MAUDE SUBMISSION ADVICE
The most important piece of advice I can give is: Put up your sketches and characters at Jekyll's Asshole and Not Too Shabby, Thursdays at 7pm 10pm in the Inner Sanctum (http://ucbtheatre.com/performance/51880
). There will be a "Best of Shabby" show on a UCB mainstage soon, so get involved now to increase your chance of being included in that showcase!
Keep working with coaches and directors, keep taking classes, perform at Shabby and other similar shows in the Inner Sanctum, UCB Sunset, and UCB Franklin.
Here's some additional advice from the 2017 Maude Committee. FIRST/SECOND ROUND ACTOR THOUGHTS:
--Be original. Stop doing Midwestern Mom characters. Seriously. 2016 was the year of Game of Thrones characters. 2017 was the year of the mom from Stranger Things. If you're going to do a character that a lot of other people will probably do, make sure you have a funny and unexpected take on it. Other characters we saw a lot: "Woke _____" and "Wacky Acting Teachers" -- again, if you're going to do a character like this, have a unique POV!
--Keep props and costume changes to a minimum. Overly long changes can sometimes hurt an audition, so make sure all of your props/changes are really integral to the characters.
--Try to think beyond accents. British, Southern, New York/New Jersey accents may be done well, but that doesn't mean you're doing a character. Make the accent something you bring to the character, not the basis for your character.
--Similarly, think beyond special skills and focus on creating specific, nuanced characters. We love seeing your cool talents and juggling flaming torches is awesome, but ultimately, the focus should be on the character.
--Remember that characters aren't just a voice. They are a full person. They could walk, stand, and look different than you look, so feel free to get characters up on their feet and embody them. A lot of people had their videos as close shots so they could keep a wig or something out of frame, but honestly, it's a character video, not a camera trick video. Your specificity in a character is more than just how they sound and facial expressions.
--Make sure your characters heighten. Choose active ideas that you know would fill the UCB Sunset stage.
--Try to pick characters you could really see on Maude Night. Many auditioners chose to do celebrity impressions which are few and far between at Maude Night. And it's always more fun to see impressions when someone can really NAIL them. Most importantly, if you’re doing an impression, make sure the character still has a unique POV and isn’t just a famous voice.
--No need to script character pieces so we know exactly what the other person just said i.e.: "what's that? You don't want to go on vacation?" or even just a bunch of "No?" "What's that?" They can just show us on their face or with their reactions. Do that if you have to but use that tactic sparingly.
--Don't do any character piece too far in profile. Face out!
--Show us why YOU are funny. Don't be afraid if the premise is bizarre. If you think it's funny and you commit, it will showcase YOUR sense of humor. And we always loved seeing when people performed characters that were specific to their experience and culture.
--Be off book and well-rehearsed. People who made it to the final round not only had knockout performances, but most had put detailed thought in costume/character elements (even if very simple) and prop/costume transitions (even if very simple). FINAL ROUND ACTOR THOUGHTS:
--BE OFF BOOK. If you can't learn a line for your Maude audition, we have no reason to believe you'd be able to learn your lines for shows.
--Keep costumes and props simple and don't make a mess. We'd prefer not to watch you spend 10 minutes cleaning up after you callback.
--Everyone is assigned two pre-existing Maude sketches in the final round of auditions. Sketches are assigned in order for us to see how well-rounded performers are. Don't assume you'll be the "voice of reason" in one scene and a "wacky character" in the other scene. Some auditioners were tripped up by trying to force a "character" into a scene that didn't call for one. Performers should just look for clues within the text to determine the game of the sketch and how best they think the scene should be played.
--Make choices that serve the sketch, rather than shoe-horning a character into the sketch in order to showcase something that you can do.
--Do the necessary research to understand the sketch. Learn how to pronounce all of the words. If there's a song in the sketch, learn the song. ADVICE FOR WRITERS
--Make sure the basics are there: clear game established on the first page of the sketch, clear beats, heightening, justification if needed, a funny button. Stick to one game for the entire sketch rather than veering off into a different game.
--Remember to heighten. Many packets repeated the same joke or just had characters do the same thing, but louder. Take the game to a new, surprising, unexplored place. Ask yourself "Is the audience going to get ahead of this?" or "Does this sketch surprise?"
--Keep your dialogue tight. Long lines don't read well and don't play well on Maude.
--On topical sketches, try to avoid the most obvious topics. It was really refreshing to read topical sketches that weren't about Trump, La La Land, or how bad 2016 was. If you do want to write about those topics, avoid the most obvious games. Surprise us!
--Write primarily for the stage.
--Here are some words and phrases that came up a lot as we were reviewing and discussing packets: predictable, repetitive, common sketch set-up, too crazy too early, list-y, inactive/talk-y.