Auditions can be stressful. I had a professor once describe them as a job interview, which isn’t entirely untrue. You’re coming into a room full of prospective casting directors (and if you’re lucky, employers) and selling your talent to them, much like a prospective job hunter is doing to prospective managers.
Here are few tips to help calm your nerves and get you audition ready.
1.) Be prepared – Know exactly what you’re auditioning for and what is required of you. We’ve had people walk into our theater without a song or monologue expecting us to tell them what to do. We always put out information well ahead of time, so you can prepare adequately. As a community theater, we do tend to be a little more forgiving (i.e. “I just found out about this audition yesterday, can I have my monologue with me?”), but take note that that’s not the case everywhere. And if you don’t know something…. ASK!
2.) Dress nicely – Again, an audition is essentially an interview. You don’t have to wear a full pantsuit and blazer, but dress in something flattering, nice, and that fits your personality. Sloppy dressers look like they don’t care, and if they don’t care about an audition…. They might not care about the production either.
3.) Know the show – You don’t have to go out and read the entire script (though it doesn’t hurt if you can get your hands on it), but at least be familiar with what you’re auditioning for. Don’t do a Shakespearian monologue for a production of High School Musical. We’ll talk more about choosing a monologue in our next blog entry.
4.) Stop apologizing – So many people walk into an audition and the first and last things they do are apologize. For what? Own your audition. It’s yours and there’s nothing to be sorry about. If you make a mistake, calmly start over or keep going the best you can. Directors and producers are not against you in your audition. We all want you to do your best so we can hopefully use you in the production if you fit what we need. As a side note, don’t start your audition with “I’m so nervous.” We know most auditioners are! We want to see confidence in your ability that will translate to confidence in your performance.
5.) We’re on Your Side – We want the best cast we can get and that might include you! The director, producers, and whoever else is in the audition room with you do not want you to fail. We want you to showcase your talent so we can decide if you’re a good fit. So many people’s nerves are geared toward thinking directors and producers are set up waiting for bad auditions and that’s simply not the case.
6.) Talent isn’t the only thing we’re looking for – I asked Genevieve Lynch (Dir. Shrek the Musical JR. and High School Musical JR.) what she looks for in an audition and this is what she said:
I audition the actor to see not only their talent but also their personality. Are they polite? Prompt? Organized? Focused? Good natured? There are many talented people in this business but not all of them possess the above qualities. I look to work with someone who is a pleasure to be around and easy to work with, a true “team player”.
Come in with a good attitude and ready to roll. Be kind to other actors and staff during callbacks, as well.
The single best way to learn how to audition is to go to every casting call that you can. Practice makes perfect! Our next entry will focus on choosing a perfect monologue, which can also make or break you no matter how talented you are.