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Acting Audition Tips for Young (& Old) Actors

November 26, 2020

Acting Audition Tips for Young (& Old) Actors

What do Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Natalie Portman all have in common? They all began acting professionally at a very young age (and have successfully maintained their careers into adulthood).

Young people are naturally drawn to the excitement of pretending to be someone else; but do young people who dream of an acting career really know how to prepare for the life of a professional performer? As an actor, especially when you start out, you’ll spend much more time looking for roles than playing them.

Here are a few acting audition tips on how to prepare for the acting auditions that are a part of every actor’s career–even the kids. 

Acting Audition Tips You Can Use Today:

  • Read the casting call carefully: are you the right fit for the role? One way to be sure to waste your time, your parent’s time, and the casting director’s time, is to show up for an audition when you’re not right for the part. If the role calls for a 9 year old and you’ve just turned 13, save yourself the trouble. Focus on audition opportunities where you’ve got a better chance to knock it out of the park.
  • Dress appropriately (but not necessarily in “costume”). An audition, if you think about it, is like a job interview: why wouldn’t you want to look your best? Avoid playground clothes unless the role calls for it; however, if you’re trying out for the part of a kid in a middle school PE class, no need to wear a tie. Stay away from patterns (stripes, prints); they can be distracting. Avoid white: it doesn’t look good on camera. If you’re trying out for a very specific character, no need to get a costume: auditioning for the football caption doesn’t require shoulder pads–if you get the job they’ll provide them.
  • Be early, be polite. Always strive to be at least 15 minutes early for an audition. Not only does it show good work habits, it will give you some time to get settled, fill out forms, and take some deep breaths. I always tell my acting students, “your audition begins the moment you walk in the room.” Smile, be pleasant, try not to ask too many questions unless you have to. Be nice to EVERYONE: you never know whom you might be speaking to. Most importantly, always, ALWAYS say thank you, even if they cut you off in the middle of your audition.  
  • Keep your cool: things aren’t always what they seem. No one really knows what goes on in the minds of the people running the audition; in fact, often, they don’t even know. There are so many variables that go into a production; try not to take things personally. You may walk in with a big smile and a friendly, “Hello! It’s nice to meet you!” and they may not even make eye contact: trust me, it’s not a reflection on you. Also, it’s not unusual for producers/casting personnel to stop you in the middle of a line and say “Okay, thank you!” (ending your audition), or for them to stop and give you feedback on your reading. None of these things necessarily mean you are doing a bad job. They may stop you because they have 400 other actors to see; they may give you direction to see how well you take it. Most of all, don’t expect feedback at the audition. If you get it, great; but usually the schedule is so tight, there’s no time. Stay calm and positive; the more auditions you attend, the easier it will be to take it in stride.
  • Keep your acting skills sharp by practicing monologues as much as you can. Check out these resources for audition monologues for young people:

Here are some excellent monologues for teens from Backstage and from Monologue Genie 

Here’s a great list of monologues for actors under 15 at StageMilk and some monologues from movies you may recognize here at EduZenith:

Start Where You Are Today

Remember, everyone has to start somewhere: it may be an old cliche, but it’s true. Just be prepared, be positive, and be yourself, and be persistent. As the brilliant Anthony Hopkins once said, “be disciplined…keep trying, and to consistently deliver the best you have to offer.” 

If you ever need help, advice, coaching or feedback, or more acting audition tips, simply schedule a session with one of TakeLessons’ experienced Acting tutors today!

Hi! I've been a teacher all of my adult life--from coaching acting at summer camps, teaching high school theater, film and speech, English as a Second Language to students from middle school through adult professionals, research paper writing, education, and even yoga and martial arts! I love helping people discover new worlds, create new opportunities, and gain confidence through learning just about anything. The goal of a good teacher is to provide a space where the student has the tools to become successful, but still has a safe space to make mistakes and grow; and that's always the environment I aim to create in my sessions. I look forward to meeting you!

Laura Rebecca