It’s very important to remember that your audition is basically your job interview. It is your rather brief opportunity to show exactly what you have to offer. There are any number of different variables that can affect your audition, however there are some things you can definitely do to improve your audition success. Simultaneously, there are also some certain things you can do and say that will definitely reduce your odds for success. A few examples of what NOT TO SAY….
1. “Oops, I messed that up, could I start over and do it again?”
While it is generally alright to ask to have another attempt at an audition, explaining that you made a mistake or messed it up, is not good practice. Yes, it can be commonplace to stumble over some words or lose your place in the audition script or sides. When that happens, don’t worry too much about it as the casting director is generally not as concerned about whether you can memorize or read all your lines. Their main concern is how you portray the character and what choices you make. Redoing your auditions simply because you didn’t like your performance is generally unacceptable and amateurish. Most actors will think their performance was not their best effort. If you are certain that you can improve your performance with one more attempt, then certain ask politely if it would be possible to do again. You may or may not be given the opportunity, depending on if there is enough time and possibly if the casting director saw some potential in your initial performance. Note that you should never ask for more than one additional attempt. Nobody is prepared to wait around until you feel you get it right. If you still don’t think you did a good enough job after the second attempt or you were denied another go, then don’t worry about it. Let it go. Just, accept your performance as it stands, chalk it up to experience and use it to improve your next audition.
2. “Sorry, I’m really nervous”
Uttering this phrase or anything similar screams “amateur”. Sure, like virtually most actors, you will have some nervous apprehensions. But never actually vocalize your nervousness as it will demonstrate your inexperience and inability to handle the pressure. Some ideas to assist you in overcoming that nervous state, could include, deep breathing exercises, focus on something you see in the room (the mind can only focus on one thing in any split moment), use an MP3 player or IPod prior just prior to your audition in order to focus your mind elsewhere.
3. “That’s it! I’m done”
When your audition has actually finished, there is no need to yell anything to the casting director such as “That’s it!”, “I’m done.”, or “I got nothing else.” Etc. Big, big mistake! At the conclusion of your performance take what’s sometimes referred to as a “professional moment”. A few seconds of silence and then possibly a slight nod to the casting director should be enough for the casting director to understand that your audition or monologue is finished. If you are doing a particular scene on camera, then continue to stay in character until the casting director instructs you to end the scene at which point they should say something like “Cut!”, “Thank you”, “Stop” etc. This is why it is important that actors have some form of improvisation skills, so that they are able to carry on a scene for as long as they are required to do so.
4. “Sorry I’m late, traffic was terrible” or “Sorry, I couldn’t find a parking space”
Don’t waste your time. Nobody cares what problems you have been having. If you are late, there is nobody to blame but yourself. The casting directors couldn’t care less why you’re late. All you have done is interrupted or held up their auditioning process. If you are late, relax, calm down, take a deep breath. Explain that you are aware you are late and ask if there would there be any possibility to still audition. You may get some complaining or a lecture on the importance of arriving on time, but just take that in stride, nod and acknowledge. If you are allowed to still audition, thank the person kindly (and only once), then forget about the fact you were late and refocus on your audition and treat it as if you were on time and everything is good. A worthwhile acting tip to embed into your brain is: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late!”
5. “How was that?” or “How did I do?”
Only a complete newbie or amateur would ask such a question at the end of their audition. Never ask the casting director how you did or what they believed of your performance. One a casting director will probably not be entirely honest and will probably tell you what you want to hear which would be mostly positive comments which would be of very little benefit to you. Secondly, they just want to get the job done. If they had to explain to every actor how they did, it would be a lot of wasted time and their schedule would be shot. Lastly and most importantly, often times (and especially for screen auditions), they will not be making the final decision so their opinion is worth very little when it comes to who gets the role.
In relation to this issue, one other point is to never look for recognition or approval from the casting director or anybody else in the casting team. Sometimes you may get some feedback but more often than not you will get very little. You have to learn to live with your own self appraisal which should be constructive as opposed to negative.
Be aware that everything you do in an audition environment is being judged. Therefore, it is imperative that you act and appear professional at all times. Focus on your audition and learn from every single opportunity you are provided. Good luck with your next audition.
Action = Success!
“You need to study and work on your craft. If you`re not prepared when that dream audition comes, you are not going to get that opportunity. To me, the definition of victory is when opportunity meets preparation.” – Hilary Swank