If you are going to perform on stage, auditions must be arranged. You will be more confident performing on stage if you know what to expect. Each audition will be different because no two directors conduct auditions the same way. There are certain standards that you can rely on each time you audition. You will feel more confident about the audition process if you know how to prepare, what to do during it, and what to expect afterward.
When you enter the room, your audition begins. Be prepared to act accordingly. Also, arrive early so you can get relaxed and focused. Be ready to listen and learn. Pay attention to what is being said. Pay attention to what the directors have to say about you. Do not try to guess what the directors want. Just follow their instructions to the letter. Directors look at how open you are to being directed and how easily you follow it. Directors look for actors who can play the role and are willing to try new things.
Auditions can be stressful for all actors and equally so for those on the audition team. Directors are interested in your potential for different characters and not polished scenes or finished products during auditions. They want to see your unique talents, hear your voice, and observe how you move. They want to see your personality and willingness to follow instructions. They also want to see how you interact with the other actors and how you react to them. Regardless of how difficult or stressful this may be for you, you should try to embrace it and smile as much as possible.
The team wants you to do well. They want you to be the best in your audition. The easier their jobs will become, the more they do. Many directors, if not all of them, have had to audition for roles or jobs they are responsible for. It is part of the theater business. This will not make your job easier. However, you can take comfort in knowing that some of your auditioners will soon be there for you.
BEFORE YOUR AUDITION
Do your homework. Learn as much information as possible about the audition. What will the director do to determine the casting? Is the audition going to require cold readings of the script or improvisational games? Is it necessary to prepare a monologue for the audition? Do you need to prepare a monologue? If so, how long and in what style should it be — dramatic or comedic?
If you are able, read the script before auditioning. Many theaters make scripts available at the school or local library. Some scripts can be found online, and you can find notes on them. An understanding of the show and the characters you are interested in playing will make your audition stronger. You should practice your pronunciation, even if you are not familiar with the words. You can be your best on stage by being yourself and acting naturally. It is also important to listen to your scene partner. Your scene’s success depends on the human interaction and communication you have with your partner. An audition reading that has been practiced too much may appear stale to the audition committee. Remember that the director is not looking for a finished product but potential. Directors are looking for actors who are open to learning and growing in the role.
Rest the night before your audition by staying home. You can rest your voice by not speaking too loud the day before or the day of your audition. Get to bed early to ensure you are well-rested.
Before you audition, don’t drink milk and avoid heavy meals. You may experience difficulty speaking or singing due to mucus forming from dairy products. It’s a good idea to eat light snacks and drink plenty of water before your audition. It is important to keep your vocal cords lubricated and in good working order.
Comfortable, neat clothes are best. Avoid wearing high heels and other extreme clothes. You should dress to flatter your body. Your hair should be pulled back from your face. Don’t conceal your eyes or face, as they are the most expressive parts of your body. Do not change your hairstyle or clothes if you are asked back. Light makeup is appropriate for the stage. Don’t wear costumes to auditions. It is not practical to be dressed as the character that you want to portray. Dress so that auditioners can see you in the role. Don’t forget business attire!
DURING YOUR AUDITION
You should arrive at least a little early in order to complete the forms and answer any questions.
Listen and learn. When giving directions, listen carefully to the director. They are often testing your willingness to follow directions. Listen to others auditioning, and learn from their strengths and mistakes. Don’t try to imitate another actor’s performance. Instead, make your audition your own.
Concentrate on the audition and yourself. While you wait, be still and focus on the job at hand. Slowly, deeply and consciously breathe. Warm up before you step onto the stage. Do some stretching, and do vocal exercises to warm up your voice. You can practice your songs early in the day to avoid disturbing others auditioning.
Don’t be afraid to ask the stage manager or director if you have any questions. They will be happy to assist you. Do not make yourself a nuisance, and try to impress the panel by presenting all you know. Directors want actors who can work well with others for several weeks or months. So leave your ego at home and let the professionals do the hard work.
Smile and be confident when you take the stage. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, smile and be positive when you start your audition. Keep your eyes open as you walk across the audition area. Don’t allow them to fall to the ground while you are there. Wait until you are given a sign to begin. Loudly and clearly speak so that others in the house can hear. Do not slouch or reach for your wallet. Directors often decide in a matter of seconds whether they are interested or not in your acting abilities. Your audition is often dominated by the time it takes to get from the front to the middle.
Never cheat the audience. However, you should not look directly at the eyes of those auditioning you. Some people focus slightly on the side of an auditioner’s head, near their ears. This is known as spotting. You can actually place your partner on the stage or in the middle of the room and let them act. Your imaginary partner will be more convincing if you are more realistic. When singing or acting, don’t close your eyes. The audition team won’t see beyond your whites.
Consider the physicality and movement of your character. Your character’s movement should be logical. What is the character’s movement?
Accept some risk. Auditors want to see your full potential and who you are. When reading, be bold and take risks. Boldness is a virtue. Be bold. Do not try to copy others or be someone you aren’t.
Pay attention to what the actors are saying and then react as your character would. Your character should be played to its fullest. As much courage as possible and as expressively as you can, read. Listen and communicate are the two most important words when auditioning. When an actor speaks, be attentive and respond as if you were that actor. As you read, pick the most important aspect of your role.
When you read a scene, think about what your character wants. Then work to make that real and clear. Find out why your character does what he or she does. Look for power shifts in your scene by identifying who is in charge.
Don’t be afraid to compliment other actors and encourage them to do the same. Don’t correct or coach other actors. This is the job of the director.
The director might stop you mid-scene or ask you to do your lines differently during your audition. This is normal and not meant to be a criticism of your performance. Because the audition time is short, the director will try to make it as efficient as possible. Don’t hesitate to give it a shot. Directors respect people who have courage and are willing to take risks.
After the Audition
Smile and say thank you to the audition team when you leave. A positive attitude is infectious. Before, during, and afterward, work to eradicate negativity from your thoughts.
Do not compare yourself with other actors who auditioned. The director may not know what you are looking for, so it is possible that you will be the right person for the part. Do your best, and then let the director make the final decision.
Do not ask for another audition. Remember, first impressions are important. The audition team wants to see your first impressions. A second attempt is rarely enough to change the minds of the team. The first impressions are the most important. Make sure you make a positive, powerful, and strong effort the first time. Directors will call you back if they want to see more.
Every audition should be viewed as a learning opportunity. Even if you don’t get the part you want, the audition should be viewed as a learning experience. You should focus on the positives of your audition. Learn from the mistakes and let them go. It is futile to try and beat yourself up or second-guess the directors.