Auditions + Callbacks

Auditioning: What to Read

The material you read in an audition affects the impression you make. Use material that is representative of you, in terms of both age and type, and that will make you look your best. Concentration is key during the reading phase of the interview. Some general auditions ask for a classical and a modern piece. It's best to have two of each in case you are asked to perform another. If you audition a lot, it's a good idea to vary your monologue readings. This keeps you fresh when you perform, and your lively performance may very well result in a callback.

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Auditioning: What to Wear

When dressing for an audition, consider first the role you're auditioning for. You don't have to arrive at the audition in full costume, but do dress with the essence of the character. Here are a few examples of roles and appropriate audition-wear:

Young Mother/Father: Twin set and slacks or a skirt for women; slacks and a nice shirt or sweater for a man.

Businessperson: Suit and/or at least a sport coat over slacks. Women can wear skirt suits and/or slacks.

Non-descript/General: Wear your normal street clothes, but steer away from anything too trendy.

If your audition is a screen test, steer clear of wearing white, as it washes out your skin color and doesn't read well on screen. The best color to wear for screen is a medium blue (like a deep periwinkle). Remember the audition is to showcase your acting talent, not your wardrobe!

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Don't Sweat Cold Reads!

Cold read. Sounds scary, huh? Actually, cold reads can be a lot of fun.

A cold read is when you are handed a script and asked to perform a scene. This is often done in lieu or in conjunction with monologues as part of your audition. Many actors fear this type of audition because they feel they do not have time to prepare. Of course, there are ways to prepare for these types of auditions.

If you already know the piece you're auditioning from, try to find a copy of it and read the entire piece. If you're auditioning from an unproduced script, your auditor will most likely give you a brief background of your character. Overall, don't sweat it. Have fun. Play! Cold reads can often be thrilling experiences, as you don't run the risk of being over-prepared or burned out from over-read monologues.

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Giving Professional Auditions

If you only learn one thing about auditions, remember this: Professionalism goes a long way.

It's not just about looking professional, it's about acting that way. Be prompt and courteous during your auditions. Take as little of the auditors' time as necessary. If you receive a callback, be sure you are available for rehearsal and/or shooting dates. You don't want to waste the director's time by auditioning even though you already know you have conflicts. If you do not receive a part, do not call the theater/production house/etc. Chalk it up as a role that was not for you and move on. (There will be a lot of them in your career, so get used to it.)

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Improving Your Auditions

If you have had a bad experience with an auditor, when do you know it is acceptable to meet him/her again? In smaller cities, this can come up more often than you might think. New York actors, for example, don't have as much concern about this unless they are returning to the same casting directors over and over again.

In short, you should only return to that auditor if you have shown improvement in your craft -- either through additional training or additional acting experience. If the auditor previously offered any feedback, show that you have taken his/her advice and incorporated it in to your acting. Don't tell them that you have improved; show them! You should be able to demonstrate stronger acting skills since your last meeting.

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Research Before Your Audition

Before you enter an audition, make sure that you are as informed as possible. Whenever possible, make it your business to get to know as much as possible about the director and his or her previous work. Similarly, knowing about your casting director can help you understand the way s/he works in an audition scenario.

If you are attending an open audition – where casting is open to anyone who wishes to try out – think of the audition in terms of your past and future work. Be sure that you are of similar type to the part that you are auditioning for. Some directors like to ask you about the piece as a whole, so if possible, read the entire script -- not just your part -- so that you are able to discuss it comfortably.

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The Audition Slump

We all have them. One month you're auditioning like gangbusters and then...nothing. No one's calling; no roles seem to be right for you. Or worse, the few auditions you get seems to end terribly. You're just not on your game.

Don't panic if you find yourself in an auditioning slump; after you have found what works to land a few roles, your auditioning can become mechanical, leading to a slump. Get back in the game by focusing your training regimen and attacking each new audition. Slumps can also result from disillusion with the auditioning process. When this happens, it is best to take a week or two off to refocus other aspects of your life before returning to acting.

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