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The Craft

Look to Express in an Audition, Not Impress

Look to Express in an Audition, Not Impress
Photo Source: Pak Han Poto
We place incredible pressure on ourselves in the audition room.

Remember when we get the gig and arrive for our first day of rehearsal? We're not overly concerned about what anybody thinks, at least not in the same way we are in our auditions. Right? Wouldn't it be cool if we could walk into the audition room in a place of play, non-judgment, and exploration, like in rehearsal? We're daring in rehearsal. We show up for ourselves. We allow our vulnerability. So how do we bring this to our audition process consistently?

It's an inside job. Instead of attempting to impress the table, why not start expressing who you are?

When we walk into the audition to impress, we've shifted our focus onto the table when it ought to be on our journey through someone else's language. Remember, we did not write these lyrics, these stories. Yet we must inhabit them as though they are growing out of us in the moment, and based on the event, the circumstances, the want, the relationship -- all those essentials. Instead of focusing on our internal connection to someone else's words, we focus on impressing the table with our acting and vocal power. Details on this in my upcoming book, being published in 2013.

One of the tools we employ at Kimberly Vaughn Performance Studio is translating lyrics and dialogue to make them our own. This may seem elementary or too complicated or unnecessary; those opinions keep us from doing the essential work to help ensure the callback. How do we create truthful, believable moment-to-moment storytelling when we do not speak in the vernacular of the writer? Even if it's colloquial, we must translate each thought into our own way of speaking to fully inhabit the story. Then magic happens between us and the table. This "magic" is our human being-ness breathing the life of our truth and our essence into the words and allowing them to live through us! When we are invested in this process there is no time to focus on how we are doing and what the table is thinking. We are working from an internal place, expressing who we are. This allows the casting directors to get to know us.

Why walk into the room to impress anybody? Why not walk into the room to allow, share, play, trust, to be in the moment? Dare to be a human being, not a human showing or doing. Dare to inhabit your stories and make them your own so that a human exchange happens between you and the table. When that happens, a callback will be a more likely result. I invite you to translate your lyrics and sides and thereby truly bring your personal presence into your auditions. To your success!

Kimberly Vaughn is a Broadway performance coach, director, dramaturge, writer, Tony Award-nominated producer, and performer. On the faculty of Circle in the Square, Vaughn has taught for The Network and Actors Connection.

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