13 Essential Items to Bring to Every Audition

As an actor, you are constantly zipping around town between auditions, meetings, jobs, classes, and shows. Each day is different, and your lifestyle will always be full of last minute surprises. It’s important that you expect the unexpected! Here are some essential items to have with you, for both your audition days and your on-set days.

The Audition Tote Bag
1. Protein bar/snacks. You never know how long you might be in that waiting room, and auditioning on an empty stomach is the worst, so be sure to always have a snack with you. Better yet, a cooler with actual meals in it to keep in your car.
2. Water. Water not only keeps you hydrated, but is great for your voice and vocal cords, which is, in large part, what you are selling!
3. Extra headshots/résumés. You never know when you are going to get a same-day, last-minute casting call and you are 45 minutes from home. It happens. Keep extra headshots/résumés in your car and in your tote bag at all times.
4. Business cards. Carry these with you everywhere.
5. Pencils/highlighters/notebook. Have these in your bag especially for cold-read auditions. You often have enough time with your script to highlight your lines and make some notes.
6. Thumb drives with your demo reel and materials. This is a great way to give your demo reel and headshots to anyone who may ask.
7. Dry shampoo. For those extra long days, ladies, dry shampoo really will keep your hair looking fresh and bouncy. It’s the quickest way to freshen up your hair on the go.
8. Deodorant. You never know when you’ll need it. Perhaps after a very physical or dance audition. You may not always have nearby place to immediately shower before the next audition, social gathering, class, or job.
9. Make up. For touchups.
10. Bobby pins/hair brush/hairspray. For hairstyle changes and for touchups!
11. Headphones/earbuds. These are life-changing for the audition waiting room. You can listen to music that helps to get you into character. Or, you don’t have to listen to anything at all! But, by having them in, others in the waiting room are less likely to distract you as you prepare to audition.
12. Changes of clothing. In Los Angeles, there can be huge temperature changes from midday to night. Bringing a change of clothing can be essential. Also, different characters call for different wardrobe, so if you have multiple auditions, you may want to consider bringing along multiple outfits.
13. A script or book for the waiting room. Stay productive while you wait!

The On-Set Tote Bag
1. Protein bars/snacks. You never know what craft services will be offering. Be sure to bring your own snacks—especially if you have any food allergies.
2. Food, if you have any allergies. Even if you notify production of your food allergies, you just never know. So bringing a small cooler with lunch is always a great idea.
3. Water. Stay hydrated!
4. Makeup. Often, especially on nonunion sets, you could be expected to do your own makeup. (Pro tip: If you don’t know how to do your own natural makeup for camera, sign up for a lesson at a makeup store, such as the MAC store. It’s worth the investment.)
5. Hairspray/bobby pins/brush. Just in case!
6. Large hot rollers. Ladies, if you have long or very straight hair, use large hot rollers to “set” your hair while you are waiting to go into hair and makeup. It will make your hair much easier to work with. You can always check with the hair stylist first to make sure this won’t conflict with his/her plans for you, but usually, setting your hair in hot rollers is a great idea.
7. Spray deodorant. You are spending long (potentially hot) days in close proximity to others. Be prepared!
8. Robe. Bring this to wear during meals or downtime when you are asked to remove or cover up your wardrobe.
9. Small sewing kit with tiny scissors. Bring this, especially if you are on a smaller set without a designated wardrobe person.
10. Safety pins. Always!
11. Flesh-colored undergarments. In case you are given light-colored wardrobe to wear.
12. Flesh-colored panty hose. Ladies: just in case!
13. Sunscreen. Even if it looks cloudy outside.
14. Your own copy of the script. Preferably printed out, and not on your laptop.
15. Pens/pencils/highlighters. For your script, for signing in and out, etc.
16. A good book. For down time!
17. Comfortable shoes. For down time. Ladies: You don’t want to be wearing those three-inch heels all day.
18. Toothpaste/toothpaste for getting stubborn food out of your teeth. This is also great for keeping your breath fresh for scenes. Breath mints, too!

It’s always great to be prepared for those unexpected moments on set or on the audition route. Have fun as you navigate the exciting twists and turns of your career!

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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.

Mae Ross
Mae Ross is the Owner/ Director of L.A.’s highly acclaimed actor training center, 3-2-1 Acting Studios. Her leadership has garnered 3-2-1 consistent recognition as Hollywood's premier on-camera acting school for kids, teens, and adults. She has launched hundreds of successful acting careers with her expert on-camera coaching and professional guidance.
See full bio and articles here!

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