Preparing Your Drama Pre-screening Video?
As I was an international applicant I had to undergo a pre-screening process so that I can find out whether I would be invited for a live audition and continue in the selection process. To find out more about the Juilliard Drama Pre-screening requirements you can click here.
I had to prepare 1 contemporary monologue, 1 classical monologue and 1 monologue in my native language. Each individual monologue had to be no more than 2 minutes in length.
Selecting your monologues
I have received a number of e-mails from people from different parts of the world seeking advice on monologues to choose from in applying to drama schools.
1) Find out what you already have under your belt
What helped me in the process of selecting monologues was to draw from the body of work that I already had under my belt. Prior to applying to graduate school I had an undergraduate degree in Theater Arts as well as roughly five years of professional theater experience in the Philippines. So I’ve got a couple of monologues from plays that I had a familiarity with and which have already been “tested” in front of a live audience – whether it is in an actual theater or in a class with other actors.
2) Find out what it is that excites you
It was very important to me that I liked the monologues that I chose. This may seem very obvious, but sometimes when we’re applying to get into something we tend to choose from an idea of what we think the panel wants or does not want to see. When in reality, your selection of monologues is an opportunity for you to reveal who you are and what kind of stories and characters excite you. It will also be an opportunity for the other schools to get to know you. Take note that you will be rehearsing these monologues and sharing them to different people over and over again depending on how many schools you are applying to so you might as well like the monologues you’ve chosen.
Rehearsing for the actual filming
Even before the day of the actual filming I have rehearsed all three monologues in the order I intended to film them. I sought the help of an acting teacher I had in undergraduate school who most graciously agreed to help me in my graduate application process. As the scheduled date of the filming of my pre-screening video neared I got two friends to help me with the actual filming. One whose eye I trusted enough to help “direct” me during the filming process. And one who had more camera experience who could take the shots and edit the video. I provided copies of my monologues to both people. I also asked my “director” friend to come see me do my monologues and give some notes before the actual day of filming. It was important that we all had a familiarity with the stories I wanted to communicate to help my work come to the fore.
Since I knew beforehand that the background of my pre-screening video would be black I brought in mostly plain white clothes. For my contemporary monologue, I chose Joan from “Saint Joan” by George Bernard Shaw and had on a white top and white pants. For my classical monologue, I picked Diana from “All’s Well That Ends Well” using that same white top and a long pastel skirt. For my native language monologue, I chose a Filipino translation of Portia’s “the quality of mercy” speech from “The Merchant of Venice.” I wore the same plain white top and white pants from my contemporary monologue and put a blazer on top of it. All this is to say you don’t really have to go over the top in terms of your costumes. Representative clothing would be fine because you would want your work to stand out rather than your production design.
The actual filming
A teacher whom I knew from undergrad was kind enough to allow me to use one of their studios for two hours even though I was no longer a student. It was a studio with wooden floors and black wooden walls at the front and back with transparent windows on the sides. It was a space with a lot of natural lighting and we shot the video in the morning so we didn’t have to worry about lighting. We also filmed it very early (around 8AM) when most students were still on their way to school so we could enjoy more quiet as the room wasn’t sound proof.
Make sure you follow the pre-screening requirements faithfully and that you are seen and heard very clearly throughout the entire video.
I hope this helps!
REGINA DE VERA