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  • Posted By: Admin
  • Posted On: 2012-07-19 00:00:00

Auditions! Auditions! Auditions! For the middling budding Kenyan actor, it is the only thing that matters in his/her acting vocation. Talk about something else and you immediately loose their attention. If you are not talking auditions you are not talking sense. You can’t blame them either; every actor knows it is through auditions that many a talent is exposed.

What really is the rationale of auditions though? Must you attend auditions to make it in the acting industry? Most notably, why are they always held in Nairobi?  Is Nairobi the only place where there is flair? What happens to that actor outside Nairobi that cannot attend auditions in Nairobi due to distance, transport or any other reason hindering them from getting that golden opportunity?

Let us begin by comprehending what auditions are and their purpose. Simply put, auditions are a place to MARKET YOU as an actor. Once you understand and accept that fact, you open yourself up to so many possibilities. Ask the actors you will never see attend auditions but somehow find their way to your small screens at home and your abrupt reaction, as one of the actors who made efforts to attend the same auditions is: “This God forsaken industry of ours is so unfair. Ni kujuana tu”.

 Can you really censure that “special class” of actors? No you cannot. I call them a “special class” because they have discovered ways to make their casting process easier. Those ways vary from, them being already established actors and have reached points in their acting careers where I, as a budding actor, aspire to be. The point where I sit at home and wait for the phone to ring and it’s a call to humbly request me to be on set for this new series and there is this role I would fit in perfectly that they would love me to try out. Some probably have very good casting agents and managers who have amply marketed them and therefore are called in for hush-hush auditions. Some on the other hand have networked so well they already have roles assigned to them before you even get to hear of those auditions. These actors are those that attend auditions for formalities sake knowing very well they do not need to be there.

Auditions are there for casting directors to identify talent for their next project. What it means to you as an actor is; auditions are the channel for you to convince that casting director that you are the person for the job. It is the prospect for you to MARKET your talent. Marketing being the key word here, it therefore would go without saying (I will say it either way) that, if you find other ways to market yourself to the casting director, you do not need to attend auditions.

Nairobi being the capital city of Kenya, you would naturally expect much to happen in this big city. The whole film industry in Kenya is centered in Nairobi. The film commission, theatre houses including the Kenya National Theatre, TV stations, studios, 90% of production houses that bring you the shows you watch on TV and let us not forget “Riverwood” (our own hood) are all in Nairobi. Nairobi is basically our Hollywood, as a matter of speaking.

I will not pretend to know much about Hollywood having not been to the place but from hearsay and the numerous articles I read about their industry, I know it’s located in Los Angels. Wikipedia tells me Los Angels is in the state of California which is the most populated is America. As the home base of Hollywood, it is also known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World," leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television productions, stage productions, video games, and recorded music. The importance of the entertainment business to the city has led many celebrities to call Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home.

70% of those celebrities in Hollywood were not born and raised in the city of angels. Reading some of their stories, most had to travel from far and wide to get to Hollywood. A number left everything behind to get to the big city and do odd jobs to get by as they wait for their big break. Hollywood never went looking for them, they went looking for Hollywood.

By now, if you are outside Nairobi, you already know what I am trying to get at. The numerous aspiring actors complaining and waiting for auditions to get to their hometowns will have to change their thinking. It costs production houses money and time to hold open call auditions. I am however contended with the fact that slowly, production houses in Kenya are also embracing technology and doing away with that tiresome,tedious traditional casting process. In the meantime though, do you really think a production house would come to (insert name of your remote town here) to hold auditions and look for you yet, they can find it at their comfort?

Yes, it is unfortunate that most productions houses and TV stations are in Nairobi and that means auditions being held in Nairobi, a lot talent is left undiscovered in other counties. However, unless our production houses decided to have scouts in different counties to look out for new talent like what happens in most developed film countries, you the actor outside Nairobi will have to miss out on this opportunity or suck it up and travel to Nairobi to attend the auditions. Be bright about it though, there is no point to travel week in week out to attend auditions that you are not guaranteed to be successful in wasting your time and money in the process. Choose wisely the auditions to attend.

In conclusion though and now that you know that auditions are a way to showcase your talent and therefore market you, step out of the box and think of other ways on how you can market yourself to the people that matter, in our case, the casting directors and production houses. Find ways to let them know that you exist. So that when you are leaving everything behind to come to Nairobi, you know what exactly it is you are coming to do and that is, realizing your dream of being that big actor from (insert name of your remote town here). After all, in this day and age of the internet, Nairobi can be right in front of your computer if you choose. Xoxo

Written By Gerald Langiri


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