Monday, January 20, 2014

The Audition Process, 15 Tips for Actors

Adapted from Column by Amy Schulz, my own experience and various professionals I have studied with over the years....

15 Tips for Actors Auditions

There are a couple of things 

every actor should know about auditioning:

Click on "read more" below to see all 15 tips.

(1) Before you leave your home, make sure you have your headshot/resume neatly stapled together, the address and a map of where the audition is, and the phone number of the auditors in case you get lost. It is best to do your due diligence and know where you are going, parking, travel time (always assume longer to get there), and what you may need once you get there. Due diligence includes selecting the headshot and resume to present (if you have and agent ask the agent which to use), learning as much as you can about who the auditors are and how they operate, learning about the project, and if possible taking the time to read the entire script (even if you are auditioning with a single line).

(2) Dress appropriately for the audition (and if you're unsure of what to wear, make sure prior to the audition to ASK the auditors/your agent/ casting secretary what is appropriate to wear). In most cases dress to suggest the role and to make yourself feel comfortable in the role. Do not over-do a full blown costume unless directed to do so. What you wear is to help you feel the part and suggest that you are the role. It is not to do wardrobe's job or "pretend" to be that character. You must be the character from the inside going out.

(3) Arrive about 15 to 30 minutes early (more if you are not sure about parking or directions) This will ensure that you will have enough time to catch your breath, sit down, look over the sides and freshen up before your audition.

(4) Be aware that there are actors who will try to distract you. Politely acknowledge them and excuse yourself graciously. Focus on your sides or on your monologue. Being distracted like this before an audition can leave you nervous, unsure of yourself, or incapable of delivering your best performance. There are actors who distract you on purpose to give themselves and edge, others who consider themselves your good friend or who want to be friends, or in my case those with questions I may be able to answer but I am not there to answer. Again, allow other actors to study and prepare, and politely ask they allow you the same.

(5) Think of an audition as in interview or meeting. The more you look at it as just another step in your career, a chance to enjoy performing and meet new contacts, the less nervous you may be about your performance. You are applying for a job, and there will be others if you approach the interview or audition professionally.

(6)  Be professional but show your personality, be friendly yet not overbearing. You do not want to talk about celebrities or others unless they are friends and you have them in common with those interviewing you, and only if it seems appropriate. Keep it short if you do get into discussions on any topic. You want to build common ground without wasting their time or burning bridges. 

(7) Never bring outside "garbage" into the audition room. You are there to sell yourself, to be someone they can work with, someone they want to work with and someone will be an asset to their project.

(8)  Don't count on nailing the audition—this puts too much pressure on yourself. Nailing the audition is good, but in the world of acting, rejection reigns supreme. It happens 95% of the time. The trick here is to not see the audition as the end all-be all. Just do the best job you can and leave it at that. 

(9) If you think you did a bad job, don't apologize—ever. Casting people and directors hate that. Just thank them and leave. You may have shown them what they need to see and it could be what they are looking for. Your overall performance and mastering of your craft is not what gets you the job. 

(10) Think of every audition as a chance to be seen, not as a shot at a single job. Being physically, vocally, and in personality what they think they want, fitting the part, are what gets you consideration. You could do the world's best audition and still not get a callback. It has no reflection on your or your talents. They have a job to do and you may not be the brand of soup they are looking for today. Remember, there will be other auditions! And that you may have another chance on another project with the same auditors/casting directors in the future.

(11) Consequently, if you think you did a great job auditioning, send a note of thanks to the auditors for inviting you to audition for them and how much you enjoyed meeting them. It never hurts to be nice. In general be polite, professional and prepared before, during and after your audition interview.

(12) If your agent set up the audition for you, thank them for doing so. Call or email them and tell them how the audition went. This makes them feel appreciated by you and they will remember you as "the polite one who actually cares enough to call." This will get you noticed and you will be more likely sent out on auditions. 

(14) Always write down the names and positions you manage to find out at the audition, or people you met in the room (including waiting room). Make notes, These can be useful in the future as you build a networking and resource professional file.

(15) Relax, keep up your studies and keep working, daily, at your craft.

Amy is an actress in NYC.  The ideas and concepts of many teachers, agents, casting directors and of my own experience were added to Amy's Basic list, which can be found among topics and links on the right hand column of this blog. 

-Art Lynch

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