Congratulations, you’ve finally got an audition. If acting is your passion no doubt you’ve put in the time and effort and now you get your chance to stand before a director, talent scout or casting agent to show off your skills. However, there is more to the auditioning process then just rehearsing lines. From the moment you step on stage you are under the microscope and the more you know about what the casting folks are looking for the better your chances of making a positive impression.
Auditions are rarely scripted and that means you may be asked to perform a different role than you expected or may even be asked to simply improvise. Some directors have unorthodox methods and may throw you a curve ball just to see how you’ll react. Don’t panic. The first tip to remember is to stay calm and be you. Yes, it is an acting audition and everyone gets excited to go into character but most directors and casting agents are interested in the person behind the role so the more natural you act the better chance you have of coming across genuine.
Many people in acting have certainly heard of Barbara Streisand’s famous 1961 audition where the now legendary performer dressed raggedy and acted harried and confused as if she wasn’t fully prepared for the moment but actually ended up getting the part. This was quite a risk on her part but it paid off. The casting people took to her instantly and the rest is history. There are no rules for auditioning and if you think you have a gimmick or “in” that will grab attention then go for it, but also know that every casting director is aware of Streisand’s story and like the harsh judges on American Idol may be able to see right through your clever ruse. Just because it worked for Babs is no guarantee it will work for you. Again, be yourself and trust in your own abilities.
Many actors and actresses are so excited to finally audition they often end up over doing it and kill any chance they might have had. Much like a job interview you want to toe a careful line between confidence and arrogance and the best way to err on the side of caution is to keep it simple. If you’re asked to read three lines then read three lines. The directors know what they are looking for so don’t feel you have to oversell yourself because more often than not this will seem desperate and end up costing you. When done reciting lines or performing a skit wait a second or two, say thank you and then quietly exit the stage. Standing around waiting for feedback is an awkward moment that may irritate the casting crew and lead to a line going right through your name.
Lastly come prepared with your headshot and resume. A lot will be going through your mind the morning of the audition but without the right documents you can forget any chance you thought you had. Headshots and resumes are mandatory for almost any audition, be it commercials, stage or film and with a professional photograph and clean resume the director will have a much easier time remembering you then if you try to wing it. If you are prepared, act natural and relax you’ll have a much better chance of landing a role during an acting audition.
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