Tag Archives: Auditioning

6 Tips To Ace A Cold Read Audition

Ahhh the dreaded cold read. It’s something that a lot of actors fear. That’s because usually there is no opportunity for preparation. A script is thrown in front of you moments before you’re to appear on camera, and panic can set in. You worry that you’re going to deliver the lines completely flat, you aren’t […]

Ahhh the dreaded cold read. It’s something that a lot of actors fear. That’s because usually there is no opportunity for preparation. A script is thrown in front of you moments before you’re to appear on camera, and panic can set in. You worry that you’re going to deliver the lines completely flat, you aren’t going to figure out what’s going on in the scene fast enough to deliver a satisfactory performance, and it’s just going to be painful and you’re going to be terrible. Yes it might not be the most comfortable thing you’ll have to do, but it’s a big part of the audition process and something that you’re going to have to get a handle on if you want to book acting jobs.

At AMP Talent Group, we want our clients and talent to excel in every opportunity so we recommend you keep these tips in mind to help you improve your cold reading skills for audition purposes, we’ve highlighted 6 important keys to cold read success:

Arrive early for your audition: Sometimes if you arrive early you will have the opportunity to read over the sides and begin your preparation early. This way you can at least be familiar with what you’re going to be saying and doing. If you are able to get the material beforehand, spend less time on the actual lines that you are going to be delivering, instead focus on the story and situation, as well as try and get a feel for the character that you’re going to be reading. This way you can at least ground yourself in the world of the scene and you won’t require quite as much attention on the actual words, so you can feel yourself as the character in that environment.

Research the project you’re auditioning for: Even if you know you’re going in to do a cold read audition, you can still go online and find out some details about the audition. You can also ask your agent to provide you with some more information if possible as well. You should find out the type of project that you’re going out for (commercial, feature film, TV show), as well as the time period of the piece, and what the story is. While you might not be able to find a ton of information on the project, you will definitely be able to get some background information that will at least put you ahead of most of the actors who will be walking into the audition blind.

Be Flexible: When you’re going through your cold read, it might not be blatantly clear from the outset if you’re reading a comedy or a drama. I mean, hopefully it is, but there is a possibility that you won’t get the tone of the script right away. This is why you need to enter into your reading with complete flexibility. Go in with the mindset that they might ask you to read the script in a certain way that you weren’t expecting, or maybe you’ll even discover things in the middle of the reading that take it to a whole different place than you expected. Considering that this will be one of the first times you’ve read through this passage of the script in its entirety, you definitely can’t be opposed to figuring out certain things from the inside. So be loose, flexible, and ready to go in any direction.

Take risks and do more than just read: Even though it’s a cold read, you don’t want to sit there like a pile of concrete and just read the lines in a voice that will put the people holding the audition to sleep. You still want to be lively, take action with your body, and use your voice as an instrument to get yourself into character and convey emotion. Even though it’s just a cold read, that doesn’t mean you can’t make strong choices and go with them. In fact, you will standout more at your audition if you make a decision and try something out. Even if it’s wacky, there are no wrong artistic choices during a cold read. You want to show them that you were able to read over the script, and in just a couple of quick minutes, be able to make a strong artistic decision and do something with the character that nobody else has done. They want to see how you interpret the script, just as much as they want to gage your actual performance.

Look up at the reader: Unless this is the first time you’ve ever acted or been to an audition before, you will know that you must always look up at the reader when you deliver the lines. You should never read directly from the page, but be following along with your finger and make sure that you use the person reading with you as a reference to get yourself into the moment and be authentic. Try and look up and connect with the reader as often as possible. Just be sure that you keep your thumb on the page and follow along so you don’t lose your place during the read. The people running the audition understand that the material is completely new to you; therefore they don’t expect the audition to be perfect. Also, taking your few minutes before the audition starts to get a good grasp of the scene, story, and your character is going to be hugely instrumental in allowing you to go with the scene and connect with the reader, instead of having your eyes married to the page the whole time.

Practice your cold reads: If you want to take it one step further and work on your cold reading skills, then you should practice reading passages and memorizing as many of the words, as quickly as you can. At least learn to memorize important points, or key phrases that you can use and rely on so that you don’t have to be looking down at the page every two seconds during your audition. By practicing this technique, you will slowly start to improve your ability to retain words and dialogue very quickly so that you can be that little bit more off book when it comes time for your audition. By working on your cold reading skills on your own time, you will be miles ahead of the competition when it comes to stepping up and delivering a great cold read performance.

Cold reading only has to be a painful experience if you make it one. You can decide to ignore it and just do your best on the day of the audition, or you can take matters into your own hands and prepare yourself so that when a cold read audition comes your way, you’re ready to attack it and destroy it. Casting directors are testing you when they give you a cold read; they want to see how you handle it and what you do with it. So make sure you do everything in your power to show them that cold reads don’t faze you, in fact you look forward to them.

Remember, audition for your career, not for the job and you will feel more confident about your performance!



