Auditioning is a skill in itself. You may be the most versatile, engaging and skilful actor out there, but the art of the audition is a different ball-game. The window of opportunity is tiny so you’ve got to make it count, and fast.
These handy tips from ‘theproducersperspective.com’ give an insight into what those poker faced people on the other side of the table are looking for.
1. Haven’t memorized the material? Don’t pretend you have. If you have sides, try to memorize them. But if you can’t, it’s ok. We’d rather hear the material as written with the papers in your hand than hear you make up stuff just to prove that you tried (and failed) to memorize the material (remind me to tell you about the time an actor added a few lines to a Tony Award winning playwright’s monologue to kill time while he tried to get back on track).
2. Don’t make excuses. I don’t want to hear that you have a cold, or that you have bed-head, or that your printer is broken. Do your best.
3. If I ask you to make a choice, make one. I commonly ask the people auditioning for me to choose between two monologues, or I ask them to give me three song choices from their book and then I say, “which would you like to do?” I want to learn what YOU are attracted to, and I also want to see you make a choice. Don’t say, “It doesn’t matter. What do you want?” Actors have to make strong clear choices when developing characters. I want to see that side of you in everything you do.
4. Make your first 15 seconds count. When you meet someone for the first time, don’t you make a lot of suppositions? We do too.
5. Be the 3 Cs. Be comfortable, charismatic and confident. Actors have to command attention. They have to be the most interesting people in a 1000 seat theater. Be someone that we want to get to know. If you can do that as yourself, I know you’ll also be able to do that in a character.
6. Don’t take the last audition times of the day. Casting is not an easy process, and at the end of the day, a creative team is grumpy, tired and wants to go home. The early actor gets the part. (Another reason to be scheduled early? You don’t have the rest of the day of actors to be compared to. I’m much more likely to call someone back that I see early because I have no idea what the rest of the day will bring.)
7. Don’t start over. Screw up? Fight through it. And it probably wasn’t as bad as you thought. You’re more sensitive to it than we are. An old voice teacher of mine used to say, “If you put a microphone on the inside of a Mercedes engine, you’d hear all sorts of sputtering and spitting, but from the outside, you’d hear nothing but purrrrrrrrr.”
8. Always audition. The best way to master auditioning is just like everything else. Do it over and over. You’ll get numb to the nerves. You’ll be able to be yourself. And you’ll get free practice! I used to go to dance calls, because learning a dance combination at an audition is a free dance class (and I needed them). Actors who get to work on sides with directors at an audition get a free coaching.