become available when students are ill, weather makes it impossible to travel, students don’t show up (don’t get me started on that, folks! Always cancel your auditions to make room for someone else), etc. Most schools will post a sign outside their door to indicate they are accepting walk-ins, but some will offer up the info if you just politely ask. Most schools make you pay a fee to audition or require you to submit a portion of (or full) application on the spot or by a deadline.
While this isn’t a new phenonmenon, it has been by far the #1 question I have been asked about this year. I attritube this to a couple things, but mostly, social media. Walk-Ins have become sort of a right of passage or a “cool” thing to do while at Unifieds. Also, everyone else is doing them, so shouldn’t I? I always tell my students that I don’t envy them going through the process in 2019 – everyone knows everything. The onslaught of information can be helpful, but it can also be overwhelming and at times, crushing.
I have been a part of, and heard, many debates regarding whether or not walk-in auditions are fair. I have opinions on this, but I want to attack this from a different angle. I want to really speak to the students and parents to focus on what the point of walk-ins are and who should and should not be doing them. They are going to exist, in some capacity, always – so, let’s start to look at this from a different angle. Maybe by eliminiating the pools of people who should not be doing them, we can all have better clarity on the subject. This blog post isn’t to discuss if I agree or disagree if they are fair or not.
I have some thoughts I would love to share with you. Obviously, these are just my opinions and as always, to each his own.
“Which walk-ins should I do?!”
When a student asks me this, the first thing I try to respond with is: do you need to do walk-ins? I’m then usually met with a confused pause. Let’s break this down a bit.
I’m a huge advocate for early auditions (November/December early action and sometimes early decision auditions.) Get a handful done early, hopefully gain some acceptances (and confidence) or tweak any material that feels off after completing some early auditions. If you gain an acceptance to a school that you LOVE early…amazing! The pressure is off and you can have fun during the rest of the audition season.
So then cut to Unifieds: are you happy with the acceptance(s) you have? Is it a school you can earnestly see yourself going to? Is there any program that is doing walk-ins that you would go to over that school? If not, let it go, Elsa. Take a nap, girl! Go for a walk! Visit a museum! Don’t walk into a school you wouldn’t consider attending. Which leads me to my next thought…
If you are an MCA student, you have most certainly heard me speak about my good friend, Karma. Put good karma into the universe and I promise you, it will come back to you. Especially in this industry.
If you do a walk-in to a school that you have no intention of ever attending…why? For practice? I don’t think that is a good enough reason. You are taking a spot away from someone who might truly be interested in this program and would attend if accepted. If you are walking into a school you know nothing about, a coach or mentor has not advised is a good option for you, or upon research think to yourself “I’ll never actually go here” – I suggest you really listen to that thought.
The college audition process is a tiny morsel of what this industry will ultimately bring you. I am not making the comparison that college auditions are the same as professional auditions – they absolutely are not. But rejection hurts always. Being shut out of an audition call that you are absolutely right for because people decided to sign-up to audition for a character whose breakdown they don’t fit at all, hurts. We are in this together, guys. Practice putting good karma into the universe. You’ll be surprised by what comes your way.
Pre-Screen Schools Doing Walk-Ins
Again, I am not going to debate whether this is fair or not. But I do have a thought for all of you lovely students who are feeling frustrated that a student can potentially just walk into a school you didn’t pass a pre-screen for:
If you don’t pass a pre-screen for a school and you see them doing walk-ins, I have one piece of advice: try to advocate for yourself but you MUST be honest. If this remains a DREAM SCHOOL, I see no harm in walking up to the school dressed in your best suit of confidence armor and saying, “Hi! I see you are doing walk-ins. I want to be transparent that I did not pass the pre-screen here. With that said, this is my dream school and if given a walk-in slot, I won’t throw away my shot.” Cue Hamilton. The worst thing that could happen: they say no. Which, is completely fair. But they could say yes, and you’ve just earned a medal in self advocacy and transparency.
Who should do walk-ins?
Walk-Ins are an amazing opportunity for some folks. They are a tiny gift in this otherwise over-crowded, confusing process and without getting into the nitty gritty – I do want to mention that I think walk-in auditions are fabulous (and fair in these instances – fine, I said it!) for the following people:
So, to sum up this post on walk-ins: they are great for the right person. They might be a great addition for your friend, but not you. That is okay. Use your best judgement and lead with kindness and thoughtfulness first.
Sending everyone love, hugs and broken legs.
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