Actors and auditions go together like bread and butter. Love them or hate them, acting auditions are an integral — and unavoidable — aspect of being a working actor. A good audition can mean the difference between landing a role and missing out on a coveted part. Needless to say, if you are serious about your acting career, there’s a lot riding on any given audition.
When it comes to bringing a creative project to fruition, a good audition is just the first step in a long process. But, if you don’t bring your A game, it may also be your only step towards that goal. Some aspects of the casting process may be out of your control, but there are steps you can take to ensure you’ll be at your best. Here’s how to prepare for an audition.
1. Do Your Research
Not all casting calls disclose details about the project. But, when you can, familiarize yourself on the production you’re auditioning for and who is involved. If a script or screenplay is provided to you, always read the full work – even if the role you’re auditioning for is relatively small. If you’re auditioning for an ongoing series, try to watch an episode or two that’s already aired to give yourself a sense of the show’s style and structure.
Who is casting, directing, and producing the project? What else have they worked on? What network will this project air on? Doing your research will always leave you better prepared for what to expect in the audition room. Finding the answers to these questions can give you a greater understanding of the genre and style of work, which informs your acting choices.
2. Memorize Your Lines
Throughout their careers, actors will asked to deliver cold reads – auditions sides read with little to no preparation, sometimes blind and on the spot. But while cold reads can be a fun challenge, your best approach involves far more preparation.
Use what time you have to fully memorize your sides. Being off book allows you to perform more freely and embody your character without a script in hand. While some productions allow or even encourage actors to paraphrase lines or incorporate improv, you should always act under the assumption that your memorization needs to be verbatim.
3. Analyze Your Character
There is more to approaching a role than simply learning your lines. While reading the provided sides and material, analyze the text and ask yourself questions. What happened to my character just before entering this scene? What does my character want in this moment and what tactics will they employ to get it? How does my character change over the course of the scene? Over the full work? Investigating these questions can give your character – and your performance – depth and nuance.
4. Stay on Your Toes
No matter how much preparation you put in before an audition, the production team may imagine the character or scene in an entirely different way. Be prepared to take direction and quickly adapt to any notes given to you in the audition room. If a casting director asks you to try something new, the last thing you want is to deliver the same rehearsed performance you came in with.
An important dynamic on any set is how easy you are to work with. Of the many qualities a casting director will look for in an actor, versatility and having a positive, willing attitude are high on the list.
5. Trust the Process
The acting industry is undeniably competitive. But while auditions can leave you feeling judged and rejection is inevitable, the fact is that a casting director wants nothing more than to see you succeed. The production team stands as much to gain from casting you as you do from landing the role. When you walk in and nail your audition, their job is made all the easier.
Remain confident in yourself and your acting abilities. With so many external factors beyond your control, remind yourself that failure to book a job does not reflect on your talent or skill. Be ready to move on from rejection – and gear up for your next audition.