It happened! After submitting to countless projects on NYCastings.com, you finally got called in for an audition. You’re excited to have your chance to go in and show the casting director what you can do. However, another wave of emotion comes over you: Nervousness. Whether you’re used to auditioning multiple times in one day, this is your first audition in months, or this is your first audition ever, sometimes with an audition comes the pressure to book the job. Your mind immediately starts racing with thoughts like “This role is perfect for me,” “I need to book this,” and “What if they don’t like what I do?” Suddenly you put the pressure of your entire career on what will probably end up being no more than five minutes.
So, what do you do? Luckily, I’ve been on my fair share of auditions myself (and have spoken to a number of different actors over the years) to know that there are basics that you can apply to auditioning on any level. Whether you are auditioning for a student film, a network television show, a commercial, or even a major motion picture, the same basic ways of approaching an audition seem to remain the same. And while sometimes the steps can be easier said than done, overall, you have to start somewhere.
Here are the 10 necessary steps to take when preparing for your next audition:
1. Figure Out What You’re Being Called In For — This step probably seems like the most obvious, right? However, sometimes you can be so wrapped up in the new information they’re giving you that you forget to double-check what you’re auditioning for! And, whether you realize it or not, the genre, style, or platform for which you’re auditioning for can greatly affect the ways in which your audition go. If you’re auditioning for a television show, make sure you’re familiar with the style of the show. If you’re auditioning for a commercial, familiarize yourself with the product you’re advertising. If you’re auditioning for a film, be sure to check out the director’s past work. And, of course, before you even audition, make sure you are free on the shoot dates in which the project will be filming.
2. Figure Out When & Where Your Audition Is Being Held — If you don’t have the time and location down for your audition, then you can totally ruin your chances of getting the part. In order to make sure you know where you’re going and you know exactly what time to get there, be sure to go back into the audition email you received (or check in with your agent and manager) to make sure that you have all the right information. Again, this step may seem obvious, but it’s easy show up at the wrong building or show up in the AM when the audition is listed for the PM. It’s always better to be safe then sorry! Mark that audition in your calendar.
3. Print Out The Sides — If you’ve received sides for your audition, be sure to print them out as soon as you get them. Then you can highlight your lines (if necessary) and carry the sides around with you up until the audition. When it comes to memorizing a scene or even breaking down a character, it’s always an easier process when the scene is tangibly in your hands. And then you don’t ever need to worry about relying on internet connection to access it! Write all over the sides, fold them up, and don’t let them out of your sight until the audition is over.
4. Rehearse Your Audition Material — This is a give-in when it comes to preparing for your audition. Everyone prepares scenes differently, so just find what works for you! Takes notes on your character, find out what he/she wants, read the scene over and over again, get a friend to help you run lines. This is the fun part! So don’t stress over it.
5. Take A Break From Thinking About Your Audition — It can be easy to get caught up in getting the scene “right.” However, the best thing to do the night and morning before your audition is to let it all go. No matter how much you prepare you can never really know exactly what to expect. So, despite needing to rehearse the material, you also want to make sure that you leave a certain amount of spontaneity on the table. Take a much needed breather.
6. Get Your Headshots & Resumes Together – Don’t be that actor who is rushing out the door and suddenly realizes that they forgot to pack their headshots and resumes! Always have them printed, stapled, cut, and ready to go. Even when you don’t have an audition! Because you never know who you’re going to run into or when your printer might decide not to work.
7. Use Improvisation On Your Audition Material — OK… So you took a break from the sides and now it’s time to quickly review them before you head out to your audition. So, what do you do? You run the scene without caring about the lines. That’s right! It’s all about the improvisation. Running the scene without worrying about getting each line word-for-word will help you get a clear perspective of what you’re actually saying. It’ll get you into the mindset of your character and be generally more comfortable with the material. And, by being more comfortable, you will be ready for anything the casting director throws your way.
8. Dress For The Part — When showing up to an audition, it’s important the you dress for your character. However, you don’t want to wear any obscene costumes. What you do want to wear is colors that describe the character, appropriate work attire, and according to your character’s social status. And, if you’re auditioning for film and television, you may want to try to avoid any funky patterns or black or white shirts when in front of the camera.
9. Leave Ample Time To Get To Your Audition — Leave early enough so that you can have about 10 minutes to yourself once you arrive. From there, you can get to the bathroom, fix your hair and make-up, quickly look over your sides, drink some water, and do whatever you need to do before they call you into the room. It will make you look and feel like you’re completely prepared for this… Because you are!
10. Breathe & Trust That You Can Do It — One of the most important things about preparing for an audition is your mindset. Why? Because nerves and losing faith in yourself is crystal clear to the people you’re auditioning for. Take a deep breath, think positive thoughts, and believe in yourself. In response you’ll walk into the room looking as confident as ever… And there’s no way the casting directors won’t believe that you belong there. You got this!