A theater audition can be a stressful event; yet many professional actors will seize every opportunity to audition for the next show. A well-prepared actor should have enough understanding about auditions to be ready for any situation which may present itself. It is always beneficial to have a few tricks up your sleeve, in order to fully understand how to approach an audition.
1) KNOW WHAT TO PREPARE. In a stage audition, you are usually given guidelines to follow as to what you should prepare before arrival. For example, in a musical theater audition, you may be asked to prepare 2 one-minute monologues and 16 bars of a song which are appropriate to the style of that particular show. You should have these pieces prepared to the best of your ability before stepping into the audition space.
2) BRING A HEADSHOT AND RESUME. A headshot and resume is almost always required. Make sure to keep both of these documents as updated as possible. It is also imperative that everything on your resume is truthful, and you know what is written on the paper so as to be prepared for any questions the casting director or producer may have about your information.
3) ENTER WITH ETIQUETTE. Upon entering, it is not uncommon for there to be a sign in a sheet at the door. Likewise, here is a helpful hint: Your audition starts the minute you walk through that door. The goal of an audition is to get people to want to work with you. You should conduct yourself with a manner of respect towards everyone in the room. Be patient as you wait, and don’t make too much chatter, as there are likely to be auditions happening in the room next to you. Besides, this is a good time to focus and prepare yourself mentally. Also, be sure to listen to the people who are running the audition, and take any direction they give you with a smile.
4) UNDERSTAND HOW TO SLATE PROPERLY. To slate usually means to state your full name, and any professional representation you may have, along with the title, author, or composer of the piece(s) you will be performing. If you find yourself at an audition for a specific type of role where you don’t need to have a piece already prepared (or are told it is a cold read), be sure to slate with your full name and any additional information you are required to present.
5) SPEAK CLEARLY. When you are slating you should be sure to speak slowly and clearly. In addition, when dealing with cold reads or any prepared script, be sure that the speed and tempo of the scene and the lines make sense with the content of the piece. Check to make sure that your pronunciation is not too slow, as this is a common mistake made by actors during cold reads.
6) TAKE CRITICISM AND DIRECTION RESPECTFULLY AND WITHOUT HESITATION. The director may give you a few pointers about your performance, depending on the situation. He may ask you to do a certain section over again a different way, or simply give you a suggestion for future auditions. Likewise, he may require you to perform a cold read in addition to the pieces you already prepared. Nod respectfully, thank the director, and agree to perform whatever he asks you to do. Keep in mind that you want the director to look forward to working with you, so the way you take direction is a very important part of the audition.
7) EXITING. Exiting is universal for all auditions that you, as a performer, will attend. Be sure to be respectful and thank everyone in the room. Sometimes, you may have to sign out upon leaving.
To understand how to become a part of the theatrical world, you must know how to approach the opportunity. You must also understand the audition process, the people you may encounter, and their various perspectives. Once you know what to expect, you must also recognize that each audition, each show, and each theatre, will be different. Then you will be better prepared to handle every situation before you, in your next audition experience!
Written by Caroline Meisner for The Talent Notes