March Bucket List- The Sequel

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those that do, I can be very persistent.

So I left off my March Bucket List feeling very disheartened. It was definitely an emotional experience having to attend a Disney audition with 200 other girls looking for the same part. For some reason, that rejection only made me want to be in Disney so much more! It’s one of those things where someone tells you “You can’t do this because…”, which energizes you to want to prove then wrong. I like proving people wrong. It’s a weird personality quirk that I’ve never been able to shake.

After the last Disney audition for Belle, I was obviously upset. I wanted to be Belle and perform her songs in front of an audience. However after the audition, I was told by some people (not by the same person, nor all at once), “You don’t want to be a performer. They don’t get paid much at all. Didn’t you stop performing because you had performance anxiety? Performing really isn’t for you. You auditioned for the experience, and that’s all, right?” Well, some of that is true, but I wanted to at least TRY to get a part! That would have been nice. I don’t know if they said those things to make me feel better or give me a much-needed reality check, but after being told that I shouldn’t, I did.

The next vocalist audition was for Disneyland Hong Kong and Shanghai in May. I prepared a month or so for this audition, because at least for this one, I was guaranteed an audience with a casting director! I was finally going to sing at a Disney Audition. I didn’t practice for this one as hard as the last one. I didn’t want to get tired of the song too soon, because I’ve done that before… many times. I chose a song that I liked and thought I could sing and perform well. Based on my previous experience, I was ready for Round 2.

The day finally came, and I drove up to Orlando early for the 1pm audition. It was the same schedule as the first audition: wait for directions, sign in, wait some more, then audition. I didn’t take pictures this time because I was originally thinking of not writing anything about this audition. When I arrived at the Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Center, I stood in line where a nice, energetic woman was walking around, talking to people, and introducing herself to everyone. I was one of about 40 total auditionees, so it was easy to get to know everyone there. Much nicer than the 200+ girls in the first audition! I found out the woman’s name was Deborah (Debra?), and she was auditioning as well. When she returned from her conversations, she notified me that I stole her place in line. Purely accidental, of course. I apologized and returned her spot to her. She jokingly said she didn’t trust me because I stole her spot. Naturally, we became fast friends and talked throughout the audition process. Deborah (I’m sticking with this spelling) was originally from New York, but she came to Florida to perform with a theatre company in South Florida. After the performances ended, she went to stay with friends for a couple days before returning to New York. When she saw Disney was auditioning, she jumped at the chance.

I think she was under the impression that I was looking to make performing a career (at the time, I might have considered it, but I wasn’t set on it yet). With that said, she gave me a couple tips to help “get my big break”. Since I have no need for them, I thought I’d share them with you. You might find Deborah’s advice more useful than I do:

  • Audition for everything!– Even if you don’t really want the part the company is auditioning for, go for it anyway. It will be good practice for a part you really want later on. Also, the more times you show up, the more the casting directors will remember you. Apparently Kristin Chenoweth got her start because she auditioned for everything. The casting directors got so tired of seeing her at the auditions, they gave her a part so she wouldn’t come back. *That’s the anecdote Deborah gave me. I just tried looking it up and found nothing to corroborate that story. It may not be true, but it’s still a nice story.*
  • Know the Florida Professional Theatres Association (FPTA)– Every year, there is a conference in South Florida where all the big Floridian theatre companies come together and do one big audition/ conference. So instead of doing 20 different auditions with two people in each audition, it’s one audition in front of ALL the casting directors! Two birds with one stone. You can click here for more information on their next conference dates.
  • It’s normal to be nervous– Everyone gets nervous. Contrary to popular belief, the casting directors really WANT you to do well. Shocking, I know. Most of the time, they are really nice and want you to feel comfortable. If they are rude to you during or after the audition, you probably don’t want to work for them, anyway.

Back to the audition…

It was about an hour of waiting and talking to people (I socialized! It was great!) before we were called to the back room in intervals of 15. I was #17, so I had enough time to panic, hyperventilate, and psych myself out before I had to go back. Luckily, Deborah was in my group (she was #16), so I didn’t feel too nervous. One- by- one, we saw our new friends walk from the back room, shake their head discouragingly, then walk out the door to go home. By the time we were called to the back, no one had received a callback. I was worried about my chances, but still hopeful.

