Acting – Audition Tips

In this article we’re going to go over some basic things that one should do before, during and after the big audition for a part.

The fact is, auditions are a nerve wracking experience for actors. They’d rather have their eyebrows plucked. Unfortunately, they’re an essential part of being an actor. So by following these steps you’ll have the best chance of getting the part.

In getting the audition in the first place, you or your agent are going to have to submit a photo and resume to the casting director. Sometimes you’ll get an open call where anybody can come down but these are the exception, not the rule. Most auditions are by invitation only.

If you are called for an audition you will usually be given what are called “sides” or a few pages of a script that you will have to read at the audition. In theater you may also be required to have some kind of monologue ready.

The first thing to do is read the script and prepare for the part. Find out everything you can about the character you’re going to be playing. The lines aren’t important yet. Just commit your focus to the character. How old, where from, how the character feels about other characters in the story. Only after you know everything you need to know about the character do you start learning your lines. Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with. You won’t be required to know the whole script at the audition but be prepared.

Before you go to the audition, dress for the part. Wear clothes that fit the character and the story. If you’re playing a cowboy don’t get dressed up in a business suit. You don’t have to go out and rent spurs but wear clothes that suggest the role. Jeans and boots for this role will do fine.

Warm up for the audition just like a pitcher warms up before a ball game. Do some stretches and vocal exercises. Go over your lines. Don’t go in there cold. It’s normal to be nervous but in preparing yourself you won’t be as nervous and you’ll be able to relax a bit.

When you get to the audition, sign in. You may have to wait for others to read for the same part. Be patient. Avoid talking with the other actors. They will only try to distract you. Focus on what you came there to do.

When actually reading for the casting director, be prepared for anything. Some may sit and chat with you a few minutes and others will just get right down to business. Forget that this is an audition. Do the performance as if you were actually in the production. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make the director believe that you ARE the character. They want you to be the best person for the role because that means their job is completed.

There are some things not to do when reading for the casting director. Don’t suck up. A sincere compliment is fine but a casting director will know when you’re just grovelling. Aside from shaking his hand when you enter, never touch the casting director. Finally, don’t trash the office. Some hyperactive actors will actually do this in the heat of performing a physical scene. This is a definite way NOT to get the part.

After you’re done with your reading the director will let you know when they’ll get back to you. Leave it at that. Don’t make a scene. Just be professional and leave.

If the casting director likes your performance you will be asked to come back. At this time there will be fewer people auditioning and more people watching your performance. Maybe some producers, directors and writers. Wear the same clothes that you wore to the first audition and put in the same performance. Don’t second guess yourself. If they called you back then they liked what they saw the first time. Don’t mess with success.

Keep records of each audition. Make notes of what things you did and what you think you can do better the next time. If something went very well, make a note of what it was.

The more auditions you do the better you will get at them.

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Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Acting
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