As an Actor you often find yourself competing with a lot of other performers for that coveted role. We all have an unexplained bad day sometimes but in most cases there are a series of steps you can take to make sure you feel prepared enough to focus on your audition and give it everything you’ve got.
1. Be Prepared
It sounds like an obvious one, but flying by the seat of your pants for that important audition is not a good plan and it will affect your performance on the day. Read that script… ALL of that script not just the audition scene, rehearse at home trying out different styles and ask your friends or family for their feedback.
It’s not the end of the world if you can’t memorise the whole scene, but try to have enough of the dialogue down that you can make eye contact with the reader at points in order to engage with them more effectively.
Always bring your photo and CV with you and include your personal email address. The casting director doesn’t have the time to wait for a response from your agent if they’re not responding efficiently, so having a direct line of contact to you can be really beneficial.
2. Feel Confident
Confident can often be the last thing you’re feeling when you’ve rushed out of bed, missed two busses, fallen over on the station steps or stalled your car twice in sheer panic about your impending audition. However, you’ve got a key talent on your side – acting! If you have a pre-show routine which makes you feel like the bees knees or you like to imagine you’re that one cocky mate everyone’s got do it NOW!
The first fifteen seconds of your meeting with the casting team are crucial; they don’t want to know that you’re feeling a bit rough after six too many pints last night and they don’t really care if you’ve split up with your partner. Leave any problems outside the door and use this as a cathartic opportunity for escapism. Enter the room with good posture and body language and a smile on your face.
Whether they’re performing at the Royal Albert Hall, an arts centre, a village hall, on radio or on screen an Actor needs to command the attention of their audience. If you shuffle in looking at your shoes you’re not giving the casting team the right impression.
3. Perform Rather Than Read
The Casting team don’t want to hear you simply read the script otherwise they could have conducted the audition over the phone. There’s no need to go pantomime OTT unless that’s what’s called for, but take the time in advance to test out different blocking and actions to compliment the dialogue. Even in a naturalistic play some subtle movement is required as we don’t stand statue still in real life.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be given direction during an audition but if you are don’t be thrown by it and follow it. You could even try retaining composure when friends or family throw direction at you.
4. Character Is Key
Do you remember that point about reading the full script? This is where it becomes most important. Always read the entirety of the script to get the most well-rounded understanding of your character. Find out what they say about themselves, what other characters are saying about them and what the playwright or screenwriter says about them.
Establish what your character’s objectives are in the course of the scene and what obstacles are in their way. Consider how this will impact the way you use the space, which words you put emphasis on, the way you move and your emotions.
5. Love Is All You Need
Well not really, since this is one of ten audition tips but it is an important point to note. Even characters who are seemingly irredeemably nasty at first glance will likely have some sympathetic qualities; see if you can find a moment for love to shine through.
Engage in conversation and ask questions. If asked to choose between audition pieces make a choice with conviction. Any cop out responses like “you decide, I don’t mind” won’t wash. It’s worth remembering the three Cs: Charismatic, Comfortable and Confident.
7. Variety Is The Spice of Life
When you read a scene in isolation you can often find yourself unclear about how to play it in terms of emotions, another reason why its so important to read the full script. Once you know how the dialogue of that particular scene fits in with the overarching narrative you can establish how your character is feeling. That being said, even if you know your character’s feelings are leading a certain way its unlikely that only one emotion dominates the scene; play with different feelings and allow your performance to flow with the dynamics of the scene.
8. Play Opposites
Making a surprising move and playing the opposite emotion can give your performance a unique and subversive quality. For example, if the dialogue leads you to believe that the character could be shouting why not play them with sinister, mocking laughter?
If you’ve given yourself plenty of preparation time you should be able to experiment with this. Playing opposites won’t always work for your character or scene but it can certainly make you stand out if it does.
9. Practice Makes Perfect
The out of work Actor struggling to get to an endless stream of auditions is a cliche older than Rock Stars throwing TVs out of hotel windows. Like any other, the profession can become disheartening but just as practice in acting makes perfect, practice in auditions also makes perfect. Smashing auditions is a craft to be honed.
10. Look After Your Voice
After all this preparation wouldn’t it be a shame for your voice to let you down? Don’t roll up to your audition with twenty minutes’ sleep and regrettable flashbacks of last night’s showstopping karaoke session. Butchers have knives, writers have pens, you have your voice – look after it!
That’s right, you’ve smelt it coming – it’s time for a shameless Vocalzone plug…
Vocalzone pastilles or tea prior to and following your audition as well as during practice will ensure that all you have to worry about is points 1 – 9 on this list.