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Non-Equity Survival Guide: How To Survive EPAs

January 6, 2017

Re-Post from IMakeTheater.blogspot.com


Are you a non-equity actor? With no EMC points and a college degree? Well, girl oh boy, you are IN LUCK because so am I! Thanks to the "New Year/New You" mantra, I'm hoping I can help encourage you to get out to more auditions this season.



I went to my first EPA of the year a couple of weeks ago, and I actually got seen! While that is not always the case, I was determined to stay positive and calm and make the audition about ME and not about what it was for. Now trust me, that is not always the case for this anxiety-ridden pixie. Nothing is more nerve-racking then walking into a narrow, tight waiting area with 20+ nervous and attractive people. Let's be clear, EPAs for a non-equity actor (with no EMC points) seriously BLOWS. It sucks. But you absolutely CANNOT let that throw you. Here are my 2 cents, for whatever it's worth, about how to make those EPAs work for you.





 When deciding whether or not to go to an EPA, what monologue to do, and what time to go, first set a goal. Do you really like this company and want to get seen? Do you just need audition practice? Are you hoping to get cast? Sussing out your expectations for the audition and then being realistic about what you have control over will help you muddle through the anxiety and the nerves of waiting to be seen. And there is NO WRONG ANSWER. Every audition is a valuable experience. If acting is your career, auditioning is one skill you will always utilize.


 Obviously, every EPA experience will be different. So, if you are really wanting to make an impression, talk to people who know the company, and do your research. If you know you will have a good shot of getting seen, then go. The best thing about EPAs is you literally have nothing to lose. If you do well, awesome! If you don't or find a piece isn't working, that's awesome too because they 1.) won't remember and hold it against you, and 2.) the experience gives you practice and information to make your audition better for the next thing. 




Confidence is everything when you walk in the room. Even when you are restricted to a certain genre, or style, do the piece that excites you, and that when put under a little pressure, is easy to access emotionally. Show them the thing that you do best. What will be impressive, especially in a big audition pool, is that you perform confidently and hit all the marks in the piece. This may take a few auditions, and a lot of pieces to find the ones that work for you. Don't underestimate the simple piece that you do well - get in there, and show off! And when you say, "thank you," let that subtext be, "you're welcome."




Don't ever assume that you will be in and out. Even if you show up 45 minutes before to get on that list, the second an Equity actor rolls in, you are pushed behind again. Don't sweat it! Just be prepared to sit. And don't just bring snacks, bring your music, an extra charger, your coloring book, anything that will keep you chill. Pamper and comfort yourself. Splurge on that Whole Foods trail mix.




I don't know what the NYC EPA scene is like, but when you are in Philly, you always see 20 people you know. Depending on your personality, it can help or hurt. Some people need to stay in there own lane, BUT I will say, if you can have an EPA Buddy who matches you in personality and energy, it can be a great comfort that will distract you from the "what ifs" and the "I'm not good enoughs." Just having someone there with you to mutually cheer on, encourage, and to goof off with will make your sitting time go way faster! Plus, if you DON'T want to socialize with a million people, they can be your buffer.




Whether or not you felt your audition was "good," celebrate. When you leave that room, even though you were in there for less than 2 minutes, celebrate. YOU DID IT. Remember that this is a horrible, sickening thing they make actors do. You show up early in the morning with NO PROMISE of being seen, you wait for hours on a list of 30+ people, when you are getting close, 5 Equity actors roll in and 2 EMC people and they ALL have to be seen ahead of you, and when you finally get in the room, you have to be 100% impressive and stand out in less than 2 minutes. C'mon. If that isn't a mini victory for an actor, then I don't know what is. (Seriously, you gotta take them where you can get them!) 



I hope this helps you as much as it did me. I also have to give a shoutout to my guy Brandon, and my EPA Buddy Arlen for being my cheerleaders and for giving me some inspiration for this piece. 





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Francesca Piccioni

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