Essential Guide To Nailing Auditions – 7 Best Steps For Actors
Auditioning is a vital part of an actor’s life. For most actors, it’s the part of the acting process that many actors will do in their acting career(besides waiting tables to earn a living in the meantime). An audition is one of the toughest parts of the film industry because actors have to consistently perform amazing auditions to eventually lead to landing roles.
The problem with the audition process that many actors face is not knowing how important auditioning is, and if any mistakes are made leading up to the audition, an actor may not get a callback.
Auditioning is a difficult skill to master, but if an actor can master the audition process, they can increase their chances of getting roles that can lead them to stardom. Considering that auditioning is a hard skill to master, it takes time and perseverance to begin to see results.
I have been part of many casting calls as a producer, director, and actor in many independent short films over the years. While I am not an expert in the casting process, I have taken notes over the years on things that many actors have done that ruined their chances of being called back for the next steps.
That’s why I created this article to help actors navigate the difficult task of auditioning with these 7 simple steps that will help an actor nail their next auditions.
Essential Guide To Nailing Auditions - 7 Best Steps For Actors
Learn Your Lines
I know this might sound obvious, but many actors trying to break into the film industry fail this simple step and that is not learning their lines. Actors try so hard preparing before an audition on how to get into the character, that they neglect the most important piece and that is the script.
The first thing an actor needs to do once they receive sides from a casting agent or casting director is to start learning the lines through repetition, and not worry at the start about how you will deliver the lines in the audition. If you start delivering your lines in a specific way at the start, you might not be able to give your performance the realness when the time comes.
If you have enough time before your audition, make sure you are dead letter-perfect. If you go into your audition with the mentality that you know the lines more or less, your subconscious will create nervous energy before the casting call, which could lead to you blowing your lines.
Schedule times throughout the day to read your lines over and over. Read the lines when you wake up till right before you go to sleep. Recite the lines on your way to the audition. Forward and Backward. Just make sure you’re confident, and allow yourself to naturally respond to the lines and your performance should shine through.
Also, make sure that you are off-script as much as possible. While this might not be easy in theatre auditions where you can often have the script in hand, for commercials and films, be as close to off-book as you can be.
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Get Your Worst Take Out Of The Way
Have you ever had auditions where you completely blew it because it didn’t feel right?
There are ways to avoid this from happening. What you need to do is get your worst take out of the way before even stepping foot in the audition room or on a self-tape.
While you won’t be able to recreate the environment of the audition room you are entering, what you can do is do a couple of run-throughs at home before leaving for your big break. Grab your smartphone and camera gear at home and video record yourself. Have fun with it, and make all the mistakes before leaving to your casting call.
Watch the video and find the areas of your routine that need work. If you have an acting buddy or somebody you trust that can watch your video, it helps you with any feedback you might not have noticed yourself.
Rehearsal beforehand does not only mean saying the lines in your head loads of times but getting your body and mind involved helps with the anxiety. Embed it in your muscle memory so when you’re in a different space, like a casting room with different people, you can relax and let your performance flow.
The key is to make sure that you get the first bad take out of the way, so you don’t have to do it in the audition room.
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Actors understand that our body is our biggest tool and whether consciously or subconsciously we physically show a lot of emotion and purpose in the audition room. So a big tip in nailing your next audition is to be as relaxed as you can before we enter the audition room.
I know that this may sound obvious, but to avoid anxiety before an audition is to ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time to get to the casting. There is nothing like showing up late and entering the audition room out of breath and sweaty as it will immediately put you off your game. Also, if you are worried about being sweaty before an audition, bring deodorant and wear breathable fabrics with good ventilation.
Also, avoid caffeine before the audition as this may also affect your performance negatively in terms of being extra jittery.
If you arrive early before your audition, practice some deep breathing exercises, so you can go into your audition calmly and focus on the task at hand.
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An Audition Is More Than Just A Gig
Sure you are auditioning for an acting role, but it’s more than that. Not only are you trying to nail the audition to get the part, but you are auditioning for future roles the director/casting team may want to see you for.
Something to keep in mind every time you audition is that the casting directors always want you to do well. The casting directors are on your side, so don’t be intimidated by them and listen to their advice if they give it to you. Casting agents know what the director’s intent for the role is more than you do, so listen to them if they provide help along the way.
Plus, if you show up on time, learned your lines, and give a great performance, regardless of your suitability for this specific role, they will begin to trust that they can bring you in again next time around.
An Audition Is A Great Way To Improve Yourself
Job opportunities, fame, and fortune will come to actors that understand that every audition is a learning opportunity. If you are always worried about the anxieties of an audition, then use it as a perfect time to focus on getting better and learning from mistakes along the way, rather than worry about an audition.
Step back and take the time to enjoy the audition process, and use the moment to show your talent.
Never take an audition for granted, always use it as a part of your progression as an actor, and you will learn something from every audition regardless of how it went. The key thing to remember is to always learn from your mistakes, so you can begin nailing auditions in the future.
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An Audition Is An Interview For A Job
With the excitement of auditioning, actors tend to forget that they are there to get a job. If you are in a holding room with other actors auditioning for the same role, it’s not the time to make new friends.
When it’s time for your audition, walk into the room, be yourself, be friendly, be courteous, listen, perform, and then leave. This is something that I see many actors do after an audition. Don’t hang about once you are finished. Thank anyone in the room for their time, like the casting director or director, and leave.
Unless initiated by someone in the room, don’t shake hands, don’t pass comment on the weather, don’t talk about your opinions of the script or director, you can lose or gain a job after the “acting” has already happened.
While it’s great to be polite and friendly, you don’t want to come across as enthusiastic or desperate. Yes be passionate and show you want the job, but a desperate actor is the last thing a casting director wants to see.
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Once It's Done, Walk Away
Actors always feel after auditions that they could have been better. It’s a natural feeling to have since you are baring your soul to the world, but when it’s done you need to walk away.
After an audition, give yourself five minutes of self-depreciation or appreciation and then drop it. Agonizing over your performance or reminiscing about how great you were doesn’t help you improve.
Sure you need to analyze your performance on how it went, celebrate your successes, take notes of thoughts and lessons for the future, but remember you are your own harshest critic so try your best not to listen to the voices in your head if things went bad.
Plus, 90% of the time the final casting decision oftentimes has less to do with your acting but with how you physically fit into the role. So don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get the role.
For more advice on audition practices read:
Ron Marasco’s “Notes to an Actor”. An easy-to-read actor/director’s take on the profession with invaluable advice on auditioning practice and acting technique (also available as an audiobook).
I hope this auditions article was helpful. Try not to be too worried about auditions, they are a natural part of the acting world, and changing the way you look at them will help you in your acting career. If you can try to see them as a chance to do what you love rather than something you dread, or stress about, you will be a much happier and healthier actor.
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About the author: Trent (IMDB | Youtube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.