Auditions, just like any interview, are weird things. You’re nervous as hell, self-conscious and tongue tied, but despite this, you have to be this outgoing, charming person who is extremely hardworking and basically without flaw.
You should pat yourself on the back for even managing to get through your auditions without bursting into tears. But to make sure that you audition as well as you possibly can, here are a few no-nos for auditions and how you can avoid doing them.
1. NEVER FORGET THAT YOU ARE A CREATIVE EQUAL
What we mean by this is that without you (actors), there isn’t a project. It’s easy to think directors, producers and other creatives are above you and all-powerful, but don’t forget they need you to complete the project. You and your talent is just as vital and essential as theirs.
A good trick is to pretend they are friends of friends you might meet at a party. So you are an equal but not too familiar. This way you can be yourself with a little extra pinch of confidence.
2. NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO GET INTIMIDATED BY OTHERS IN THE ROOM
This is a short and straight forward one, but no less important. It is very easy to sit in the waiting room, looking around at the other actors there thinking “he’s better looking than me” or “she’s just gone to RADA” or “she’s just finished a run in War Horse”.
The fact is you are auditioning for the same thing. Casting directors obviously think it’s worth seeing you as much as it’s worth seeing them, which puts you on equal footing!
3. NEVER OVER THINK IT
It is so easy to over analyze what’s going on in a high stakes situation like an audition. Too often we project our own insecurities onto the director or casting director and presume they dislike us, or that they think we suck.
This is not true.
They actually really want you to be good. They want you to be the one they’re looking for, if for no other reason than because if you nail it, their search, and all the hard work, is over!
Don’t freak out over small mistakes in your audition; the casting directors are honestly looking at the bigger picture. They have so many things to think about, they’re not thinking about the few words you messed up.
This brings me onto cold readings. Obviously, if you’ve been given sides before the audition, know them back to front. But if it’s a cold reading, they will be looking for responsiveness. So most importantly LOOK AT YOUR SCENE PARTNER. Connect with them. Look and listen to them while they say their lines. The reactions are just as, if not more, important than your lines.
Make sure you’re holding your script up to eye level so you can look at you scene partner while delivering lines. Even when it’s not a cold reading and you know your lines, it is important to be responsive and connect with your partner.
If you are interested in becoming a more responsive, reactive actor, check out our acting classes! Book before 1st August and get 20% off the price of your ticket!
*PLUG ALERT OVER*
4. NEVER FORGET TO BE RESPECTFUL
This point sounds so obvious it’s ridiculous – but you wouldn’t believe the way some actors behave in auditions.
Because the audition is so important to us we want everything to be perfect, but there are things and people we cannot control and we need to remember to just shut up and do our best. Never volunteer notes to your fellow actors and definitely not to your scene partner. Unless they ask, it is just rude. And no one, not other actors, or directors want to work with someone who is rude.
5. NEVER BLAME YOUR AGENT
We understand; sometimes your agent has only just called you at 10pm the night before and you’ve had no time to learn lines. It’s a valid excuse, and a fairly common happening, but try not to complain too much about it. To a casting director, all they hear is “I am unprepared to work hard for this role”.
This is just one of these times we need to suck it up and make time to learn those lines. There really is no excuse if you want your career to keep moving forward.
6. NEVER FORGET YOUR CAMERA ETIQUETTE
Screen auditions do seem to be a bit weird. Sometimes it’s a big casting director’s assistant and they read their lines in complete monotone and don’t even look at you once. It can be off-putting, but if you ever feel shaken in a film audition, always remember:
- Don’t look directly into the camera
- Don’t place the person you’re talking to away from the camera. They don’t really want to watch the back of your head do the acting
For more tips on auditioning for filmmakers, check out Andy McKendry’s guest post here.
7. NEVER IGNORE DIRECTION
This is probably the most important tip in this list! The director needs to know that you are directable and can deliver HIS/HER story.
Your initial instincts with the scene could be spot on, but they will probably ask you to change something to see if you can be directed on the spot. And don’t be afraid to take their note and act on it quite drastically. It’s better to go too far and scale it back, rather than not go far enough.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. There’s no point in doing it again if you don’t understand, as you probably won’t get to do it again. Ask for clarification, but again be respectful and do not question the director’s choices.
We hope that these tips help you nail some auditions. If you have any pointers of your own for things to never do in an audition, or have any particularly cringe-worthy audition anecdotes, please let us know about them in the comment section below!