Monday, September 17, 2007


(All right, just a few more posts on auditions, and I can put these wicked thoughts behind me.)

Dear Sean, I am the most talented person EVER, and spiritually deep to the max, but I still didn’t get into my church’s drama group. The trauma I now have in telling my mother that I wasn’t able to get into a lousy church group is debilitating. Who should I sue?


Dear Deflated,

Before you get all litigious on my butt, you should understand that while the primary qualities of a good sacred artist are artistic excellence and spiritual depth, they aren’t the only attributes.

Here are five other things that help or hinder conscription onto a drama team:

1. Attitude

As blog reader Angela puts it:

“...heart, commitment, and the will-they-show-up-for-a-two-hour-practice-even-though-it's-their-third-week-on-in-a-row-and-they-just-got-off-work factor. I think quality is incredibly important. InCREDibly important. But if I have standing before me a great singer who has a negative chip on her shoulder and a pretty okay singer has a great work ethic and a strong sense of community then I may go with door #2.”

Much of the world is willing to bend over backwards for artists who are “difficult” and rude in exchange for their talent.

But that is because much of the world is masochistic and mentally unbalanced.

Hey, given a choice between being miserable for months, but having a well-received forty-five minute Christmas show; OR having a great amount of joy creating for months and having a well-received forty-five minute Christmas show (because let’s face it, the divas really aren’t as crucial as they think they are, and are rarely missed): I’m going for joy.

I did an ensemble comedy show in New York with my church. A very funny and talented comic wanted to be part of the show – but made it clear prior to casting that he would only play feature parts in the sketches, and under no circumstances supporting roles.

So I didn’t use him.

He was shocked, and made it clear that the show would stink without him.

And he sat and waited for the revolt to come –from those cast who would soon recognize how they couldn’t live without him; and from the audience that couldn’t laugh without him.

He’s still waiting.

I’ll be honest – his talent could have greatly helped the show.

But he also would have hurt the show. His attitude would have created tension; his need for the spotlight at expense of others would have undermined other performers; and his lack of vision for the team would have sapped much of the joy from the process.

Maybe one would have outweighed the other.

But why bother enduring the pain to find out?

My friend Karen is often accused of casting her friends in plays she directs.

Her rebuttal: No duh!

She casts a lot of strangers, but if at the end of the rehearsal and performance process they don’t like each other, than something is wrong.

In other words, if the people she casts don’t want to be together, then she feels no obligation to reunite them on another project.

The Bible tells us that there is more than enough trouble in the world.

So don’t go out of your way to create trouble for yourself.

Reasons two through five later…

Just my thoughts,



angela said...

Ooooo... I see my name in lights. I'll try not to let it go to my head. =^)

Thany said...

This was spot on with everything else. Many of my readers have been calling out for words like this.

Sean, I can't tell you how much this series has grown me as a director/actor etc. In fact, one of my actors wondered aloud on my blog if this very series of blogs were preparing me for our next big project.

I hope so. :)