9 Preparation Tips to Help Deliver Your Best Commercial Audition

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When you arrive at your audition, enter the waiting area and start to prepare for your audition. If you don’t know how to “be” and what to do in that war zone, then your audition prep could be less effective then you are cable of. Waiting with a dozen actors for an hour or being rushed in with little or no preparation and/or sometimes getting very little or confusing direction can be frustrating and is not helpful for actors to do their best. Here are some tips that can help to feel confident, prepared and empowered during your next commercial audition.

Arrive early. Never be late. And being on time—which most actors want to do—doesn’t give you time to get focused and prepared if the session is running on schedule.

Ask questions. If you don’t understand something after you read the script and/or get direction, ask the casting assistant in the waiting area. This way you can get the most from your preparation. It is better to ask questions before rehearsing than to get corrections in the audition.

For example: Find out the “tone.” Every commercial has a style or “tone” that should be helpful if you know it when preparing: natural, underplayed, over the top, fun, etc.

Do your preparation. Whether you get your copy ahead of time or right before the audition, take the time needed for to truly prepare—investigate, motivate, and find your connection and interpretation.

Work on several interpretations. Having only one interpretation can be problematic and shallow. If the session runner wants something different, it can be hard to change the one you have locked in. And, if asked to do the copy or scenario a second or third way, you probably won’t be flexible enough to do it well.

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When preparing dialogue, rehearse in a full voice. Find a quiet place to rehearse. The first time you speak in a full voice shouldn’t be when you are doing your audition.

Rehearse with your partner. When you are doing scene auditions, rehearsing is especially valuable when auditioning with children. If there is no dialogue, spend time getting comfortable with your partner(s).

Don’t make yourself nervous. After you have done thorough preparation and while you wait, don’t continually run your lines and review your choices—neither out loud or in your head. It’s been my experience that when actors do this, they create anxiety and make themselves insecure. How you deal with your “what ifs” and concerns will determine how much power those thoughts have. What you think influences how you feel, and how you feel impacts your audition. Don’t focus on disempowering thoughts. And don’t let the frustration of having to wait negatively affect your mood, energy, or mindset.

Stay focused on the work. Do whatever works to keep you focused, confident, and positive whether it be meditating, sitting quietly, reading, laughing, walking around by yourself, etc. Don’t chat with other actors unless rehearsing or getting comfortable with those whom you will be auditioning.

Energize and commit. When you know that you will be next, review your choices, lines, objectives, motivations, etc., but only once or twice. Energize yourself and prepare to commit to your choices and instincts and to enjoy the audition. It’s your time to be an actor.

For insider tips from those who run the casting session check out my FREE video, Master Talent Teacher’s Insider Tips for the Audition Waiting Room.

Looking to get cast? Apply to casting calls on Backstage.

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.

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Carolyne Barry
Carolyne Barry was a casting director, working actor, and director considered by agents, casting directors, and students to be the best commercial audition acting coach in Los Angeles.
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