Step 8: The Audition

Written by | B-Roll

Step 7 gave you the tips you need to get started on the right foot for your audition. Re-read those and breathe. Keep as positive and calm as you can. Some of you will want total quiet so that you can run lines out loud and some of you will want your playlist to get you in the right frame of mind. There is no “right” or “wrong” form of preparation — it is all personal to you.

Here are your steps for a good audition:

  1. Be on time and sign in. There is no reason to be late for an audition unless there is a true unforeseen circumstance like a flat tire. As soon as you get to the audition, sign in and have a seat until you are called in.

2. Have your headshot(s), resume, and sides ready. The point of having your headshot and resume is to have it in your hand when you walk in. Don’t leave it in the car and don’t have it in an envelope; have just your stapled headshot and resume in your hand.

3. Don’t get into waiting room drama. Whether it’s on purpose or not, actors often create waiting room drama. Many actors are very supportive of each other, but others will try to psych out their competition. For one thing, be respectful of your fellow actor who is already in the casting space. It’s difficult enough to focus on your audition without hearing loud actors in the waiting room speaking loudly and laughing. As a casting director, this probably makes me angrier than anything at an audition. This is your last chance to focus on the scene and on your character. Don’t let anyone take you out of that peace of mind.

4. When you go into the room, own the audition. You, the actor, are the one that controls the tone of the audition. If you walk in “owning” your audition, you are off to a great start. There is a big difference between being confident and being cocky — don’t confuse the two. You want to come off as a peer of the casting director — not below and not above.

5. Be prepared to chit-chat. Some auditions will just start, and some will involve a little chit-chat beforehand. Be prepared to have a conversation. The word “conversation” is bolded and italicized because if the casting director wants to chit-chat, it is not an inquisition. It is very frustrating to have an actor answer my questions in mono-syllabic words. If I am talking to you, it’s because I want to get to know you a bit. Participate. Avoid saying that acting is your favorite thing to do. Duh. You’re at an audition. Hopefully you like to act. That’s obvious. Be fun and natural in your conversation.

6. If you are given a scene partner. This is a big one. Sometimes, I may be auditioning a scene that involves two people — Tom and Abby. Instead of having a reader, hired by me, read with the actor, I may bring in the next man and woman for the read. When that happens, there will be no time to rehearse with the other actor, which is actually great. It forces the scene to be real, and organic, and for you to really listen to your scene partner. If you think your scene partner is awful, or misses lines, don’t interrupt or show frustration. Keep your composure intact; just focus on staying in character and making it real. And whatever you do, don’t give the other actor direction. You are not the director. You, like the other person, are an actor who is there auditioning. Stay in your own lane.

7. Taking adjustments. Beginning actors often think that if the casting director tells them to do the scene again – and differently – that they must have really screwed up. Well, what the casting director did is “give an adjustment”. The best way for me to explain why it’s a good sign when you get an adjustment is because, as I say, quite indelicately: “If an actor sucked once, why would I want to see him suck again in a different way?” When you get an adjustment from a casting director or a director, the most important thing to do is LISTEN. I see actors get so nervous that every word of the adjustment goes in one ear and out the other. When that happens, the role also goes out the window. You have been given a second chance to shine; accept that offer and do it to the best of your ability. Don’t feel that you have to absorb that adjustment in a flash. If you want more time, ask for it. You will most likely be told to step out and come back in when you’re ready.

8. Starting over. If you give me a dreadful audition, I will most likely forget it. If you give me an awful audition twice, I will remember the audition. In a nutshell, if you ask to do your audition over, it had better be much better the second time.

9. Leave the audition with dignity. Leave with your head high. Never ask when callbacks are. Never ask how you did, and certainly never ask if you got the part.

Read step nine here!

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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Step 8: The Audition

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