I got a message a while back from a fellow actor, asking me how I prepare and deal with auditions. Having been on an audition spree lately, I thought it would be an interesting subject to post about.
First of all, I prepare. I cannot stress this enough. I prepare. This involves learning a monologue or if provided with the script, learning the scenes. By heart. Be off book.
I know sometimes they say you don’t have to be off book, but in my opinion it’s always better to know the material well. It gives you the freedom to act better, you show the casting director that you are committed and professional and you are only making things easier for yourself in the audition room. Because if you know the material, you won’t have the added stress of keeping an eye on the script and fidgeting with papers. And if something goes wrong, you are prepared well enough to tackle it.
If you are not given a script, but instead are asked to prepare a monologue, choose wisely. Are you auditioning for a comedy? An incredible and touching, yet dramatic piece won’t do you much in this case, right? Same goes if you are auditioning for a modern play, choosing a monologue from Shakespeare won’t be quite in sync with what the director is looking for. Moreover, choose something that is close to your age range and definitely a piece that “speaks” to you. Something that you really really like. Because if you really like something, chances are, you understand it better, and therefore can perform it better.
On the audition day, take care of yourself. Sleep well the night before, eat a few hours before the audition and warm up before leaving the house. Do a proper body and voice warm up. An audition is a snippet of what you can do on stage (or on camera), so give them your whole potential. The director or producer may not be aware of your work, so show them what you’ve got!
When you reach the auditions, don’t waste your energy. Find a nice quiet place to concentrate. There might be a lot of people there, it might be loud, or people may want to talk to you. Say your hellos and be friendly, but do take the time to calm yourself and concentrate on what you have to do.
So you’ve made it into the audition room! Be friendly but not too eager, give the director your headshot and updated resume with all your personal information on and take your place. Take a brief moment to get into character and… go! Try to avoid eyeing the people in the room to figure out reactions or what they may be thinking; it will only distract you from what you are there to do. Once you have finished your scene or monologue, take a moment before you break character, smile and thank them.
And now the hard part. What happens now? Sometimes you may be hit with icy silence and the typical ‘thank you, we’ll be in touch’. Other times, they may be a little warmer, they may comment on what you have just done or make small talk with you. From my experience, it’s always pleasant when they say something after an audition, but that does not mean you will get cast. You. Never. Know. No matter what their response was. I once auditioned for a play, got the scary awkward silence after my audition and by the time I got home, I had a call saying I was hired. At another audition, I had the friendly response and compliments and never heard from them again.
Which brings me to my next point. Audition: the aftermath. For me, the audition -and all feelings- end once I leave the audition room. It stays there. I go, I perform, I leave and I leave it there. It can be emotionally draining thinking over and over what I did, how I did it, what I said and how I said it, and if the phone’s gonna ring. So I’ve trained myself, to l e a v e it there. And whatever happens, happens.
After all, I did what I had to do. I performed to the best of my abilities. Which brings us back to point number 1; preparation! If you are well prepared, it will show. And if it shows, they will want you. And even if you are not a good fit for that particular role, if you are well prepared, they will remember you. And once another role comes up, they will think of that actor that gave that brilliant performance at that audition.
Think about it 😉
I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips -even experiences if you’d like to share!- on auditions.
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