Your dream is to be a working actor. You know you have what it takes, you’ve studied hard, and maybe even taken the big plunge to move to New York or LA. You’ve always been told you “have it,” but the phone doesn’t ring for callbacks. What separates professionals from wannabe talent show prodigies isn’t inspiration, it’s preparation and execution. Take control of your audition with these ten helpful tips to improve your skills.
This may sound simple but it takes practice and preparation! It’s easy to let audition nerves get the best of you, but really it is just one audition – there will be more and your life doesn’t depend on it. If they’ve called you in they definitely want to see you and are trusting that you’ll be good. If you are nervous in the audition then everyone in the room is nervous that you’re not going to deliver on set. Remember you’re the answer to a casting problem.
2. One Bag
Seriously, leave whatever physical stuff you can outside of the room. This isn’t always possible with purses, wallets, water, jackets, car keys etc. In that case have an “audition bag”. This is one bag that holds everything. Walk in, set it down, leave it. It will stop you from fumbling, dropping things etc. Trust me, unless you’re auditioning for the ‘ditzy blonde’ casting won’t think that little routine is cute.
You don’t get sympathy points if you’re having a bad day, you’re stressed out, traffic was horrible etc. Everyone in that room has lives too and had to fight the same traffic to get there. Leave your problems outside the door. Walk in with great posture and body language and a smile helps 🙂 And remember, right now, for the next 10 minutes, there is no place you’d rather be.
Yes, of course, bring your character into the room, but also bring YOU. Let a little bit of your personality shine through. Be prepared to answer a few questions about yourself, and don’t give one-word answers when having a conversation with the casting director. The industry is looking for interesting, creative actors.
If you can, be as off book as possible. Memorizing the material or at least being super familiar with it gives you room to play, and generally helps with nerves as well.
The casting directors aren’t the only important people in the room, there is also the reader. Try to make eye contact and make a genuine connection, character to character. Remember, the reader is probably another actor and is just as interested in playing as you are. Connection is what will make the scene natural and believable.
Know your character. Read the entire script beforehand if it’s available to pick-up as many details as possible. Try ad libbing / improving this character as part of your preparation
- What does he/she say about themselves?
- What do they think of what’s going on here?
- What is their body language like? What physical habits, posture or “nervous ticks” do they exhibit?
Even nasty characters don’t think they’re nasty. On some level we all love ourselves, the persona we’ve created and who we’ve become. This holds true for your character as well. Play the love and let that shine through. We could all use a little more love in our lives.
Wardrobe is important, but don’t obsess about this. If you are cast in the role they have professional people to take care of that, so don’t try to do their job. No one is expecting you to show up in costume, unless specified. Keep the feeling tone but still bring You.
When you’ve given it your best, and the audition is over, say thank you and get out of there. Don’t linger to chat or make a spectacle of gathering all of your belongs that you brought into the room. (see tip 2 above). Keep in mind that casting directors have probably only allotted 5 minutes for you. They’ll appreciate you not taking up extra time to make a grand exit.
Most of all, have fun! What we do with our time is what we do with our lives! This is your life and your career. You don’t get any brownie points for going through this unhappy so you might as well enjoy the ride.