The Follow-Up

The Follow-Up
Sunday musings...

As one builds the "Business of Self",  what I find with many singer/actors is the nervousness of following up!

I say nervousness, because I see and hear an uncomfortable-ness in many of you when you are asked about HOW you follow up, or when you are asked certain questions about follow-up and you answer "I couldn't do that - that is pushy!"

Follow-up doesn't need to be pushy.  They are not the same.

In our business,  it is absolutely NECESSARY to network and follow-up.  "Out of sight, out of mind" is absolutely the name of the game!

If you've auditioned for someone,  done a class with someone,  met someone after a performance who speaks with you/gives you their card - YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW UP!!!!!

This is not being aggressive or pushy!  A simple email to thank the person for the time/conversation et al keeps your name and your work in their mind.

HOW you follow up is the important thing.

Let me give you an example:  A singer/dancer had an appointment for an audition and made it through the final cut.  The director/choreographer teaches a class she/he takes - and the same D/CH was holding  EPAs for the same show the following week.  The singer/dancer doesn't know whether to wait for a callback through the dance cut, or attend the EPA.

My suggestion?  You are in the director's class?  Why not just approach him after class and simply say - "I would like your professional advice:  I made it through the final cut for such-and-such;  would I be wasting  your time to attend the EPA as well, or would you like to see me there?"

The singer/dancer was APPALLED that I would suggest this.  She/he thought it was rude and telling the director what to do!!!

I disagree.  There is a professional way to approach someone.  You don't ask if you are getting a callback!  You are asking a professional opinion.  He has an opportunity to say "Sure come in for the EPA or don't worry about it."  He has an opportunity to speak with you about your audition if he chooses, or give you a general answer.  You are not asking for a private critique;  you are not asking if you are getting a callback;  You are asking if this is worth YOUR time and HIS time.  This keeps your name and your face and your approachability in his mind.

By not approaching him, you have gained NOTHING.  His response to HOW you approach him will give you a sense of what would be the best way to continue in your audition process.

We don't often get an opportunity like this - and I think understanding the opportunity and treating it with respect is important in the follow-up of your audition!!

What the follow-up is NOT is obnoxious,  over-bearing or stalking!!!

Keeping in touch to keep your name/your activities in the mind of someone is one thing!  Constant demand of time,  outrageous expectation - is not follow-up and not healthy!

If you have studied one-on-one with someone, taken a class of any kind, had any kind of interaction, or even having a referral - you should feel comfortable that you have an invitation to engage the follow-up.

If you do not hear back - don't take it as a snub!  People are busy!

Let me give you a personal example:  my students and I discuss their careers and I often make suggestions for repertoire, people they can work with et al.  Due to the nature of my schedule, I often will not get to some of the information.  I EXPECT my students to email me or text me to remind me "Susan, can you send me that file?  Can you send me the contact info for so-and-so that we discussed in our lesson today? Can you remember to bring XYZ today to my lesson as we discussed."

This is EXPECTED.  Frankly, I can't remember everything!!!!  Having my students send me a quick reminder of what I am supposed to do for them is WELCOME!   It keeps the task in my mind and on my desktop!

If I forget - it's that simple.  I forgot.  I haven't snubbed you;  I haven't backed out of my responsibility to our conversation!  I simply forgot or I simply got busy with the many other things and it has slipped my mind.

It is the same for other teachers, casting directors, directors, choreographers, agents, producers etc etc etc!

Our plates are FULL and we need YOU to remind us to keep YOU in our minds!

If you are in the mind of the people you are wanting to work with,  there is  much better chance to be the person that is called upon if your talent is needed!

The follow-up takes work, but it's worth it!

A simple "thank you" email after an interview or an audition, shows your commitment and your focus.

I am "old school" when it comes to this - the smallest thank you can make all the difference in the world!  Making sure you answer queries,  making your needs and desires known,  making sure you CANCEL appointments if you have to, instead of just not showing up...ALL so important to show what kind of conscientious human being and artist you are!

Whether it's a phone call,  a note, a postcard, an email - a simple "great to meet you last night, and hope to sing for you again"  can keep your name and your professionalism in the mind of someone who could help your career.

Walking up to a director after a Master Class and saying "I auditioned for your production last week - when will I get a callback?"  is NOT a follow-up.  The is obnoxious and unprofessional.

A simple rule of thumb:  if YOU were to be approached, how you would want to be treated?  Treat others in the same way YOU would want to be treated:  with respect, with professionalism,  and with a sense of decorum.  Hounded,  questioned,  "attacked",  cornered - doesn't fly - in person, by email, by regular mail, by voice mail.

BE approachable,  recognize the importance of the follow-up to keep your name/your face/you talent in the front of the minds who see SO MANY faces each week.

If you want to work, you need to stand apart.  Be remembered for something positive and something professional.

Don't be afraid to follow-up.  IT IS EXPECTED. It's part of our business.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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