All posts by Stephen Purdy

You and The Cold Call Cowboy

 

You and The Cold Call Cowboy

I used to be a stockbroker. For three interminable years. From the get-go I was mandated by my mentors to study a book (whether it’s still in print I don’t know for sure) called “The Cold Call Cowboy.” It was a sales techniques book written by the so-called “cowboy” himself. Apparently this guy was so effective at “cold” calling his sales prospects that while all the junior brokers around were being incessantly hung up on by those they called, the cowboy had magic techniques and a quick silver tongue that enabled him to keep the prospects on the phone. And he made a lot of sales. His technique wasn’t hard to understand. He was simply different than the last annoying cold caller and those being called appreciated his original and entertaining approach.

Dutifully, I read the book. And it helped with my sales techniques. It occurred to me then and screams in my head now more then ever: This is the simplest way for actors to get the callback and, with some luck on your side, book the job.

The idea is simple: as an actor do what others don’t do. This applies to your audition material, but it is mostly about the choices you make in the room to set yourself apart. I coach a lot of people for auditions and I can say with no hesitation that the reason actors fear being “different” and making bold choices with their material is that they don’t want to “be judged” by auditors as “too off-the-wall.” Don’t be so sure. Casting directors and creatives LOVE (within reason of course) bold but honest, fearless choices from you. Notwithstanding the size of the space you are auditioning in where sometimes adjustments must be made, go big or go home.

As we approach a new audition season I challenge you to accept what I say as truth and find what is truly unique about what you can bring to your audition material and from yourself as yourself. You may be surprised at what happens.

Stephen Purdy is the author of “Musical Theatre Song: a Comprehensive Course” available at bookstores and online everywhere and is a NYC based voice teacher and coach. Reach him at nyvocalcoach@gmail.com. Facebook: Stephen Purdy Vocal Coach and Author Twitter:@purdyvocalcoach

 

Why Aren’t You Working?

Why Aren’t You Working?

Stephen Purdy

Years ago I ran into an actor friend that I like and admire on the Upper West Side in New York City and I asked him the perennial question we theatre people tend to slip in after the pleasantries: “Are you working?” His reply resonates today as much as then: “I’m always working” he said. “I’m just not always getting paid for it.”

This time of year can be frustrating and confusing for an actor if you didn’t book a summer gig. So you’re not “working?” You should still be “working.”

True, you may have spent three months auditioning your tail off, getting so close and then not getting the call. Your may feel crushed at the outcome. You might even be questioning whether this is the life you want. But you can’t take a vacation from your craft.

Coaches will offer soft, encouraging phrases like “Don’t worry. Your number will come up.” But I, as a coach, don’t believe that can be a truthful universal response. I’d love it if all my students would eventually book, but I know that not all will. Whether or not they will book a show is more often than not predicated on how hard they’ve worked to “deliver the goods” in the audition room.

I have a student who I love and adore who didn’t book a show this summer. I believe that by and large it’s the voice that is holding this student back. The student has heaps of talent and wide appeal but the voice simply isn’t strong enough to be competitive yet. The student vowed weekly summer lessons in May. It’s mid July and I haven’t heard a peep. Other students come to their lessons the way others attend church: every week nearly without fail. It’s about priorities.

You always have to be “working”. You can’t wait to begin fixing the holes in your technique when audition season is up and running or near-approaching. It’s the reason baseball players have spring training well before the season starts. If you begin working to fix your technique issues, up-ing your vocal game, going to dance classes and getting your book and audition presentations rock solid once auditions begin it’s too late. And there will be another actor standing beside you in the line who has already done the work. And that’s the person that I place odds on.

Invest in yourself. The returns can be astounding.

So what are you doing this summer?

Stephen Purdy is the author of Musical Theatre Song: A Comprehensive Course published by Bloomsbury and a vocal teacher and coach in New York City at Marymout Manhattan College and privately. Visit stephenpurdy.com and follow on Twitter: @purdyvocalcoach and Facebook: Stephen Purdy Vocal Coach and Author