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Audition Like A Pro 



 Auditions are the bread and butter of The Actor's Life.  But for many actors they can also be the most fearful part of the job.   This article will hopefully put some of those fears to rest.

Getting auditions is always about working hard - and making sure that you're submitting yourself for the right kind of parts.  For most auditions, you'll submit a picture of yourself (your headshot) and/or your resume. Most auditions are by appointment, where you have submitted something and then been invited for an appointment with the people who are casting the production. But there are also "open call" types of auditions, where you can just show up. Be prepared to stand in line for these kinds of auditions, because there will be many many people thinking just like you.

Sometimes when you get called in for an audition you'll also receive part of the script that is in production. These are called "sides". But even if you get sides, you should always remember to have a monologue prepared that really showcases your acting ability. If you receive sides, there is nothing more important than preparing for the audition.

You should read the sides. If it is a revival of a play that's available - you should make sure that you read the whole play before going in and auditioning. You should be able to pick up a copy of the play at Samuel French - or order it online (if you have time). But read and prepare for your audition carefully. If it's an important audition, consider working with your acting coach, or even hiring one for this particular audition to help you prepare.  They can help you with preparation - and really know the character that you're going to be playing.

The absolute number one rule is to know your lines. Whatever technique you use, and whatever choices you use and whatever acting ability you bring to the table will be for nothing if you don't know your lines. Now, if you receive the sides at the audition, they obviously don't expect you to memorize your lines in the short time that you're waiting for your turn to audition. But know them as much as possible. If you're constantly having to look down at the script - then you're just reading. You're not listening and you're not acting.

One of the biggest challenges with the audition is how to dress. You should dress similar to the type of character that you're going to be playing - but you certainly don't have to go out and rent a costume (if it's a period piece for example). Remember that you want to come across as yourself and natural in this role - you don't want to look like you're trying to hard. But, you also want to make sure that you make it as easy as possible for the casting people to see you in the role. And this brings up an important point.

Remember, the casting people are seeing many many people on the day (or days) of casting. They want you to be good. It is not like American Idol where they are going to ridicule you. They want you to shine - and they want YOU to be the one that they can go "whew, that's the one, I'm glad we found him/her". So, go in with confidence. Stretch out, warm up your body, warm up your vocal chords and relax. When you go in, they may or not be overly friendly.

Remember, as we said before, these folks have seen many people before you - and they're probably tired, and they're probably waiting for a good reading. So, be friendly - but don't be surprised if they just say Hello and ask you to start reading, or start your monologue. When you start - remember auditioning is performing and that's why you're an actor. You love and live to perform. And this is a chance to perform in front of an audience. This is why you're an actor. So, really enjoy it.

Once the audition is finished, thank them all and leave. Don't try to get into a conversation about a critique of your performance - unless the casting director asks you about it. You may have no idea about what they thought of your performance. So, discretion is the better part of valor here.

If you get lucky enough to be called back - you should wear the exact same outfit as you did the first time. Remember, they only sort of remember you - and now's not the time to try and look completely different. You should also make the same creative choices as you did the first time. Remember, they liked it. Don't try to blow them away with some new interpretation. But, this may be the time that they stop you mid-read and ask you to try it a different way. Remember, that this doesn't mean that they don't like you - they may see something special in you, but they have insight into the character that you don't.

You won't get every part - but as you audition more, you definitely will get more and more. And you'll start to master the art of the audition.

 
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The Actor's Life
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Los Angeles, CA