Today, I'd like to introduce you to my Twitter buddy, @ChaoticCorey, or Corey for short. He is an 18 year old high school senior from the South, and he is getting ready to go through one of the most challenging rites of passage there is: getting into college. And, of course, since this is a theatre blog, it only makes sense that he is planning to go to college for performing arts training! As we've gotten to know each other over the past weeks (or more!), I've found his enthusiasm and love for the craft to be refreshing and eye-opening. But why keep it to myself? I have a feeling that more than a few of you could learn a thing or two from his journey to post-high school education. And those of you who, like me, have been through the same thing can certainly understand what he's going through!
Well, Corey has been kind enough to agree to a series of interviews each step of the way. What follows is a brief interview in which he tells all about how he developed his love for performing and some background about the colleges he's seeking admittance to.
JEFF: Corey, thanks so much for sharing the momentous, life-changing journey with us! What do you specifically plan on majoring in in college? Which colleges are you planning on auditioning for? Why each of those colleges?
COREY: Of course! I'm excited to share my experiences with you! Well, for me, it's always been Musical Theatre ahead of everything so that's definitely what I intend on majoring in. I have already auditioned for and been accepted to AMDA in New York City and I still have auditions set up for Clemson, Elon and for Coastal Carolina. I chose 4 schools that I felt fit different molds for me. I knew I wanted to audition for at least one school in New York City so that I would have a chance to go there, but I knew I wanted to keep my other schools closer to home, so I picked out 3 very different schools. Elon has a well-known, well-regarded program; Coastal Carolina has a great program, but not quite as well-known; and Clemson has a very small, blossoming program with different opportunities than other schools. I only chose to apply to 4 schools which isn't a lot for us Performing Arts majors, but it was the choice that best fit me.
|Corey as Finch in How to Succeed...|
JEFF: How did you get to this point in your life, having decided to pursue a career in the performing arts? What were the deciding factors that made you choose this? What got you interested in the first place? Do you have any training?
COREY: Well, I should say I started performing (acting, singing) at a very young age. I did small plays and little things since I was about 8 years old. But it was in my 6th grade year when I truly discovered my love for acting. I auditioned for the middle school play that year and was cast in a large part. At the end of the year, as a 6th grader, I won 1st place in Solo Acting (monologues) at a state competition out of 50 middle schoolers. That's really when I realized my love for acting and also the first time I actually realized I was good at it! I decided in 7th grade and informed my parents that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and although they thought it was just a phase, there was no changing my mind. And as for training, I have taken voice lessons since I was 13 years old, I have taken almost every opportunity that has presented itself to me, so that I could build my resume and also train. I joined a year-long performing arts company in my hometown that gives extensive dance-training because I feel like it is my weakest link as a performer. So my advice for people wanting to do this is TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN! Take voice lessons! Take dance lessons! And if an opportunity presents itself, take it, because everything you do helps.
|Corey as Cinderella's Prince (Left) in Into the Woods|
JEFF: What shows and roles have you done in school and in the community? What kinds of things have you learned about yourself as a person and a performer from chorus and ensemble roles? Lead roles? How has each theatrical experience up to this point made you who you are today?
COREY: Well Jeff, I did straight plays for a long time and got into musicals later in my acting career. In my first musical, I was cast as Bert in Mary Poppins. That was definitely one of my favorite roles so far, it's just a ball. Also, for Bert, I learned how to tap dance, which was also something I found thrilling! I definitely recommend tap dancing because it is really fun and looks great on a resume. Since then, I have played Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Finch in How to Succeed in Business, Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods, and even... wait for it...Mitch Mahoney in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee! This may come as a surprise because I've played the likes of Seymour and Finch... hahaha, yeah, I don't even know how to explain that one. Not only have I had lead roles, but I've also been in the ensemble of several shows, which I think is also great because it teaches you a whole different style of performing that is so different from having a lead or supporting role. Each role teaches me different things about myself as an actor and I love performing different roles. It's always fun getting into the mind of a character.
|Corey as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors|
JEFF: How are your parents with all of this? Are they supportive? Did you get the "you need something to fall back on" speech? Do they have any influence on your school choices?
COREY: When I first informed my parents that I wanted to be an actor the rest of my life, when I was in 7th grade, they thought it was just a phase and I would decide otherwise in a few years. But sure enough, here I am, talking to you about auditioning for colleges! It's crazy. They are so supportive, though! My mom and I always joke about how she acts like my manager, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do without her in college. Hahaha! They are all for me going to college for this and believe in me completely but they also, as any good parents would, gave me the "you need something to fall back on" speech. But I think every teenager planning on majoring in anything in the arts gets that speech! They definitely have had a say in my college decision, but they pretty much let me choose where I wanted to apply and they are just sitting back and hoping I choose a reasonable school (money-wise). Hahaha!
JEFF: Before your first college audition, what have you done to prepare? Tell us about the whole process from when you picked the schools you are going to up until the scheduling of your audition. Has your current school been any help? Certain teachers?
COREY: Wow, preparing for college auditions has been hectic, stressful, and fun, all at the same time! Lucky for me, two years ago, I found a wonderful voice coach who has not only helped me with voice, but has also helped me learn piano and works with me on monologues. I meet with her an hour and a half a week and we work on everything. She has been the biggest help to me and deserves every penny we pay her! My drama teacher at my school has also been a huge help. I have been with her since my 6th grade year, so she's seen me through all the times, good and bad. She has helped me with scholarships, audition opportunities, and choosing schools that are right for me. If there's one tip I can give to fellow teens who are starting this college auditioning process anytime in the near future, it's to start early! I mean, really, really early. If you think it's too early to start, it's the perfect time. Because once you begin your senior year, you don't want to have to worry about filling out applications and scheduling auditions and finding scholarships. Apply and audition for all your schools as early as possible. It helps! Trust me! And as for girlfriends, hahahaha, ain't no dedicated actor got time for that!
JEFF: What advice &/or tips would you give future perspective performing arts applicants about the process up to this point?
COREY: WOO! Do I get extra points for this one!? Well, I will just reiterate some of the tips I've already mentioned. Start early! It REALLY helps. Choose schools that are right for you and take visits to those schools to decide if they're right for you. And also, take almost every opportunity that presents itself to you to perform. Every little thing you do only makes you better in the long run and may also look great on a resume! Oh and a quick one, take up tap dancing. It's fun!
Pictures courtesy of @ChaoticCorey
COMING SOON: Corey's adventure continues at Elon!