Gerald Langiri
October 24 / 2011

A question that needs not just an answer but a perspective backing it up and perhaps it is better off posed to those who are involved in the Kenyan Film industry. My mission at the moment is to find out whether it is eligible for one to do so. I always carry a scrutinized survey when it comes to controversial issues such as this and after going around door to door, here is what I found out concerning this topic.

I posed this burning question to an assistant producer in a certain production house whether it was appropriate for one to cough up some “dough” for auditions and she firmly responded positively and concurred to it. I was honestly surprised as she went on by telling me that when holding an audition, one has to pay for the audition form which is currently approximately between Kshs.300 to Kshs.600 for the audition form. I asked her why actors should really have to incur that cost and she responded by further explaining to me that the money collected is used to cater for costs such as hiring the audition room and also cover the cost for using the printed form and buy lunch for the judges. I thought for a moment that holding auditions is part of the production’s budget. Well, guess I was wrong on this occasion.

In this case, I will be neutral on whether people should pay for auditions and will bring both the positive and negative side and it is up to you to give your own opinion and this certainly must be food for thought.

On a positive note, perhaps the reason as to why some of the auditions are being charged is to see who is willing to go deep into his/her pocket for the passion of the art. Maybe charging auditions is a system used to cut the number of those auditioning to discriminate jokers and those that are serious. “From a business perspective, they say lose some get some. Just like a business, you invest some money by paying for the audition and maybe lady luck will be on your side and you could get a role which in the end you get all your money back with a bonus profit. However just like any other business, you are taking a risk and you are not guaranteed the success of getting a role. ” These are the words a friend of mine gave me after she paid for an audition and in the end she scooped a role. She continued by saying it’s worth every dime and her 450 shillings multiplied to big digits.

On the negative side of this, an audition is like an interview and most people will agree to that and charging the interviewee makes no sense at all. By charging auditions, this may tend to discriminate those who are not financial able and yet they have the talent or fit the position.

They say Kenyans like free things but to those who charge auditions, how sure are we that you are legitimate by conducting this? A question that one thespian would like answers to as he went for an audition that had a fee in order for one to be auditioned that was held two months ago. The actor told me he went and paid to be auditioned and after the audition, he was told the winners would be publicized on the productions website after exactly two weeks. Now it has been three months down the line and no signs or indications of the winners that who got roles were publicized. The actor keeps on checking his mail on a daily basis to see whether perhaps he was contacted via e-mail but it seems there is no hope at all. Sigh, I empathize with him as he told me that his 500 shillings went down the drain and what a waste. Why I really empathize with him is that, the production would have at least publicized the winners to spare him the disappointment or thoughts that the audition was just a rip off.

Concerning legitimacy, most actors are desperate to get opportunities to be in a production and would do anything for that rare golden opportunity. We have seen the daylight of cons in our society and so, some con artists may tend to take advantage of that. So, if you happen to charge auditions, most people would like to be assured that it is legitimate.

I however stand that I will not be bias concerning the issue but to those who have answer to this, feel free to give your opinion concerning the matter and use our voting poll by voting for yes or no whether if one should pay for auditions.

Should one pay for auditions?

Written by: Mark Kaiyare
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