What do Taylor Swift’s friendship bracelets have to do with my college prescreens?
This one goes out to all the devoted Swifties I coach and have coached – Rachel, Ava, Allie, Emerson, Bea, Jackson – the list goes on… and on and on and on! Y’all are fans, stans, and (for those in the Class of 2024) in the process of getting those prescreens in the can!
Ms. Swift isn’t the only poet around here. Ha!
But seriously, what can Taylor’s trending friendship bracelets teach us as we prepare our prescreen tapes? Let’s break it down!
Their Origin Story
Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s fairly poetic that they are inspired by this lyric from a song called “You’re on your own, kid”!
“So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it…“
This is quite literally your moment. Your college audition is not a high school show. You’re not sharing the stage. It’s all you. So while you’re not necessarily on your own as you navigate this moment, you are sharing your own work by yourself. So, kid – it’s time to own it!
Beads are like Beats
Don’t take any of this for granted. Not a word, syllable, note, riff, or punctuation mark. Take each moment and… well, as Taylor says, taste it! We coaches do so much detail work with you all. You may have heard it described as working on the beats of a song or monologue, or working moment to moment, not jumping to feeling but playing an action in pursuit of a want. These are your beads.
So what do you do with them?
String them Together (in a way that makes sense)
These beats have to make sense. If I were making a friendship bracelet for, say, Broadway’s Anne Nathan (my fellow MTCA Song Coach), I wouldn’t spell her name ‘nAen ahtNan’. That’s illegible, even if all of the pieces (the beads) are there. Move through the beats of your pieces with intention considering how one beat inevitably leads you to the next. A college faculty member or auditor watching the piece should be able to make sense of it on first viewing, whether they know the piece or not. They should get a strong sense of who you are, what you are doing, and what experience the character is going through or sharing.
Speaking of sharing…
Share them Generously
When you slate and dive into your work, think about it like offering your best friend your bracelet. It’s not a competition, but a gift. And it’s not a gift from Tiffany’s or some fancy store. It’s a small thing. A token of your talent. We know you are all capable of multitudes. And in your prescreen package, with songs and monologues, dances and wildcards, we will see that, through a collection of bracelets.
Maybe they’ll say yes, maybe they’ll say no thank you! But to lightly alter/butcher a Taylor Swift lyric:
“You’re the only one of you! Baby, that’s the fun of you!”
If you make these prescreen tapes authentic expressions of you, and nothing but you, the only person that’s missing out is the person who said no to your authenticity.
About the Author
Scotsman Marcus Crawford Guy, grew up performing in T.I.E productions, pantomimes and earned his first professional credits with the BBC. He graduated the Dance School of Scotland with an Associate’s Diploma from the Trinity College of London and became the first Scotsman to attend The Juilliard School’s Drama Division. Marcus joined SAG/AFTRA following appearances on AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” & ABC’s reboot of “Get Christie Love”. Theatrically, Marcus has worked with the Yangtze Repertory Theatre and Pan Asian Rep off Broadway, and in the Little Orchestra Society’s production of Peter and the Wolf at BAM. Marcus’ short films “Sprinkles” and Making David Harper’s Actor Reel have enjoyed success in the festival circuit. As a Teaching Artist: Marcus facilitated programming with Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell’s not-for-profit, Artists Striving to End Poverty. He has hosted workshops in Southern India at Shanti Bhavan Children’s project and with youth experiencing homelessness and justice involvement. He also teaches Acting Classes to LGBTQIA+ Elders with National Queer Theatre and SAGE USA. Marcus is a guest artist and Irene Ryan selector at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival.