Tips for a Successful Audition

by Aimee Mitchell

Audition this way sign

You need to be very prepared for your first audition, and your consequent auditions.

Your acting audition is a big test of your ability so why not ensure that you get the basics right to improve your chances of being cast. We can't always tell you exactly what to expect, but at least a little preparation and planning for your next audition will help you to relax, so you can focus on the more important parts of the audition.

How many times have you thought that you had failed in something, when everyone else is telling you that it's all "down to experience" and "a learning curve?" Well, I don't want to point out the obvious but it really is true. This applies to everything from to trying to come first in your 200 meter sprint at your school's games day, to getting your first audition, and trying to find your perfect role.

Attitude and Enjoyment
It might well be the case that you are one of those lucky people with a positive attitude for everything (you know, the half-full glass theory), then you are already part way there. Being positive about something another actor sees as failure means that you're carving out your path to success before you've even attended your first audition. Enjoying your audition is the second tip.

Basics of an Audition
Auditions are primarily there so that your possible future employer can let you show him (or her) your skills and talents. The first audition for any role is there to let them view how good you are at certain aspects of your performance, and in some cases how bad. You are given a small time slot in order to provide them with a strong taster for your acting talent, and your judges (directors, casting directors, casting associates, talent agents, etc.) really want you to be their next actor.

You need to be very prepared for your first audition, and your consequent auditions. Being well prepared will ensure that you won't be over-nervous on the day and that you will turn all of your attention to your performance. Bear in mind that most of the people there are equally as anxious as you, so you need to be calm, collected and positive.

  1. Always have your headshot and actors resume prepared - an 8" x 10" headshot is standard, with your resume attached to the back.
  2. Make time to be there early, around 15 minutes is fine, and stay all day if that's what the casting agent wants.
  3. Expect to see a sign-up sheet when you arrive. Make sure you complete it, bring with you any details of social security and agents contact details if this is a call for union actors.
  4. If you have been asked to prepare monologues, you are expected to know your lines and will be given around two minutes to complete it in front of the casting agent/director.
  5. Ask if you can repeat your audition piece again to reflect a different style if you think you can. The casting director can always say no but if you feel you have an alternative performance to show them, feel free to ask.
  6. You may be expected to learn a cold reading. This is where you'll be given a few lines to practice until you are called to perform. Use this time to practice not chat with other actors.
  7. Be respectful of your location. If have you been asked to visit the casting directors own office, then be respectful. Don't make loud conversations with others or phone calls that could bother and annoy others in the holding room.
  8. If you are asked to 'slate', this means you are to give your name, contact details and agents details (if applicable) in front of the camera before your performance. Ensure you look directly at the camera when doing so, and lead directly into your performance when you are finished 'slating'.
  9. Invest in plain clothes that won't defer from your performance - don't try to dress to impress.
  10. Finally, smile - before and after your performance. Thank the casting directors for seeing you.
After your audition is over, don't worry about it. There's no point dwelling on it especially if you thought things could have gone better. Maybe you were too nervous and it caused you to perform poorly. Get over it. Just move on. Only reflect on it if you think there are areas where you can improve. You will no doubtedly learn from each and every audition you go to. It is important to learn from them so that you can get better and gain some confidence. Remember that it's your performance and professionalism that should shine through at your audition. Do not try to be anyone but yourself - the reason you are there is to show the casting associates your acting ability.

The best advice for a great auditions is: relax, practice, breathe, practice some more. Once you've got it, go and grab that job!
Aimee Mitchell is an acting coach, short story author, community theater director and playwright. She has spent the better part of her adult life working with young actors and actresses.

Copyright © Aimee Mitchell. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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