5 Ways To Prepare For Your Audition

The truth is that some people can be great actors but terrible at auditions. There’s the pressure, the nerves, and the last minute notice that can sometimes eat away at a person to the extent that they completely flub their audition. This can happen over and over again to talented actors, who have a hard […]

The truth is that some people can be great actors but terrible at auditions. There’s the pressure, the nerves, and the last minute notice that can sometimes eat away at a person to the extent that they completely flub their audition. This can happen over and over again to talented actors, who have a hard time booking any roles, or even getting callbacks because they were so nervous and uptight on the day of their audition. Some big name actors even used to struggle with their audition process, to the point that they took years before they even started booking gigs regularly. Aaron Eckhart is one of them — he said that it took years before he started getting called back from auditions because he was so bad at them. He said that it took his friend casting him in a short film before he was really able to overcome his nerves and anxieties in the audition room. And he’s gone on to build a hugely successful career in Hollywood, so there’s still hope for you yet!

So how do you overcome this? How do you adequately prepare for your audition in a way that gives you the best chance to succeed once you get in the audition room?

Here are 5 things you should do to make sure that you’re not a nervous-wreck and can begin to get yourself prepared when you find out about an upcoming audition:

Memorize your lines, but don’t over memorize your performance: During an audition, it’s easy for actors to become stiff and calculated because they are so afraid of screwing up that they have the entire performance of the scene mapped out in their head. This leads to a lack of flexibility in the scene, openness to discover new things about the scene and your character, as well as dropping out of the scene because you’re completely in your own head instead of being present in the moment. That’s why you should make sure your lines are memorized, but act out the scene in a variety of different ways so that you can continually keep surprising yourself with your performance. That way the scene is constantly evolving and changing. The scene should never be the same each time. You need to move and speak in a way that feels the most authentic in that particular moment. Also, you want to be adaptable so if the casting director asks you to perform the scene a second time, but this time in a completely different way than before, you’re comfortable and ready for it.

Understand your character and the circumstances they’re in: The lines that you speak are important, but what’s even more important than that is the character you’re supposed to be playing and the particular circumstance they’re in. Once you begin to get a grasp on your character and the obstacles they’re facing (IE. what’s driving the scene and what’s your character’s motive?) then you’ll be much more comfortable playing with the lines once you get into the actual audition. You can start to play with the type of voice they use, the little nuances in which they deliver particular words, and unique mannerisms they may possess. Then the actual lines you’re speaking will take on more layers and be delivered with much more power and authenticity. Also, by having a handle on the deeper issues surrounding your scene, the more relaxed you’ll be, the more you’ll listen to what the person reading with you is saying, and the less focused you’ll be on the actual words that you’re supposed to deliver and the more focused you’ll be on the emotion behind the words.

Choose the appropriate wardrobe: This should go without saying, but don’t dress in a suit if you’re going to read for a role of a college student, or a slacker, or a stoner. On the flip side, don’t wear shrubby clothes if your character is supposed to be a Wall Street trader. If you’re given sides beforehand, there should be a breakdown of the character you’re playing at the top, or on a different page altogether. It’s absolutely essential that you read through that carefully and understand the type of person you’re going to be playing. Also, what you wear to your audition is going to show the casting director how you interpreted that particular character. It will show that you read through all the information you were given, took the time and prepared, as well as brought in your own ideas and interpreted the character in your own way. That’s exactly what they want. They want to see what your interpretation of this character is. They want to see something different than they’ve seen hundreds of times already today.

Don’t over-prepare: What’s interesting is that a lot of actors will tell you that they ended up booking big roles from auditions they thought went terribly. They only got the sides last minute, or didn’t have time to prepare, and so they went into the audition expecting nothing to come from it. And then, boom! They end up booking their biggest role yet. This is because they didn’t over-prepare. They allowed themselves to play around and be loose in the moment. They didn’t put that extra pressure on themselves to book the role because they knew they had a scapegoat to blame: they didn’t have enough time to practice! They were more relaxed than usual, and just allowed the result of the scene to be discovered within that performance. Meryl Streep has a famous quote:

Sometimes under-preparation is very good because it instills fear and fear is galvanizing. It makes you break out of yourself. If you’re prepared, then you think you’re ready, and if you think you’re ready, then you’re not ready.”

We’re by no means advising you to forget about your preparation altogether, because it’s definitely important that you prepare, but there’s something to be said for not being so rehearsed that there’s no room for spontaneity.

Be ready to jump and forget your preparation when the scene starts: You can rehearse and practice all you want, but when that scene starts, you’re going to forget about everything you did to prepare for it. It’s just going to be about being present in that moment. This again, goes back to the point about understanding your character and the circumstances (obstacles) they’re facing. If you know those deeper facets of the scene and the script then you’ll have a better chance of staying in the moment and driving the scene in the direction that you’re expected to. Sure it’s going to be a little nerve-wracking, your heart is going to flutter like a butterfly, and your palms are going to turn into little pools of sweat, but that’s what acting is all about. You want to be excited, a little nervous, and be able to deliver an exciting and enthralling performance. You just have to trust your instincts, go for it, and don’t expect the perfect performance every single time.

Like with anything, often the lead up is the most nerve-wracking part. You build it all up in your head, play out worst-case scenarios and catastrophic results, until you’re exhausted and freaked out. You have to find a way to relax, and put the appropriate work in, but most importantly, understand that it’s not going to go perfectly every time. There’s times you’re not going to feel good about your audition but you can always take pride in the fact that you did your best to prepare your A-Game for audition day. Who knows, the auditions you didn’t think went very well will probably be the ones you end up booking anyways.