Mentoring for your college auditions | The MT Project

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Whatever your goal may be, it’s our mission to ensure that you achieve it.

And with us, advice is always free.

Coastal Carolina University

Your name (first and last please): Elliott Scott Smith

School you attend: Coastal Carolina University

Major and degree type (i.e. Musical Theatre, BFA): BFA Musical Theatre

Expected graduation date: May 2016

What initially drew you to your school? What made it your final choice?: Initially, I was not going to audition at Coastal. I had had a different school as my top choice and did not want to go anywhere else, but my mom heard about the program through a friend and convinced me that it would be a good idea to audition.  After all of my auditions Coastal was the only school that I had been accepted too, however it was always on my list of schools that I wanted to attend because of how nice the faculty and students were when I came to audition.

What was your audition experience like with this school? Was it different than other schools you auditioned for?: Coastal Carolina’s audition experience was very unique and quite different from the other schools that I auditioned for. We had the regular audition where we stood in front of a panel of professors, sang our songs, and performed our monologues, but after that portion of the audition we got to take a tour of the campus (led by Musical Theatre/ Acting majors) , have a meeting with the current theatre students, and have a meet and greet style lunch with the faculty and students. After the lunch, we were separated into different workshop classes to take with the department. There was a vocal class, a dance class, a monologue class, and an acting/movement style class. It was a VERY beneficial audition because by the end of the day I had a pretty good feeling of what the department at CCU felt like. I loved it. I felt very comfortable with both the faculty and the students. They were so friendly and so welcoming. It honestly did not feel like an audition. After the audition day was done we also got the chance to see one of the school’s musical productions.

What do you feel your program’s strengths are?: The strengths in the program are with acting and singing.  As a student here at Coastal, we receive four levels of acting and four levels of studio for those acting classes. We also have stage audition classes, movement classes, and vocal production classes, as well as voice lessons each week.

What do you like best about the faculty?: The thing that I like the best about the faculty is that they are all very knowledgeable of their craft. They know much about the ins and outs of the business and most of them are still working actors. They are also very kind and welcoming and really give each student equal and ample amounts of attention. I’ve only been here one semester and already I feel like I’ve grown so much.

What is your campus like?: Our campus is different from many of the other campuses that I toured when looking at colleges. It is not a huge campus, but it is not small either. It is a very centralized campus with the gym, dorms, and dining halls along the outskirts of the academic buildings. There are several “parks” located around various parts of campus as well as a small lake with fountains. It is a very green campus as well, and is very beautiful to look at. The only downside is that it is difficult to navigate around Conway or Myrtle Beach (the surrounding towns) without a vehicle, because the University is kind of tucked away from everything. It is not your typical “college town” but it is still a very nice place to live, I honestly have not had a problem with it.

Do you feel your program places any particular emphasis on acting, dancing or singing, or is each area completely equal?: I feel that our program places a heavy emphasis on acting and singing, but we do get 2 levels of ballet, 2 levels of jazz, 2 levels of tap, musical theatre dance styles, so dance is also a big element of our program!

What types of techniques do you study? How do these techniques influence your program as a whole?: Major focuses used in this program include:
Ballet – Russian (School of American Ballet) mixed with some Cecchetti
Acting -(in four classes Acting 1 (Basics/Monologues), Acting 2 (Realism), Acting 3 (Alternatives to Realism), Acting 4 (Shakespeare)) – Uta Hagen, Stanislavksi, Chekov, Grotowski, and more.
Movement – Ann Bogart’s Viewpoints, The Suzuki Method, Laban Effort Actions
Voice – Linklater Progression

What are the performance opportunities at your school?: Everyone in the BFA program at CCU is guaranteed a role of substance by the time they graduate, in addition to this role, they can be cast in other shows as well. Freshman can and do get cast. All casting for our season is based off of general style auditions at the beginning of fall semester, from which each show is cast, There are also numerous performance opportunities such as cabarets, seconds stage shows, and community events such as those put on by our Upstage theatre club, Musical Theatre Company, and Dance Company.

What are your tech requirements as a student?: As a student, we must take both a stagecraft class and a costuming class. While in these classes we are required to complete 30 shop hours in the scene shop or in the costume shop. We also have the opportunities to work as run crew, prop assistants, sound assistants, assistant stage managers, and other various positions for any of the shows during our season.

Does your school encourage arts related work outside of your program? If so, do they have someone to help you coordinate this work?:  CCU is a HUGE supporter of getting work outside of the program. We are encouraged to audition for SETC, NETC, The Midwest Theatre Conference, The Outdoor Drama Auditions, and Strawhats, to name a few.

How many men and how many women are in your class? Is this typical of other current classes in your program?: In my class, composed of both BFA Acting and BFA Musical Theatre students, there are four men and ten girls. This is not the same for other classes though, for example, the sophomore class has eight men and about seven or eight girls. The same is said for the junior class. The other classes have more of an even number of men and women. Coastal’s class sizes are genuinely kept between 14 to 16 people.

Does your program have a cut system? If so, how does it work?: Our program is not a cut program.

Are you aware of anyone who has been offered professional work while studying? Were they encouraged to leave or stay? Is their spot in the program held?: One of our current seniors, Jackie Wiatrowski, is currently playing Lady Gaga at “Legends In Concert” in Hawaii. She has been there for this past semester, and her spot has been held. She will be returning for the spring semester and will be a female swing for our production of “Pippin.” Though they are not being paid, we also have some students studying abroad at the Academia Del Arte in Tuscany, Italy for the fall semester.

Does your program do a senior showcase? What cities do you showcase in? Is every student invited to perform? If not, how are the students chosen?: Yes! All of the BFA Acting and Musical Theatre students perform a showcase in New York City.

How many classes (or credit hours) do you take based in the arts? How many gen eds?: This semester, I took 15 credit hours based in the arts (5 art based), and 3 credit hours (1 gen ed) based on general eds.

Feel free to share anything else about your program that you think is relevant for us to know, or what makes it great!:  I seriously underestimated this program before I got here. Coastal is an incredible school for the arts. The professors make the experience both challenging and extremely fun.  Everyone (students and professors) is really focused on their craft and gaining more knowledge, which makes the experience so enjoyable.

Would students interested in your program be free to contact you? If so, please list your e-mail address:
OF COURSE!!!! Anyone with any questions can email me at ellioscosmi@gmail.com

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