Auditions. Some actors don’t mind auditioning, some actors even enjoy auditions… yes, it’s true. But most actors don’t really like to audition and some, even some very good actors, hate auditions and suck at auditioning. So let’s face the facts… actors need to audition. It is part of the craft and you CAN get good at it. Of course you can! You’re not gonna be right for every part, but every audition can be a learning experience and can give you insight for next time. So look in the mirror and repeat OUT LOUD after me “I enjoy auditioning and I’m good at it.”
Years ago I took a commercial audition workshop in Dallas. Flying in from Los Angeles, a well known national commercial actor, Squire Fridell and casting director Dennis Gallegos came to impart “commercial audition success” to a group of Dallas actors. One part of that workshop was watching a video of some recent auditions that the casting director had brought with him from L.A. The unique thing about this audition tape was that the actors auditioning on it were actors and actresses we had all seen on TV doing commercial roles, as well as other major roles, many many times. That conference room, where the workshop was being held, was full of Dallas actors with their chins dropping to the floor, mouths wide open, as we all watched the L.A. actors, whom we all recognized as successful working actors, doing mediocre and unimpressive, to very bad, auditions. Some were flustered, quite a few unprepared, they were having bad hair days, and gosh, some were just pitiful. It was stunning and liberating all at the same time. Lesson seared into my brain: “YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT!”
That tape alone was worth the pricey admission to that workshop!
Now it’s true that those actors most definitely have some great auditions, and Mr. Gallegos may have picked the one “Auditions from Hell” tape that he had on his shelf. But it helped all of the students in his workshop to see that we are way too hard on ourselves, and that the lie, “I suck and everyone else is brilliant” is just that – a lie.
So here are my top audition tips. Whether you are doing a “live” audition or doing a digital taping to send, these are things that you can do to increase your “marketability” and chances of getting the part:
- Get your head right. Find things to like about auditioning. If you are sending it digitally, you are not having to drive all over the place and you have control and can control which “take” to send. Of course if it is “live”, there are advantages to that as well. They get to see your personality and you have more of a chance to “sell yourself.” Anything more relational is better. Either way, whatever your attitude is, it will show to those watching.
- Make a list of, and review your best wins. This is another point in “getting your head right.” Review your best feedback and your vision for “if you get the part.” Recently an actress we work with had an audition where everyone at the audition was clapping for her! I would encourage her to journal that and go over it, remembering that moment before she goes into her next audition. The video mentioned above was on my list. You can also write down your own little pep talk… “I’m an actor/actress, I was born to do this. I am gifted and wonderful and…”. Review your “wins” before you go in to “read” (or make your tape).
- Arrive a little early and be prepared. Follow any directions that have been given by your agent, or if you are self-represented, any that were posted. Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.
- Get your copy and go off and practice it out loud… don’t hang out in the waiting room. It’s ok to tell the assistant to the casting director that you will be outside or out in the hall, etc. It also shows a good work ethic. The casting people want you to be good… they are FOR you. The only people who may not want you to get the part (haha, cause they want it) are in that waiting room. Don’t hang in there and chit chat about your last role. Focus on getting this one.
- Give it your all and have fun. Hey, remember why you are doing this. Trust what’s in you (and your Creator that put it there). If you are doing your daily preparations – you are ready.
- When you walk out of the audition, or hit “send” on the email, let it go. Have something else planned to do and put it behind you.
- Did you get some good feedback? Or did something great happen? Add it to your list to review (see #2 above). Make some notes on things you want to do differently next time. Like, what did you learn? Then walk out and let it go. Done. Move on. If they call you, it will be wonderful. If they don’t, it could be for a lot of reasons, many of which have NOTHING to do with your skill as an actor/actress.
Say it again, OUT LOUD – “I enjoy auditioning and I am good at it.”