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Forget Acting, Teach Me How To Audition!

I’ve only been taking Audition Technique for a little over a month, but I can already tell that this surprisingly specific training is truly going to make the difference between getting the job and not getting the job. Many young actors don’t realize that the actor’s real work is the audition; I’ve been told that quite possibly 80% of my time and effort will be spent either trying to get auditions (or an agent and manager who can get them for me), preparing for said auditions and then, of course, going and coming from auditions.  I might get to spend about 5% of my time on an actual set, if my cards/the stars are played right/aligned.  Then, of course, my remaining 15% of  time should be spent on more training and networking…but will probably be spent either watching entire seasons of HBO shows and/or playing Frontierville. (At least I’ll have control over something, am I right? Ha, ha…sigh.)

Although many things go into a great audition, I compiled a few fail-safe gems of knowledge that all actors need to know before entering that audition room- and all of them have absolutely nothing to do with acting. Auditioning is a craft of it own; and when you can couple that with openness, availability and good acting technique, well then, gee, you’re halfway there!

1. Say hello when you enter the room like a normal human being. Be friendly and confident. Avoid awkward and creepy.

2. Even though your mother raised you well, don’t shake the casting director’s hand.  Whether you’ve had to shake 100 hands, or you’re the 100th hand to be shaken, it’s gross and should be avoided at all costs.

3. Play to the Reader or your scene partner, not the camera. This isn’t QVC.

4. Keep your eyes up and off of the page. Get the lines you need, then deliver them in a focused and connected manner.  You won’t be hired because you’re a good READER, you’ll be hired because you are a good ACTOR.

5. Learn to become comfortable with the script. Refrain from holding it in front of your face. Hold it at chest level at a comfortable arms length and make it an extention of yourself.

6. Always be you. It’s just easier.

You’d be surprised at how many actors take these for granted, or don’t even know to do them at all. They really do make a world of difference, and free you up to be even more expressive and honest to the story of the scene.


1 Los Angeles Nissan { 12.19.10 at 4:27 am }

I live in So Cal and at one point in time had aspirations of becoming an actress. One really interesting book I read was “How To Get The Part Without Falling Apart” by Margie Haber. The audition process is so crucial that there are plenty of audition classes and cold reading classes in L.A. I think that’s probably one of the FIRST classes most actors learn here, cold reading. They tend to learn it before technique actually. A large part of it is about being likeable… Building a connection with the casting director.

2 Monique Renee Moses { 12.19.10 at 11:56 am }

Thank you for your tips, L.A.N!

It’s really interesting to hear how auditions are viewed/prepared for on the west coast- since so many of the students here plan to be LA bound once we graduate.

“How To Get The Part” is actually part of the curriculum for my audition class, along with the bible for auditioning, Michael Shurtleff’s Audition. Those 12 guideposts are the greatest things ever!

Now preparing for an audition scene has become as involving as baking a 12 layer cake or solving a puzzle- and the craft of auditioning isn’t just scary anymore but really interesting and full of surprises!

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Thank you for the tips. This is a big help to the people who would like to audition.

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9 Jennifer { 04.02.11 at 1:50 pm }

Great tips. I think people act awkward in cases like that.

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15 david henry { 06.21.11 at 11:06 am }

Great tips thanks for sharing them, when is you next post, I see you didnt post for a couple of months?

16 Imprenta online { 07.04.11 at 12:23 pm }

Nice article! Interesting read.

17 power of attorney { 07.27.11 at 10:42 am }

Hi! Thank you for the tips on auditioning! They’re very good! Most people write about acting but you are the first one I’ve seen that wrote about auditioning. If we don’t get past the audition, we’re not going to become actors now are we?

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25 Jael { 08.22.11 at 7:18 pm }

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26 Los Angeles acting classes for film and TV { 09.18.11 at 10:02 pm }

Yeah – learning to react in the room, take direction, read with non-actors, etc etc. It’s all stuff you need to be able to roll with. The best thing I’ve learned is that you CAN take a moment to gather yourself after you get redirected or whatever…. take 30 seconds – 1 minute – and then do the scene again. take your time!

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