Note: this article was published in the August 2010 issue of KC Stage Magazine (link no longer active).
The Best of You: Winning Auditions Your Way, by Craig Wallace. Published 2007 by Oyster Mining Company, Inc. 128 pages, ISBN 0-9788362-0-0. Buy at Amazon.com.
The Best of You is a book about auditions. However, it’s geared more towards those people that want to head to Hollywood, i.e., people interested in TV and film auditions, and less than people who are interested in auditioning for live theatre. With that in mind, however, this explanation of the Wallace Audition Technique does have some good things a reader can take away if they are more interested in auditioning for the stage.
“Actors like to make auditioning seem harder than it is,” writes Wallace, and that’s the key to this four part guide to better auditions – taking the mystery and drama out of auditioning. His advice centers on finding your technique by exploring, experimenting, and adjusting it as time goes by, which is perfect for stage auditions. The book also gives six case studies that are very helpful in explaining the five areas of his audition technique.
“There is nothing as tedious as someone trying to be interesting.”
“Auditioning requires different skills than performance,” is one of the lessons from the case studies, and Wallace goes into the relationship between acting and psychology and the psychology of acting. This is especially explored in part 3, “Audition and the Life of the Actor”, where the book really gets down to specifics and makes you think about who you are and how you can better use that in your acting. However, Wallace warns, “There is nothing as tedious as someone trying to be interesting.” There’s no special trick to his technique — it’s just knowing more about who you are and how to best present that in your audition.
The best aspect of The Best of You for me, though, is how I can transfer a lot of his tips on how to audition to how to interview for a job — from learning to ‘just be’ to handling of nerves, many of these techniques are cross-genre.
The book was a quick read — and the best recommendation I can give is that it almost made me wish I was a professional actor, just so that I could further use the techniques presented in the book. It’s worth the read, if anything else for the self-discovery you go through while reading it.