The next group of 15 were called back to the same rehearsal room as the type cast audition in my first Disney audition. Luckily, there was no type casting in this audition (thank GOD!). The singing audition was closed, so the only people in the room were the auditionee, the casting director, and the accompanist. We were asked to prepare 16 bars of two songs of contrasting styles, but a majority of the girls were only asked to sing one of them. The other song was there if they REALLY liked you and wanted to hear more. Deborah went into the audition room first. I was silently practicing my song when I heard a sound that made my stomach drop. It was Deborah. She. Was. AMAAAZING!!! She had such a beautiful, soulful voice. I don’t know why I was shocked. I should have expected such a remarkable voice! I can’t remember her first song, but her next song was “And I Am Telling You” from Dream Girls. She nailed it! I’d honestly have been surprised if they DIDN’T ask her to sing another song. I wanted to go in and give her a nice applause. At that point, I was her biggest fan. There was silence, then she walked out of the door with a timid smile on her face. She got a callback for The Lion King!! I wanted to stop and congratulate her, but then I remembered that it was my turn to sing.

I walked into the room shakily. My legs were not going to let me walk in a straight line, so I made up for it by smiling really big. If smile big enough, maybe she won’t notice my bowing legs. I said hello and gave my music to the accompanist. I gave him a tempo and starting point, then made my way to the center of the room in front of the casting director. After that, I blacked out and I can’t remember anything… KIDDING! I remember, but in my head, it looks like a video someone filmed while they were running; blurry and shaky.

I greeted the casting director again, then let the accompanist know I was ready. I wasn’t really ready, but I had to do something. He began to play the beginning of my song, then stopped playing. I looked at him, slightly puzzled, then realized, “Oh crap… I missed my cue.” I quickly looked from the piano to the table, apologizing frenetically. She said that it was fine, and we could start again. The piano started up and I began to sing. I don’t think I got my cue that time either, but I wasn’t stopping. I had to keep going. I tried to animate myself, but I think I ended up looking like a mini dancing Groot: business on the top, dead on the bottom.

Then, the worst possible thing that could have happened happened. I realized how stationary my feet were being, so I did the first thing that made sense with the song: I twirled. Not even a graceful twirl like this, which was what I was trying to go for:

Instead, it felt more like I was pivoting with a basketball. Keep in mind that I still had no control of my legs. I tripped myself in my own twirl, and landed ungracefully back on two feet. I finished my song, looked at the director, smiled, and waited for her verdict. “Thank you, Carol. That will be all.” I said, “Thank you…” and I left.

I met Deborah outside and congratulated her on her success! For the first time since I met her, she was bashful and modest, while I was the talkative one! While she waited to be “called back”, I said my good-byes to everyone I had met, and went home. Strangely enough, I wasn’t sad. Nor was I disappointed this time around. Even though I’ll always remember my first, I think this time was more of an experience. I met lots of great people, who made the wait more fun, and I got to sing for Disney! I’m glad that I mustered up enough courage to audition again.

When I got back into the car, I thought back on my audition. Then I remembered the twirl.

Why? Why did I think that would be a great idea? I thought about that twirl for the rest of the day. Because of that, I knew I had to write about it. The only way to get it out of my head is if I get it off my chest and tell the world. I did a clumsy twirl during my Disney Audition. It shall be one of my most embarrassing cringe-worthy memories for the rest of my life.

Would I audition for Disney again? Maybe, but not in the near future. I have something more exciting coming up which will leave me no time to worry about auditioning for Disney. More on that in July! That’s another thing: had I gotten the part in Disneyland Hong Kong or Shanghai, I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this new opportunity that I will be starting in July. God has a plan. It’s a bit annoying that I don’t KNOW his plan, but I’m trusting him. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a princess in the future. Is Prince Harry still taken?

Until next month,

Carol B

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