It's Audition Pointers, Ya'll!
First of all, can we discuss the photo to the left? It seriously made me laugh out loud. That squirrel looks exactly how so many of us feel! This adorable and extremely accurate photo really got me thinking.. how can we make auditions EASIER???? I mean, granted, there is only so much we can do as actors, (you never know what the Casting Director might throw at you... see #5), but when asked by my students to help them adequately prepare for auditions, I always run them from the 5 steps below.
Auditioning well is something A LOT of actors struggle with. If you have never struggled with an audition consider yourself blessed and then bottle and sell your confidence to the rest of us! For those of us who made need a bit of guidance, feel free to check out some great tips!
#1)Be Prepared: No people, this is not just a song from The Lion King... it's a way of life for an actor. You would not go into a test and not study, or run a marathon without months of practice. The same thing applies to auditions. Make sure you read the breakdown and make sure you are available for ALL the dates listed by your agent... SO Important! After that print out the breakdown and highlight important dates and notes from the CD or agent. Do you need head shots and resumes? How many? Do you need to fill out an audition form? Are you up on the Casting Sites the agent has specified for the audition? Always make sure your head shot and resume is stapled together BEFORE you get to the audition and any paperwork filled out prior. Never ask to borrow a pen or stapler at the Casting Directors office. These things are crucial and can make or break your reputation with the Casting Director. They see hundreds of people in a day... make their job easier.
A huge part of being prepared means reading the story board, if attached... Do you have lines? Is there a brief description of your character and what you may be doing at the audition? Call your acting coach! Get in for a lesson and have them run your lines, or improv situations with you! It can make a HUGE difference in your audition and boost your confidence, and better confidence means better auditions!
#2) Be on time: Always... and by on time, I mean 10 minutes early. Anything sooner than that is too soon, and anything later is considered late. No excuses... believe me, I know time is precious and auditions have to be squeezed in, but even if you arrive early and have to sit in the parking lot and run lines, or mentally prepare yourself for your audition, pray, meditate, whatever, just allow yourself plenty of time!
#3) Dress Accordingly: Casting Directors often include a description of how they may want the character to dress, and do what you can to accommodate this request. Is your character running? Wear nice workout clothes with your hair up. A doctor? See if you can borrow a lab coat from a friend. A parent? Wear quintessential parent clothes... google images if you must or check out the breakdowns that are so often attached and wear something similar to what the characters are wearing.
When I was an agent, I once got a call from a Casting Director who was LIVID at how the actors were showing up. The casting was for a woman at home in her pajamas, relaxing and watching scary movies. The CD called up and vented to me, "You'll never believe how these girls are showing up! Full hair and make-up, dangly earrings, looking like they're ready for a night club! Not YOUR girls of course... thank you for taking the time explain to your talent to dress accordingly!" Boy was I happy I took the time to read the details and make sure my talent was on point!
#4) Auditions are not the place to make friends: OK so there are tons of great places to meet friends, work, the gym, school, sporting events, but NOT at an audition. When you are auditioning you should be going in with one goal... to book the role or get a callback. I always tell my students, when you are at an audition, you can be friendly, but do your best to look busy so people won't chat your ear off. These people are your competition. Do not let them psych you out by talking about all the roles they book, or let them distract you with conversation, when you could be mentally preparing or running lines. Be polite, and kind, but do what you can to keep your focus at any cost. Once you book the job, you can make as many friends on set, as you want.
#5)Like Nike says, JUST DO IT!: Audition like you MEAN it! Don't psych yourself out or get so nervous you forget what to say or do. BREATHE. REMEMBER that these people want you to be what they are looking for, so show them what can bring to the table. You also never know what the casting director may ask of you so expect the unexpected. I once had a student tell me, "I did my script just like we rehearsed... and then the director asked me to do it like I was on fire..." another student said, " My audition went great, but then the director asked me to do the whole script without using any words..." I am happy to report both students did it without a second thought. Auditions can and should be fun. It's a way of showcasing your ability, so go for it, don't hold back! Remember to have fun, and auditions can make great stories to tell your friends at parties! ;)
Audition Technique is something I offer and try to go over with students regularly. If you can use help with auditioning, please feel free to contact me. This can be a very beneficial skill to rehearse with a coach. I offer in person and Skype lessons.