Auditions Are the Necessary Pain Required to Get Work in Film and Television. Might as Well Do Auditions Right.
I would love to start this post telling you the oldest audition advice in the world. "Get over yourself." But if we're real with one another, it is hard to be an actor without an attached need to be loved. So, in order to have any hope of reducing nerves, eliminating waiting room comparisons, and undoing post audition self-destructive thinking, here are some things to ponder.
In fact, don't ponder them. Print this page out. Fold it up and put it in your wallet. Take it out and read it before you leave for the audition. Read it again before you go into the waiting room. Then read it again when you get to your car to go home.
- The casting director has a unique lens that he processes the candidates through. You could do the exact same audition in front of 10 different auditors against the exact same 50 competing actors and sometimes you'd get a callback and sometimes you wouldn't.
- Auditioning for this role may not get you this job. But if the casting director likes you, and remembers you, you start to build a reputation for the future with him or her.
- Don't beat yourself up when there is no callback unless you were: late, unprepared, forgot to bring a headshot or resume, or didn't act professionally.
- Nobody is going to give you a rating sheet, so you'll never know why you weren't selected. Trying to figure it out is a fool's errand.
- Actors hit audition slumps. If you used to get a lot of parts, and you aren't now, hire a coach who has experience with auditions.
There are some things you can work on, however, if you aren't getting many opportunities to work from your auditions:
|Not as scary as the movie!|
- Maybe you are not a very good actor. Consider taking more classes. If you've taken a lot of classes, investigate one-on-one coaching. Find someone who is willing to level with you. Some acting coaches are more interested in your next payment than telling you the truth.
- Maybe you need the work a little too much. You may seem pushy or desperate. Nobody is interested in hiring pushy or desperate actors. You say you have seen folks like that get hired. Sure, but that means they were perfect in some way for the part, and the auditor decided to take a chance on the behavior.
- Don't ask a lot of questions. Casting directors don't like that
- Have you been dressing the part? You shouldn't and don't need to be in costume, but your dress should be appropriate for the part
- Don't play it safe. Make a bold, strong choices for the character. Take risks
- Make the character's motivation urgent. Keep the stakes high
- Have the location of the scene in your mind's eye. This helps you with character development
- Try to understand the stlye of the script and work within that style
- MAKE SURE YOU MEMORIZE THE SCRIPT. If you have the script in advance, have it down cold.
Questions You Do Want to Ask
The recommendation above is that you not ask too many questions. However, if you are going to play the part correctly there are a couple of questions you might ask.
- Where should I play it? Don't play it into the lens unless you are told to.
- How is the shot framed? Wide, medium, or close up?
Make Sure You are Fully Prepared
Being prepared for your acting audition can reduce the stress of the experience. These auditioning tips will minimize distractions and help you put together a knockout performance:
- Prepare and pack plenty of head shots and resumes. Staple your head shot to the back of your resume, so you don’t lose one or the other.
- Pack a change of clothes in case your outfit gets dirty or torn, or so you can modify your appearance to match the role.
- Take a copy of sides (the pages of a script that you’ll be reading from) or the script to practice while you wait your turn to audition.
- Do a final run-through of your monologues to make sure that you have them memorized and are comfortable performing them.
- Confirm directions to the audition location. Also, plan to leave your residence in plenty of time to get to the audition location early. If you haven't seen a copy of the script in advance, come early for sure
- Clear your personal calendar for the day of the audition, so you can arrive early and stay late with no worries.
- Make a list of emergency telephone numbers, such as your agent’s number and the audition location number.
- Get a good night’s sleep.