Previously, I introduced you to the 13 steps I take before every on-camera audition. Here, I’m sharing the 20 things I do during and after an audition to ensure that I am as ready as possible to land the role.
1. Be prepared.
Be off-book if possible. Know your lines and the context of the scene. Prep the scene by breaking it down.
2. Arrive early.
Get to the audition at least 30 minutes early so you can park, find the room, etc. Traffic sucks in L.A. so plan accordingly. That said, don’t enter the office until 15 minutes before your audition time unless it’s an open window and the audition time is flexible. Casting doesn’t want you hanging around in their waiting rooms.
3. Be quiet.
Don’t talk to others in the waiting room, except for maybe a smile and a “hello.” You have a job to do. Money is on the line. Stay focused and let others focus. Casting takes note of how people act in the waiting room, so show them you’re a pro.
4. Think positively.
Don’t let negative thoughts get into your head. Train yourself to only think positive thoughts the day of your audition. From the moment you wake up, get your mind right.
5. Power pose.
Before entering the room, stand in a power pose and breathe deeply and calmly for at least one minute. I do this every time I’m “on deck” and it has been a game changer for me.
6. Enter the room.
Smile. Say hi. Don’t shake hands. Ask where you can put your bags. You did your homework so you know CD and assistant’s name, but ask the reader’s name if it’s not offered. Say hi to the reader and look them in the eye—they can make or break your audition.
7. Prepare a fun tidbit.
Have a non-work, non-traffic, non-negative, non-complaining something to say if the CD asks about you. It should be funny or interesting, short, true, and relatable. (ex. CD: “How are you?” You: “Great! I’m planning a trip to Europe and I’m excited about seeing the Swiss Alps again!”) Do not offer your tidbit if they don’t ask or seem in the mood—read the room.
8. Ask questions.
If the CDs ask if you have questions, this is your chance to ask about things you’re not clear on in the script: pronunciation of a name or something unclear about a place, how to pronounce a sci-fi word, etc. Do not ask a question that would have been answered had you done the homework above. You can also ask what your frame is and whether you can move about the room.
READ: How to Become a TV Actor
9. Listen to instructions.
While you’re listening, note where the camera is and where the reader is in relation to the camera. Ask for clarification if necessary.
10. Know that casting wants you to be The One.
They would love it if you were super-prepared, awesome, and right for the job. Have the mindset that you’re there to solve their casting problem. Don’t be arrogant or cocky; just be confident in your work, who you are, and what you can bring to the production.
11. Own the room.
Control what you can control. The directors, producers, and network will either like you or not. If you do the prep and do your best in the audition for the choices you made, you have done all that’s within your control. You’ll never know why they went another way so be grateful for the opportunity, no matter what.
12. Listen to the reader.
During the scene, listen when the reader delivers their lines. Don’t just wait to give your lines—your eyes will be dead. Good reader or bad, you still have to actively listen and respond with your dialogue. Stay in the scene. Make it the best you can.
13. Bask in the redirects.
If you’re blessed with a redirect by the CD, revel in it! This means they like you are willing to give you another opportunity to show your skills. Clarify the instructions if necessary, take a short moment to think through what they want, and then give them what they ask for.
You must have an attitude of play. Be professional and don’t waste people’s time and money, but as an actor, you have to be able to open yourself up to every emotion and play. Improv classes will help you learn to be open and release that inner child.
15. Don’t stop.
Don’t stop in the middle of your scene if you screw up. Train yourself to move through it. Don’t apologize, just plow on. If you really blank, stay in the scene, use your script to recover, keep moving.
16. Wait for “cut.”
Don’t come out of character until they say “cut.” (They may want a few seconds of reaction from you when the scene is done.) Some CDs don’t say “cut” but make sure you stay in the scene for at least a few seconds before dropping out of character.
17. Exit like a pro.
Thank the CD and reader, get your stuff and leave with a positive attitude. Pat yourself on the back and keep your head held high, no matter what happened in the room. If something didn’t go your way, quickly evaluate what you can differently next time, and then forget about the audition. Seriously.
18. Say your thank yous.
Send a thank you message to your agent and manager. Let them know how the audition went. They want to know, even if they don’t respond. Also, send a thank you card to the CDs. Of the thousands of people they could have brought in, they gave you the opportunity. Be grateful.
19. Do something nice for yourself.
Take a walk, go to the museum, work out, grab a favorite coffee/tea, call a friend, see a movie, go to the beach. You beat the odds just by nabbing the audition. Celebrate!
20. Never stop learning.
Keep studying, taking classes, reading, practicing, talking to other actors about techniques, sharing, observing, supporting other actors, and be ready for the next opportunity to play in the room!
*This post was originally published on Jan. 17, 2019. It has since been updated.
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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.