So now the day has arrived. It’s the day of your audition. Like is the case with most actors, you’ll wake up with that butterfly feeling fluttering in your stomach. You’ll go through the motions of your day with that tingling anticipation and excitement. Today it’s your time to shine! Today could be the day it all changes. But only if you come through, maintain your composure, and stick with the game plan.
Off to the audition you go, making the walk, or the drive, with that old familiar theme running through your head: “Is this going to be my moment?” Everything seems to be moving in slow motion and the world grows quiet, as if it senses that today is extra important to you. Hopefully you’ve done everything in your power to prepare, and it’s now up to the acting gods to guide you, to lead you through a brilliant audition, and hopefully onto that role you’ve been waiting for.
So what are some of the most important things to have in mind when you’re in the audition room? It can be a scary place, so to make sure everything goes well, we’ve outlined five things for you to always remember when auditioning!
You’re the one driving the story: One of the basic differences between a performance in an audition and a performance on an actual set is you’re the number one story driver during an audition. All the focus is on you. The casting directors are less focused on the complete story, and are more so focused on how you can drive their story. On a set you’re a small piece in a greater story, but when it’s your time to audition, you’re up there showing them why they should cast you. So during auditions the performances are a little bigger than on a set, because you really want to make an impact. Show them that they can base a story around you, and that they should base a story around you.
Who/What/When/Where/Why: Always remember your five W’s. Even if you get your sides ten minutes before you’re due to audition. Always know who you are in the scene with, what you’re doing in the scene, when the scene is happening, where the scene is happening, and why this circumstance or situation is happening. It’s essential so that even if you don’t have the lines completely memorized, you’ll at least be able to ground yourself in the scene.
The Golden Frame: During an audition, you have your mark and you have very little leeway to move from that mark. This makes it essential that you’re as still as possible when you’re doing your audition. If you plan on performing an action or stepping out of frame at all, make sure you tell them beforehand so they’re prepared for it. If you tell them a particular action you’re going to perform at a certain moment in the scene, it shows that you’re confident, have done your homework, and know what you want to do with the scene. Just always be weary of that frame in which your audition is being captured.
If you screw up, just keep going: The absolute worst thing you can do during your audition is mess up a line and start to lose your cool and drop out of the scene. If you mess a line up, just forget about it and keep going. Even better, you can use your own mistake and use it to add something to the scene. By doing that, you’ll impress them on your ability to improvise and redeem yourself. It could be a simple moment like that, which helps you book the role. Messing up is a scary thought, but what’s worse than screwing up is acknowledging yourself that you screwed up. Just move on and pretend like that was what you intended to do all along.
Be polite, be yourself and show off your personality: Those first few minutes when you walk into the room, before you begin your audition as you’re running through your slate, is your time. By this we mean, it is your time to show off who you are as a person. So make sure you’re enthusiastic, friendly, polite, confident, and the type of person they would want to work with. You can be funny, charming and endearing, which is only going to bode well for you when it comes time to choosing callbacks, and eventually casting. Also be sure to thank them for seeing you when your audition is finished, and then exit the room promptly and be on your way.
It goes without saying, but it’s important to be off book whenever possible. Of course there are situations where you get your sides minutes beforehand or the sides are very lengthy and it can’t be expected. But if you’ve been given adequate time to prepare the material, make sure you’re off book and ready to rock. Actors can bring the sides into the audition but it is important that the actors stay focused on the person opposite them in the scene not buried with their head in the script. Most importantly always listen to your instincts. If you have an idea in audition, let yourself be free to go with it.
The audition room can be a scary place to many actors who aren’t used to it. But that antagonizing fear of auditioning can be overcome with practice, practice, and more practice. The only way you’re going to overcome the nerves and the fear of failing in a miserable fashion is by doing it a lot. Going out there, making mistakes, learning from them and overcoming it and redeeming yourself. So start right now and improve your auditions. This list we put together is a pretty good guideline to start with. Eventually, you’ll get so comfortable with auditioning that you’ll start booking things regularly with a completely carefree Sunday walk-in-the-park attitude.
Now go off, step into that audition room, hit your mark and book it!