4 valuable audition tips

Faceless cartoon figure entering a doorway

Well, I’m finally back to writing articles. Sorry I couldn’t the last couple months, hope you enjoyed the memes though. I’ve had fun writing instructional posts in the past and I think they’re good for both newbies and seasoned actors. So I thought I’d do one today! An audition can be daunting for both experienced and unexperienced actors. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget or not think about the things I’m listing here. But following these tips will help you be remembered and generally help you in the long run. The bottom line is, no matter what the situation is, no matter how eccentric you are (because let’s face it, if you’re an actor there’s a good chance you’re neurodivergent), professionalism is still key. No one is above it. So with that in mind, here are some tips and tricks for your audition. Oh, and remember…THE AUDITION IS NEVER OVER!

What not to wear

eyes, scared

::deep breath:: OK, I’m pretty much a tom boy, or basically I don’t wear formal clothes very often. But an audition should be treated like a job interview, whether or not the project pays. Even if you’re not making a living off of it, you still wanna be in the play, right? I’m not saying you need to dress like you’re applying for a job on Wall Street. (And who’d wanna do that?! But that’s a whole other conversation.) But you do need to look semi professional. So, an audition is NOT the place to wear a casual t shirt, or your favorite band shirt, or a Nike shirt, or anything with logos or words, or torn jeans, or something that’s highly revealing, and so on. Sounds like I’m exaggerating? I’m not. I’ve seen all of this. And let me tell you, when I attend an audition and I see other actors pull this crap, I make a mental note to not even consider them for a show I’d be directing in the future. Did I mention that THE AUDITION IS NEVER OVER?! And yes, I speak laid back and chill in this article and others–but that gets shut off in an audition. And by the way, I’m not the only person to operate this way. There was an audition in Portland for a group of companies and an actor walked in with a t shirt and torn jeans. Literally before he said or did anything one of the directors wrote in huge letters “NO” on his resume. Hate to be a killjoy, but yeah, you need to dress professional. And again, it doesn’t mean you have to wear a business suit, but just avoid things that are too casual. It’s a judgement call. Long sleeve shirt, decent looking sweater, corduroy pants or even black jeans is fine. Just don’t go in there looking like you don’t care.

Dress for the part… SORT OF.

Silhouette of business woman

OK, so what the hell does this mean, you ask? Well, let’s say I was auditioning for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I really wanted to play Titania. I’m thinking a long flowy skirt that I can freely move in, character shoes, and a colorful top, maybe even with sequins. But I wouldn’t go in there wearing wings or fairy make up. Just like if I went to an audition where I wanted to play a doctor, I’d probably dress in an outfit that’s somewhat business casual–but I wouldn’t go in wearing scrubs and a stethoscope. Make sense? You can’t go to an audition literally dressed like the part–but you can wear something that somewhat denotes the part you want to play. Think about the outfit I mentioned for Midsummer. When I auditioned for A Few Good Men with the hope of playing Joanne Galloway–a lawyer who’s also in the Navy–do you think I dressed like that? No. I wore black shoes, black slacks, a navy blue (no pun intended) shirt tucked in, and put my hair in a tight French braid. I wore make up, but it was modest. Mascara, no eye shadow. Etc. Stuff like this gives the director the impression of the part you wanna play, without outdoing it. And it tells them you take the audition seriously, and you’ve done at least some of your homework.

Walls have ears!!!

Whisper in ear

Since stuff comes in threes… I’m gonna say it again! THE AUDITION IS NEVER OVER! If you feel like talking shit or acting unprofessional in the audition room or anywhere in the theater, before you’re in front of the director… well, lemme put it this way: When you’re in the theater, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up this right, anything you say can and will get back to the director–and they’ll form the conclusion that you’re trouble, understand? 😀 Basically, if the stage manager or any other theater staff heard you pushing someone around, assume they’ll tell the casting person. So, when you enter that building, when you’re even in the vicinity, be yourself, have fun–but be polite and professional and follow instructions. And with that said, I should note that you should adhere to this advice not just because you hope to get a part, but also because it’s the right thing to do. Good manners and respect can often be forgotten in society and that’s sad.

Didn’t get the part? Send a thank you email.

keyboard

One time when I held auditions someone who didn’t get cast sent me an email thanking me for my time. Even seasoned theater people can learn new stuff, because I was experienced and I didn’t even know this was a thing. But it turns out that doing this can go a long way. It keeps your foot in the door, it tells directors you can handle disappointment–something you’ll very much needed in theater–and it helps them remember you. In fact, while you’re sending the email, include your headshot and resume. If a director didn’t cast you in something, don’t think that means they won’t consider you for something else. I have for many projects as a director.

Emoji with top hat and sunglasses, shrugging

And speaking of learning new things, this list certainly doesn’t cover every aspect of auditioning. But it’s a good start. Break a leg!

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