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Theatre Conferences = Networking

This post is after the fact, but I'd be remiss if I didn't share our experience at FTC, Florida Theatre Conference, in the fall of 2017. I hadn't been to FTC since I was a college student in the 90's looking to get approved to move on to SETCs, Southeastern Theatre Conference Auditions--where the college theater student and professional actor audition to get summer theater work in the southeast. Many Florida high schools take their juniors and seniors to audition there. We decided to attend, and my daughter registered for the college auditions. Since it was my first time to have a student audition for college programs, I found it very interesting and yet another learning experience.

What it amounts to is all of the attending colleges in one large room, a brief orientation session, and 90 seconds for the student actor or singer actor to show their stuff (A song & monologue or 2 monologues). It was the shortest of her "college audition" opportunities, but replicates something these kiddos will encounter in future auditions from Disney to regional to SETC to cattle call auditions. Wait a long time, sing 16 or sometimes as few as 8 bars, maybe perform a monologue (but usually not) and off you go. That's what I liked about it. It was helping kids see what they could present in a 90 second package.

Surprisingly, it's actually possible that schools will accept you into their program based on this audition. In our case, Micah received 2 "acceptances" into college programs based on this 90 second audition. Though they were programs she wasn't interested in, it was a nice confidence boost for her. In addition, she received numerous "callbacks", which means you go visit the school's table set up in the expo area and chat with them. This doesn't necessarily result in offers, but, think typical job interview, the networking has officially begun. It did result in a lot of discussion about, "When can you come audition for us?", and "Have you applied to our school?"

When I was a classroom theatre teacher, I didn't understand networking. It didn't mean much to me, and I didn't know how it could help my kids. Now that I do the work I do, and have ended up having breakfast with Michael Greif, director of Dear Evan Hansen, due to networking, I have a different perspective on the necessity of networking. Yes. Do it. Do NOT underestimate it.

FTC is about networking. Audition. Talk to people. Talk to the colleges at their tables. Have your student attend the workshops. At FTC, my daughter took a tap class with a professor from a school she hopes to get into, a voice workshop with another, and an acting workshop with yet another. NO, it might not mean an offer for a full-ride from Carnegie Mellon, but it will mean they saw you, and you were on their radar, and they might start to remember you next time. And, when you are auditioning for programs that accept 16 of 600, or 10 of 900 or 16 of 2000, that matters. Yup.

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