Ready for your big break? Auditions can be nerve-wracking, but with these 5 acting audition tips, you’ll impress the panel and land the leading role you deserve.
Audition Tips for Actors:
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 can share your acting skills with ease and 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, 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. 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. 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 an actor as they are.
Voice Acting Audition Tips
Warm-up, warm-up. Vocal warm-ups are CRUCIAL in any kind of vocal audition. You want your voice to be at its best. You also need to have your audition pieces memorized, even if it’s in front of you.
Stage Acting Audition Tips
Think of the audition as a performance, so warm-up your voice and your body. Preparation is vital. You need to have your lines and character choices made and internalized. An unprepared actor is an out of work actor. Since we are treating auditions like a performance, do your best and then let it go.
Screen Acting Audition Tips
Warm-up your voice and your face. Remember that the camera is very close and the microphone is very sensitive. Subtle movements and soft vocals are key.
Acting Audition FAQs
1. Who Will Be in the Audition Room?
For large productions there will be more than one round of auditions. In round one there is generally just a casting director. As you move on to the subsequent rounds you will have more people behind the table like directors and producers..
2. What Do I Do if I Get Nervous?
Embrace it. Nerves are part of the job. Even the most seasoned actors still get nervous. I have found lots of success channeling my nerves into the performance. Other actors do other things. Just know that every actor is nervous, not just you.
3. What Do I Do in a “Cold Read”?
A cold reading audition is tough. They hand you a script, you may or may not have time to study it, and you are expected to perform. These auditions are meant to assess your instincts, not your performance.
4. What Are the Casting People Looking for?
You. They are looking for you. They want you to be the one they cast so they can stop looking. Be you, all of the glory that is you.
Audition Mastery Comes With Practice
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 as an actor. 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. Break legs!
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