Quick Tips for an Awesome Audition
Fall audition season is upon us, and I know how nerve-wracking this step in the production process can be. Having been participating in auditions (both in front of and behind the casting table) for over twenty five years, I have seen my share of amazing (and not-so-amazing) auditions. Here is a quick list of tips to help make sure you have the best audition experience possible.
#1 - Be Prepared
There is very little more annoying to a director or casting team who has taken the time to put together and publish audition materials, schedule auditions, etc., than for an actor to come to the call unprepared: not rehearsed, not memorized, or worse, not following the directions stated in the audition materials. Make sure you read the audition instructions carefully.
On a similar note, you wouldn't perform a production in front of an audience without first rehearsing and performing it for feedback (usually from a director), so why would you go into an audition having never performed the material in front of someone? I suggest finding a trusted friend or mentor to watch your performance and give you feedback before your audition.
I suggest going into an audition extra prepared. Every actor should have an "audition book" full of pieces you are confident in and ready to perform at a moment's notice (more on audition books in another post). You never know when a casting panel will ask you to perform something else.
If you are auditioning for a show that has been done before, do your research - know the show you are auditioning for and what the character requirements are, so that you are able to show how you fit into that world. If you are auditioning for a new piece, do some research on the director or playwright - this can give you some insight into their style or preferences.
Coming into an audition prepared will help ease your nerves as well. If you are rehearsed and ready, the stress of the audition itself won't hinder your ability to perform.
#2 - Be Yourself
An audition is basically a job interview. When I am watching auditions, I don't just want to know whether or not you have the skills necessary to execute a specific role, I want to know if YOU are someone I'd like to work with for the next 6 weeks or 6 months. I want to see YOUR personality and YOUR work ethic.
When you slate (introduce yourself), show us who YOU are before you dive into your character. When choosing what you're going to wear to your audition, make sure you are presenting your best self, especially if you are auditioning for a new company or a director you haven't worked with before.
#3 - Be Supportive and Respectful
Everyone at an audition is nervous (including, believe it or not, the casting panel). Everyone at an audition is feeling the same way you are. Be kind and supportive to your fellow actors. Be respectful to EVERYONE in the audition room, including the person at the check in table, the door monitor, the janitor - you never know who is going to have a say in whether or not you get cast.
Remember: you are always auditioning (more on this in another post). In an audition, I am not only watching your performance, but your interaction with the other humans in the room. Supportive casts are happy casts and happy casts create better productions, so I am looking for actors who are going to play well with the rest of the team.
#4 - Be Flexible
You've come prepared, you've done your research, and you just know that you are perfect for a particular role. You've got this, right? Well, maybe not.
Your vision of a character may be vastly different than the vision of the director. The director may think you're perfect for another role, or maybe they need your skills elsewhere in the production. Always be willing to try something else. As an actor, some of my favorite experiences on stage have come from roles I didn't think I was right for, or roles that I was cast in when I didn't get the part I really wanted.
If you come in with your mind set on only one thing, you may be cutting yourself off from another incredible opportunity. Some of the most rewarding roles in Musical Theatre are not leads. Ensemble roles can be the most fun.
#5 - Be Mindful of the Big Picture
Auditions are not about individual actors. Directors and casting panels are casting an entire production, fitting pieces together like a puzzle that represents their vision of a particular production. You may be the most talented performer in the room, but if you don't fit with the rest of the casting choices (or they don't fit with you), you may not be cast.
It's so easy to get caught up in the emotions of an audition that doesn't go the way you want it to, but keep in mind that so much of the audition process is out of your control. Focus on what you can control: your preparation, your attitude, your skills, and let everything else go. You can't control whether or not you get cast in a production, or what role you'll be given, but you can control your attitude and your work ethic.
Remember, auditions are just a beginning, not an end. The real work starts once a show has been cast. Landed the big role? Awesome! Now you have to earn it. Didn't get the role you wanted? Now you have a chance to show this director what you can do in a rehearsal process. Didn't get cast at all? Maybe this director couldn't use you on this project, but will remember you the next time you audition. Or maybe not getting this role will leave you available for other opportunities that will better serve you. Use this time to work on your skills so that you're ready for the next audition.
Auditions are nerve-wracking, but they are only as good as the effort you put into them. If you come prepared, be yourself, are a kind human, have a good attitude, and trust the process, your experience will be positive no matter the outcome.
What are your audition questions? What good audition advice have you been given? I'd love to hear from you!
Break legs on all your auditions this season!