Ready for your big break? Auditions can be nerve-wracking – and the time you spend sitting in the waiting room before the audition is often where your nerves get the best of you. To help you get prepared, take a look at these 5 acting audition tips from Brooklyn, NY teacher Caitlin G.:
If you’re an actor going on an audition, you already have enough to worry about. What am I wearing? Is my resume updated? Do I know where I’m going?
And then there’s the acting part of it.
On top of all this, the audition waiting room can be a difficult ordeal, to say the least. Picture it: you’re sitting with five other actors, all of whom look just like you and most of whom are much more experienced. And they’ve all got personalities. One of them is reading the audition lines out loud – really loud. Two others are exchanging stories of their latest gigs, with no regard for how long it’s been since the last one you landed. Another is doing vinyasa yoga on the floor, and the last one is openly staring daggers at you.
How are you supposed to focus with all of that going on?
Well, here are a few acting audition tips that might help:
1. Arrive as early as possible.
Getting to the audition site on time – whether it’s an actual rehearsal studio or a college student’s dorm room – is half the battle. Getting there early will ensure that you’re in true fighting shape. 15-20 minutes should suffice, but half an hour is golden. You’ll have time to use the restroom, make sure your face is on straight, and find a comfortable, quiet spot to settle in and center yourself. If the audition is a cold reading, this should give you plenty of time to look over your lines.
And there’s an added bonus: if the casting team happens to be running ahead of schedule, or the auditioner before you hasn’t arrived, you may get to go in early and skip the waiting room altogether. Score.
2. Don’t socialize.
It can be tempting, and there’s always one actor at the audition who wants to make friends. Trust me. Sometimes that actor is just nervous and they figure having a friendly conversation will calm their nerves. Sometimes it’s the actor’s way of subtly sussing out the competition. You never know what you’re going to get, so avoid it if you can. You may end up in a conversation you don’t want to be having, especially not before your audition.
My advice: bring an iPod, put in those earbuds, and (quietly) rock out to any playlist that makes you feel confident and energized. You can always pause-and-play as auditioners come and go, just to make sure you don’t miss your appointment. If possible, find a quiet corner where you can be all by your lonesome and get in the zone with no distractions. As long as it doesn’t take you too far away from the audition monitor, of course.
3. Be helpful and kind.
As I said above, don’t socialize – but don’t flat-out ignore other auditioners when they ask for help. If someone’s lost or needs a simple question answered, be courteous and give them the help they need. Pay it forward. Don’t be the jerk who’s too competitive to tell a fellow auditioner where the restroom is. You’ll set the tone for the whole room, and everyone will appreciate it.
4. Stay loose.
I know you’re nervous, but don’t sit in the same position for too long, especially if you follow the Tip #1 and get there half an hour early. Get up and walk around every once in a while. Have a stretch, especially if you’re doing a theater audition. You want your body to be warm, and sitting in one spot can mean stiffness when you finally do get up to audition.
If you do opt to stretch, I recommend finding a quiet place to do it, as a courtesy to the other actors in the room. Your power squats are impressive, but they may intimidate others.
5. Remember: you deserve to be there.
Always remember, you’re there for a reason. You belong at this audition. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently. The kind of auditioners who would insinuate such a thing are the exception rather than the rule, but they will cross your path from time to time. Don’t let them get to you. You’re just as qualified to be there as they are.
The acting audition tips above may not work for everybody, and that’s okay. What’s most important is discovering what works best for you. If you’re not sure, don’t worry: it’ll come with practice. The more auditions you go on, the closer you’ll be to figuring out the ritual that makes you the most comfortable, confident, and capable of delivering the best audition possible.
Caitlin G. coaches acting in New York City and everywhere else via Skype. She has a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from Boston University. She specializes in transitioning actors from the stage to the camera, and loves working with actors who are just starting out. Book lessons with Caitlin here!
Photo by Emily Tan