Auditioning is one of the hardest, most nerve-wracking things about doing theater. Even when people overcome stage fright, they remain nervous about the audition process for years to come. While you can't stop the nerves, you can make sure you are as prepared as possible and put your best self forward, so that at the end of the day you don't regret what you did. Once you're giving it your 'all', each audition gets easier and lets learn more and more about how to do even better next time.
This sounds obvious, but cannot be stressed enough. Coming to an audition without preparing is embarrassing and painful for you and insulting to the production staff. Being unprepared is very noticable and is a surefire way to make sure you will not get that part you are hoping for. It is important that you show us that you take the process seriously, as it reflects on how you would treat the rest of the production.
Before the audition date:
- Know the place, time, and expectations.
- Know how communication will happen before and after auditions - the actual audition is not the time to ask about when and how a cast list will be released
- Read any available audition material
- Listen to any available music
- Research the play online
- Choose a song or part that best suits who you are, not just one you like
- Make choices about emotion and character
- Do your best to memorize - if you can't, that's ok, but don't pretend you did
- Practice, a l ot
The day before the audition:
- Eat well
- Get a full night's sleep
- Rehearse, but only in moderation - do not stress your voice
The day of:
- Dress appropriately - no need to go all out, but don't show up in ripped jeans and an old t-shirt, this speaks to how seriously you take the audition and the production
- Arrive early
- Warm up
- Bring a list of prior vocal, dance, and acting experience - consider a printed theater resume
- Bring a list of your scheduling conflicts for the production - again, printed is best
- Focus and let others focus while they wait their turn
The actual Audition
Once you are in the audition, your job is to sell yourself as the single best choice for the part. You need to do this by being confident, prepared, and making and committing to choices about the character. Over and over our production staff has been completely surprised by auditions and has made casting choices that no one expected. Every time this has happened, it is because someone came in with confidence and purpose, and showed us that they belonged in a certain role. If you've prepared, you're more than halfway to achieving this goal. Here's some tips to get you over the finish line:
- Be ready to go when you are called. Making the production staff wait means that's what's on their minds when they first see you.
- Greet everyone in the audition room politely. Everyone makes many assumptions and inferences every time they meet someone new - production staff are no different. Even if you know the staff, treat it like the first time.
- Exude Confidence. You rock. Show it.
- DO NOT make excuses. The single absolute worst way to start is to tell us why you won't be amazing. That becomes the expectation, and the staff cannot take it into account anyway - it wouldn't be fair to everyone else who is auditioning.
- Be honest. Actors need to be believable. For the staff, this begins with you being believable, and the best way to do that is honesty. Answer any questions as honestly as you can. For the audience, being believable begins with choices that make sense and have purpose - don't just plan movement, plan reactions and emotions.
- Use the energy of being nervous. This is hard, but since you can't just get rid of the nerves, you have to decide if you will let them make you pace, mumble, and trip (bad) or if you will make them propel you into a high energy show-stopper (good).
- DO NOT just stand there. Use the space and show emotion and character. Acting is doing, not just reading or singing. Those are merely tools for you to express the story.
- Deliver your audition to the audience. Face out, project your voice, and act as if there's a auditorium filled with people. Do not focus your attention on the staff - they want to watch you, not be a part of the scene.
- Thank everyone in the audition room as you leave. Little actions make big impressions.
- Offer some encouragement to those still waiting, all of them. These will be your cast-mates soon, and they will remember the kindness.
After the Audition
Preparing for and going through an audition is a seriously exhausting thing. When it's all over, go treat yourself to something nice and relaxing - you deserve it! It will also help take your mind off of the audition, which is something you need.
Later that night, make notes - how did it go, what when well, what can you do better next time? Reflecting on the process is a huge part of getting better, and chances are you will have some time before the next audition, you need to write it down to remember it!
DO NOT fret about mistakes you think you made. You do not know what they looked or sounded like to others, you cannot change them, and everybody makes them. The only way you should think about them is as a list of things to work on before the next audition.