Eirian Cohen, founder of Northern Star Entertainment LTD (Northern Star Acting) gives her advice on the do’s and dont’s of the audition process.
A lot of actors are great when rehearsing scenes and performing monologues at home or in class but crumble when they get in front of the casting director.
Are you one of these people?
Or would you simply like some advice on how to make an even better impression at your audition? Read on…
Make Plans Before Your Audition
To help you stay as relaxed as possible, try to avoid making your whole day be about your audition. Make plans before you go to take your mind off it and do something afterwards to stop you going over and over your performance and what you could have improved on.
Wear Something That Reflects Your Character
Don’t wear a full costume (eg. Police uniform) but do wear something that reflects the role you are going for. You should always wear something you are comfortable in and avoid clothes that may distract from your performance.
Be On Time!
Not even on time… arrive 15 minutes early – BUT allow extra time in case of any hold ups.
Preparation Is Key!
A question I am often asked is, “How much should I prepare before an audition?” and the answer is simple.
As much as you possibly can.
If you received your sides well in advance, prepare to the best of your ability.
Learn your lines and practice them out loud in front of anybody who will listen until they are so engraved in your mind that you no longer need to think about them, enabling you to fully focus on your character.
If you are still worried about forgetting your lines, it is perfectly acceptable to take your sides in with you, but don’t keep looking at them unless it’s absolutely necessary.
If you received your sides as you walk in, you aren’t able to prepare in depth, and therefore you need to focus on the most important parts.
Answer the following questions:
- Who are you? (your character)
- What has happened immediately before the scene?
- What is your relationship with the other character(s) in the scene?
- What do you want?
- What is standing in your way?
- What will happen if you don’t get what you want?
If you have just received your sides, do not use the little time you have struggling to learn your lines – your character is what is most important.
It is advisable to always have a monologue prepared and ready to pull out at any given moment in case you are asked for one (it is more common to be asked to perform a monologue for theatre auditions, but people do occasionally ask for them at screen castings) – and the monologue should reflect the role you are auditioning for e.g. If it’s a drama, don’t perform a comedy monologue.
Don’t See Your Peers As Competition
Go and introduce yourself to the other auditionees. You may be able to help each other out and there’s a chance you may be called in together.
If you’ve already been talking, it’ll be easier to develop the chemistry which will strengthen your performance, and if you don’t, you have made a new contact.
As part of your preparation, do some relaxation exercises.
This will help prevent any physical or emotional blocks and will help you to focus.
Do avoid caffeine before your audition as this will have the opposite effect!
The Casting Director Wants You To Be Great!
Something that’s important to remember is that the casting director has invited you to the audition because there was something about you that they liked. They are under a lot of pressure themselves to find the right cast and they want you to do well.
Don’t Make Excuses
If the casting director asks how you are today, they don’t really want to know about your sleepless night, sore throat or journey from hell. As a professional actor, it’s your job to deliver a stunning performance regardless of how you feel and what is going on. Keep it positive.
Don’t Display Negativity Or Indifference
Always show enthusiasm and never be critical towards the project.
The biggest regret that actors have is not what they did in the audition, but what they didn’t do. Listen to your instincts and follow them.
Don’t Stop If You Make A Mistake
It’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake. Nobody gets everything right 100% of the time, but show professionalism by carrying on through that mistake. Unless you are asked to stop, improvise until you get back on track.
Don’t Ask For Feedback
Casting Directors have very limited time with each actor and don’t have time to chat and give feedback. Just say thank you and walk away.
After The Audition…
Once the audition is over, there is nothing more you can do. Replaying what you said and how you performed and wishing you had done differently won’t help you now with this audition. If you feel like you did your best, that is fantastic, but don’t pin your hopes on booking the job because you don’t know what the casting director was looking for.
Enjoy the casting process. You get the opportunity to meet new people and to do what you love – perform!
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