These 8 Quick Tips Will Ensure Audition Success

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This week, we’re going back to audition basics with our guide for everyone you need to know in the audition process. Of course, there’s a ton of information out there on the subject worth reading (and you should read it; check out Backstage’s audition archives!). But you’re an actor on the go and if you’ve only got a few subway stops-worth of free time or a spare moment in the waiting room, check out this cheat sheet for eight vital auditioning tricks.

Thoroughly understand the material.
“Know your words and understand what you’re talking about. Make them your very own. You don’t have to be totally off-book, but if you’ve spent quality time with the material, you’re going to know it.” —Risa Bramon García, Backstage Expert and co-runner of Studio for Actors in Los Angeles

Your decorum matters—a lot.
“Just as it’s important to walk in with confidence and say a quick hello to all the people in the room, it’s also equally important to not walk in with this sense of desperation that you have to win over everyone in the room at the first moment. This often manifests as actors being overly chatty in the room, cracking too many jokes, and awkwardly putting out the vibe of please like me. If you walk in with confidence, then you know that they already like you. Furthermore, some casting directors find that an actor who is too talkative at the top of an audition might be too talkative on set.” —Joseph Pearlman, acting coach and Backstage Expert

Less really can be more.
“With an earnest zeal to impress, many actors simply go overboard and over the top with their auditions. They don’t realize the power of ‘less is more’—the main theme I am addressing here. This concept of ‘less is more applies to any audition, whether it is for film, TV, stage, dance, etc.” —Duncan Stewart, casting director, owner/partner of Stewart/Whitley in NYC, and Backstage Expert

The team will know if you aren’t properly concentrating.
“Take a breath before you begin the scene. Quiet your mind and concentrate on the moment before. This involves total emotional and physical commitment, to the character, to the words, the thoughts, and being totally prepared. It’s not enough to just know the lines, you have to live them, and understand what’s behind the lines. If you are worried about what people are thinking, or your next line, then you are not fully in the scene. Find a way to disappear into this world and make the reader the most important person in the room, so there isn’t even room for you to be thinking about anything else. You have to be true to the emotions, and personalize them, so that your eyes, voice, and body are reflecting those feelings.” —Matt Newton, Backstage Expert

You still get to be you.
“If you’re an actor, you probably have a strong belief that you have a singular voice—a point of view that’s informed by the experiences of your life that is different from anyone else’s and needs to be shared. OK, here’s an audition…put up or shut up! Because, believe it or not, a film/TV audition is your absolute best chance to satisfy that need. Casting has ideas of what they want for the role, but the very fact that there’s a session taking place means that they still have questions—questions that you can answer by showing them who you are and what you have to add to the role. And what do you have to add that no one else does? Yourself. You are the game-changing difference that you’ve been searching for all this time.” —Craig Wallace, acting teacher and Backstage Expert

Do not loiter in the room.
“When you’re done, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask if the casting director has any notes. If the answer is yes, listen carefully and make the adjustment. If the answer is no, say “Thank you” and get the hell out. The audition is over. This is not the time to make small talk or hand out fliers for your next play.” —Secret Agent Man

Don’t be afraid to tread new ground.
“Successful actors do not use the audition opportunity to flex his or her acting expertise. The aim is to explore character inventiveness and originality.” —Greg Apps, casting director and Backstage Expert

A connection with the reader is key.
“Connection Make one with the reader. Memorize the material or be familiar enough with it to maintain eye contact. Knowing the dialogue is important, but making a connection with the reader is what will make the scene natural and believable.” —Denise Simon, acting coach, career consultant, and Backstage Expert

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