How to Take Acting Auditions to the Next Level and Book More Jobs!
“I don’t think actors should ever expect to get a role, because the disappointment is too great. You’ve got to think of things as an opportunity. An audition’s an opportunity to have an audience.” –Al Pacino
“I always tell actors when they go in for an audition: Don’t be afraid to do what your instincts tell you. You may not get the part, but people will take notice.” –Robert DeNiro
In this modern world we all have to deal with gatekeepers of one sort or another. There are loan officers if you want to buy a home, admissions boards if you’re trying to get into university, and of course for actors, there are auditions.
Few jobs involve such an ongoing series of tests and retests and yet more tests in order to find out if you’re right for a job. That’s why it’s vital to have the right tools in your kit when you go in to read for a part. Without beating the audition game you’ll never get a chance to really show off your stuff! Here’s a roundup of advice on how to best maximize your chances of booking that next killer role!
1. First the Don’ts
Let’s begin with the things to avoid at auditions, especially mistakes everyone made when they were first getting started. Hey, we all have to start somewhere! So if you have committed any of these faux pas–perhaps even recently–don’t feel bad or get down on yourself. But at the same time, if you want to take your auditioning game to the next level, you’ve got to be sure you learn from those mistakes. One of the common errors agents and casting directors always talk about when newer actors audition is seeing actors who apologize or make excuses. If you just got your sides the night before, they know that. It makes a much stronger impression if you just stride in, say your hellos, and glance down at your sides as needed rather than fumble and struggle to recall the lines. After all, you’re here to act, not to show off your rapid memorization skills. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be prepared, or do all that you can to absorb the piece and the character and your arc before you go in to read. But rather than quaking in fear over possibly dropping a line, you should instead focus on fully inhabiting your character and bringing your best, most confident self into the audition room. Of course, you have to know about the audition in order to called in. It’s vital to submit yourself and make sure you’re actively seeking auditions, and that your resume and headshot are up on sites where casting directors, producers and agents look for talent! Here’s a great checklist for getting yourself on track for your next audition.
2. Audition Preparation
Okay we’ve gotten some of the most egregious rookie audition errors out of the way, now let’s move on to how to prepare the right way for your audition. Let’s assume you’re doing all you can to further your education in your craft, taking classes, doing improv, reading acting books, reading plays, going to plays, etc. But having done the background work necessary, there is still some prep work specific to auditions you should do to ensure you have the best opportunity to make an impression. One big thing that makes CDs and agents cringe when they see actors do it, is, well, to cringe. That is to say, look at the list above of all the things you’ve done to prepare yourself: you are a professional with a ton of training–act like it! Casting directors always want actors to know that they want you to succeed! Not only that, at auditions they aren’t looking for empty vessels for directors to fill, they’re looking for artists who might be good to collaborate with. So scuttling into the audition room like you are about to receive a beating or are expecting nothing but failure is a sure-fire ticket to getting your CV and that expensive headshot tossed in the circular file before you’re even out the door. Check out these tips for how to take the audition to the next level and make a big impression next time you read!
3. Commercial Auditions
So if you’re in the acting game that probably means you have some passion for the art of it–and commercials aren’t usually at the top of the list for artistic endeavors. Most actors don’t begin pursuing a career in the field out of a deep abiding passion to sell diet soda or mattresses. But let’s face it, even artists gotta eat! So, often, while waiting for more meaty material to come around, actors will find themselves auditioning for commercials. There is tremendous demand for commercial actors who really know what they’re doing, and while mastering a few simple commercial audition techniques may not guarantee you will book every job, you can certainly put yourself a the forefront of the pack. One huge plus is to be sure you bring all your bubbly, sunny energy into the audition. These people are looking for spokespeople to sell their product, and let’s face it, grumpy, irritable people don’t really motivate sales. That energy can and should infuse your whole instrument; even if you’re auditioning for a commercial without dialogue, you should be able to exude fun. Remember too that booking commercial gigs requires the same mental discipline and realistic approach as any other audition. Here are a few great ideas on how to alter your mental state and get your head in the right place for your next commercial audition.
4. The Aftermath
Well, you can’t win ‘em all, and that is a truism of acting perhaps more than any other endeavor. There is indeed a lot of rejection in this business, and it’s vital that you get used to it. perhaps more importantly, it’s vital to learn from each and every audition you go on: what went right, what went wrong, what can you change and how can you do better next time out. One of the most important lessons to learn as you get more experience in auditioning is the art of letting go. There are things you can control and things you can’t, and beating yourself up over the things that are out of your control is worse than a waste of your mental energy–it is detrimental to your career. If you did your due preparation, read with confidence, and inhabited your character in a true and genuine way but you still didn’t get the part, well that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. “Assess, reflect, and move on” must be your mantra if you are to survive the grind of the world of the audition. But in addition to that, let’s take the audition to the next level that every casting director wishes every actor would hit. Check out this audition checklist of things you should do at every audition–apart from the acting–in order to ensure that you give yourself the best shot possible! And make sure you get your name and headshot on NYCastings, and sign up for email audition alerts from one of the most widely-read casting sites out there! And break a leg!