Andrew Holt, professional actor and 3LF's Artistic Coordinator/Workshop Facilitator, reveals his top tips on how to absolutely nail that audition.
Auditions are a crucial part of any production. Auditions are a chance for the production crew to see their script come to life; they are an opportunity for actors to showcase their skills. For the most part, auditions are the main way for actors to get involved in projects, therefore they are a little bit like the interview of the artistic/dramatic world, only more fun! Though they can be intimidating and nerve-racking, just like interviews, there is a lot that you can do to prepare and make the whole process seem a bit less daunting.
Know the Audition Piece:
If you are given a script before the audition, make sure you read through it several times to ensure that you fully understand what is going on! If you have access to the whole script or a copy of the story/plotline, it can be extremely useful to read through the entire thing so that you can understand the context of the audition pieces.
Create a Character Trait List:
Pick out all of the details that you learn about the character from the audition piece. If you also have access to the whole script (see above), it is worthwhile doing this for the rest of the story as well. This list should include things like character traits, relationships, and objectives within the audition piece/script.
Learn the Lines:
You can only go so far with your head in your script! It is perfectly fine having a script in your hand, but being able to actually engage with the scene that you are reading, and perform the words, will go a long way to boosting your performance.
Practice Out Loud (ideally with someone else):
Although something might sound great in your head, the delivery out loud may fall flat. It is best to find that out before you get into the audition room. Even if the audition piece is a monologue, it can be extremely useful to play off someone else, be it a family member or a friend. Not only can they give you useful pointers about what went well and what didn’t quite work, as the saying goes, the last 10% of performance is having a live audience!
Me, Myself and I
Stand Out - the Character:
Try to bring something new to the character and your performance. This new energy can depend on several things, such as the genre and style of the production, the character type that you are reading as, and the specific scene in question. For example, if it is a naturalistic production, then perhaps try to bring something to the character which makes them seem more human: something that enhances their personality and shows them as more than just a character in a play. If it is a comedic or exaggerated production/character, add something that puts your performance over-the-top, such as a peculiar way of talking, walking, or a maybe a caricature mannerism. The worst-case scenario will be that they will ask you to reign it in, but this is far better than having them ask you to amp it up! Doing this also shows that you are willing to experiment and have fun with the character.
Stand Out - Yourself:
Think of a fun story, hobby, or skill that you can tell about yourself. Many auditions will ask you to prepare something like this for the start of the audition. Not only is this an easy way for the casting directors to get to know you, but it can also be a simple way to cut the tension and be a great ice breaker. However, it is also an excellent opportunity for you to make yourself stand out! Casting directors may see hundreds of people per day, so you need to do everything that you can to make sure that you stick out from the crowd. Maybe it is telling the story of how you fell in the toilet while trying to escape that disastrous date? Or perhaps it's demonstrating your immaculate yodelling skills? Think of something that makes you seem unique!
Although auditions are nerve-racking experiences, it really helps to be confident. It will not bode well for the job ahead if you can't have confidence in yourself and your abilities, and show this in the audition room.
Although not as formal as an interview, you still need to look put together. Try to have a neutral outfit, ideally all black. Try not to look like you have been dragged through a hedge (unless the character actually has been)!
Some jobs could span a very long time, so casting directors will want to know that you will be a good match for the production and all involved. Rehearsals can be long; filming days can be hard. Now, this does not mean you need to be cracking jokes at every opportunity, but it is good to know that you will at least get on with everyone.
Above all, have fun and just go for it! If you are having fun, it will shine through in your performance and give it that little bit extra that will help you to stand out. Although it sometimes may seem that the casting directors want you to fail, any good casting director is willing you to do your best and demonstrate your talents to the best of your capabilities.
Try not to worry too much, do your homework, and blow them away!