Think of your auditions, callbacks, and interviews as a party in which you are the host. Take control of the room and treat the casting team as friends and colleagues who’re excited to see your work. They’re on your side and want you to have a fantastic audition. Simply put, they have a problem and you’re offering a really good solution. That solution begins as soon as you enter the room and sometime even when you arrive at the casting office or theater.
I don’t suggest entering the audition room “in character.” Some actors may disagree, but I’ve tried it in the past and have never felt it was very effective. It feels unnatural, and in my experience can make casting feel a little uncomfortable. If I’m auditioning for the role of a slimy lawyer and I enter the room in character, they may be put off and assume that’s how I will behave on set. I enter as myself, with a sense of confidence and control. I want them to get a quick sense of my energy and personality. That being said, when entering the room, I do adjust my energy based on the character and circumstances of the scene. If I’m playing a dad receiving news that his son is in critical condition, I will probably not enter as if I just won the lottery. I’ll come in as myself, politely say hello to everyone, and then ease into the scene.
Just before beginning your audition, casting will usually ask if you have any questions about the scene or the role. Be prepared for this and remember, there are stupid questions. If you have questions - intelligent, well thought out questions, by all means ask them. Don’t ask questions that reveal you haven’t done your prep work; leave that to the lazy and more inexperienced actors. Some stupid audition questions may include, “Should I sit or stand? What do you want me to do? What does my character want?” Use common sense when it comes to asking questions during your audition.
Take your time without wasting time. If you need a moment or two before you begin your audition, take it. If it’s going to result in a better audition, everyone will be happy in the end. Again, use common sense here. Taking ten to fifteen seconds to focus – great, no problem; taking three minutes to conjure up the memory of your dead dog – not a good strategy.
I usually begin and end my auditions with behavior - a physical or psychological action. Have a moment before and a moment after as part of your scene. In other words, the audition does not begin and end with the words, but with truthful behavior. These are just a couple of tools to use when auditioning. I’ll discuss specific audition techniques in future articles. For now I just want you to understand the importance of taking control of the room when auditioning.
When your scene is over, take a second to let it breathe. Thank the casting people, and leave the room with a confident and positive energy – even if you think your audition sucked! Never beat yourself up or apologize for your work, especially in the room. You’re an actor, act like it was an amazing audition, even if it wasn’t.
Casting directors, directors, producers, writers and almost anyone involved in show business cannot do their job without actors. Each audition you get is definitely beneficial to your career, but bear in mind that you are not getting paid for your services – yet. In an audition you are there as a favor to the people who need to cast their project. Your audition will get them one step closer to solving their casting problem. You were called in to audition because of something they saw of value in what you have to offer. They want you to succeed so they can cast you and move on. The sooner you understand and embrace this concept the sooner you will take control of your auditions.
Auditioning is a major part of our job as actors. It’s not easy to get an audition, so when you do, take full advantage of it. Take control of your work when you get into the room. Auditioning is an opportunity for you to do what you love to do – act!
Thanks for reading. Good luck and keep going. I wish you nothing but success in your acting career.
For more information or to schedule a coaching session, please visit www.ryankitley.com.