How To Prepare For An Audition
For amateur and experienced actors alike, the audition is a significant part of acting. Although the nature of each audition may be different, the etiquette consistently remains the same. Whether the audition is for a role in film, television, theater or simply for agency representation, the audition is a systematic process in which industry professionals make final casting decisions. Industry professionals may consist of casting directors, producers, directors or agency representatives.
The Audition: Excitement, anticipation, anxiety, confidence. These are just a few emotions an actor may experience during an audition because final decisions are made through this process. Along with strong acting skills, it is imperative to possess strong auditioning skills. How you present yourself and the impression that is made will greatly affect the outcome of the audition.
Marketability: Being seen as suitable for a part ultimately lies in the hands of the industry professionals. However, there are ways of beating the odds. For example; producers, directors and writers generally have an idea of what they are looking for. Have you heard the phrase, “I’ll know it when I see it?” The purpose of the audition is for the industry professionals to find the actor that they have visualized for the part. Before you go to an audition, be clear on what they are seeking. Often you will be informed of appropriate wardrobe for the part. If wardrobe requirements have not been stated, then dress simple, wearing colors that bring out your eyes and work best with your hair color. Be prepared to be flexible, and if given the chance, show that you can portray a variety of character types and emotional range.
Professionalism: Professionalism is a big part of strong audition etiquette. The entertainment industry is a business, just like any other profession. It should never be looked at as a playground for egos. During the audition process, industry professionals are not only looking for acting ability. They also consider whether or not the actor will be easy to work with, that they know what they are doing and can take direction well. When you enter an audition room, enter with confidence and a smile. Introduce yourself and stand at your mark. If you are asked any questions or if you are asked to tell a little about yourself, offer full and complete sentences. Yes and no answers are rarely effective. When slating your name, take advantage of those few seconds to let your personality shine. Remember, you can tell a lot about a person just by their “hello.” Take advantage of the audition time to show your personality on your best day. Leave an effective and memorable impression without over-extending your welcome. Listen to direction, take your mark and give it your best shot. If you make a mistake, continue on. They are not looking for perfection, just strong, natural delivery and effective characterization. Never ask to start over. If they want to see you do it again, they will make that request. If you are performing a monologue, only state the name of the piece. Generally they are not interested in the full story line, and time is of importance.
Characterization: Whether you are performing a monologue, dialogue or commercial script, getting into character is key. Give great thought to the character’s persona and stay focused. Visualize the character in your mind and decide if the character is soft spoken or condescending. Maybe he/she is strong-willed, over-confident or insecure. Perhaps the character has a nervous twitch. Decide what kind of personality you will give the character. What about the demeanor? Be sure to be deliberate with the body language you choose for the character. One of the greatest things about being an actor is that what you offer is completely up to you. Regardless of the specifics you choose to implement, be creative and find confidence in your choices. Visualize the character in your mind and decide if the character is soft-spoken or condescending. Maybe he is strong-willed, over confident or insecure. Perhaps the character has a nervous twitch. Decide what kind of personality you will give the character. What about demeanor? Be deliberate with the body language you choose for the character.
Reaction: A significant part of acting is reacting. When you perform a monologue at an audition, there are no props or acting partners to respond to. Therefore, it is up to you to create and visualize the stage and circumstances within your own mind, then effectively perform it so that the industry professionals visualize the same thing you are projecting. Take a moment and think about the art of pantomime. The mime communicates everything through facial expression and body language. Generally, it is not effective for actors to pretend to pick up a phone or take a sip of tea from an invisible teacup. However, like the mime, it is very effective for actors to communicate through facial expression and body language. Many actors forget this factor while performing monologues. They tend to get so involved with their own delivery and remembering the words, that they dismiss the relationship with their acting partner or prop, invisible or otherwise. Respond before saying your next line. That is true acting.
When you perform a monologue, you must paint a mental picture for the audience, a clear picture of the circumstances relating to each situation. Deliver your reaction and projection effectively and you will have them at the edge of their seats.
Focus on the character and have fun with it. Remember, there is no right way, just your way.