Hi, I’m Hannah, I’m 20 years old and started acting on an amateur level from a very young age. I was a loud child with lots of energy so performing gave me an outlet- which as you can imagine, was much to my parent’s delight- so they were very supportive.
Up until the age of 15, I hadn’t had any opportunities to try screen acting. The school syllabus focuses heavily on stage and I didn’t know of anywhere that offered tutoring in Screen. However, after a quick google, I came across YAFTA and decided to book onto the evening classes in Harrogate. After my first taster class I began to realise that screen acting was what I wanted to pursue.
After a few months I was delighted to receive an offer of representation with YAFTA’s talent agency. I was then introduced to the crazy world of auditions which for a young girl was exciting, thrilling, but of course- nerve racking. I was very eager to carry on learning about not just acting but the acting industry as a whole. YAFTA offer many opportunities to speak and learn from industry professions and this experience for me, has been invaluable. I participated in workshops, courses and most recently the screen acting diploma.
Getting to the audition
You have to be prepared for last minute calls in this industry- luckily I was at home at the time which I received a phone call saying I had to be in Manchester in just a couple of hours time for a part in Coronation Street. Unluckily however, I didn’t have time to finish my cuppa I’d just made!
Short notice auditions can be difficult as I don’t drive and you’re paying premium travel prices for anything that last minute. So ‘Taxi of Mum and Dad’ is a god-send. I am so fortunate that I have two amazingly supportive parents who are always on hand when it matters. It’s important to have people who care about you and understand you in this career and they have always been there to give the support I need – which is so much more than just lifts.
So my lovely dad managed to get away from work and pick me up to make my audition!
An hour and a half later me and Dad arrive in the wonderful Media City in Manchester, where the very famous ‘cobbles’ are situated at Corrie HQ. In fact, you walk right beside them to get to the audition waiting area.Media city is the place to be as an actor- it’s like the actors Disney land! Its hosts production sites for BBC, ITV, CBBC and more. It’s great to look around without the stress of an audition so I’d fully recommend any actor to go for a visit sometime.
What was it like? It was just another working day for everybody at Coronation street which meant there were cast members nipping in and out (who would always give you a smile) delivery drivers, background artists, and crew members. Everyone is super friendly. I was greeted by the receptionist who took my name and gave me the audition sides. Sides must be collected on arrival- they will not be emailed in advance to avoid any content being leaked.
Was I nervous? Yes. I’m always nervous for auditions. For me, nerves are a vital part of auditions. During my training and through practice from multiple auditions I feel confident that I can harness nerves and use them to bring the emotion to the surface.
Nerves are sometimes a good thing, but you don’t want to put pressure on yourself. You can never be happy with every single audition and of course you can never have 100% success rate. But there are so many reasons why you may not get the part and its usually never because you ‘weren’t good enough’ Acting is a very personal thing, and everyone who reads a script will have a different interpretation, but that’s brilliant, because it means you can be sure that every audition you go to, you will be bringing something unique with you. All an audition is is a chance to show your interpretation to someone else! And you’re getting to do what you love, in front of industry professionals! Also, focus on the fact that if you have made it into the room, you’re halfway there- It means that your agent and the casting team think you have potential!
As previously mentioned, sides were given on arrival in this case, so preparation was difficult. Of course, I made sure to arrive early to have enough time to familiarise myself with the script and prepare it the best I could. I also studied the spotlight breakdown of the character so I had an idea as to what I could expect on the pages. Having less time with a script can be daunting, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, but I do wonder if there is such thing as ‘too much’ preparation. I have grown to enjoy the auditions where I have less time with a script as it means that a lot of the decisions made are instinctive. I think as an actor, your instinctive response to a character is so important and it can be easy to forget this. You will be bringing something unique and personal to the role when working like this and on some level might be able to connect to the character more.
Getting the role
The response was very quick; it was only a couple of days after the audition that I received the good news. Of course I was ecstatic when I found out. I had about a week to take it in, and it felt like the ball really started to roll- I received the script in the post the next week along with a welcome letter and I received phone calls and emails from the crew to finalise some details.
Now that I knew more about my character I was able to start preparing for the role. I was very excited to read the full episode script to see my characters journey and to see how she connected to the storyline she was in. I like to read the script in advance so I can read it a few times and let it sink in. For me, giving myself a few days after the first few reads without ‘doing anything’ with it, allows new ideas to form and to allow that ‘instinctive response’ to guide the process. By the time I was on set I felt I had a very good idea of who my character was and why. A lot of my final preparation was done in my hotel room the day before and the morning of filming. I like to have a private space to do whatever I need to do to ‘get me in the zone’. Anyone who overhears me preparing for a scene will probably think I’m crazy. I hope the hotel staff weren’t too concerned!
On set experience
The moment I arrived on set I felt very welcomed. I was introduced to one of the runners who explained where everything was, then showed me to my dressing room. After that, I was escorted to costume and then moved on to hair and makeup. Everyone along the way was very friendly and all wanted to talk about my character and the scenes I’d be included in.
Where I’ll be when I watch the episode
My dad is a big fan of Corrie (I think he was more excited when I got the role than I was!). So I’ll be involved in the usual scene in our house of ‘feet up, telly on, Corrie and a biscuit’.