Taming the Animal That is Auditioning

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Auditioning is a separate animal from acting. Acting is what you get to do once you get the part. Auditioning is something else entirely.

If you enter an audition thinking of it more as a first rehearsal rather than as an opening-night performance, you will be doing yourself a much greater service. “Nailing it” in an audition is virtually impossible. The sooner you let go of that insurmountable responsibility, the better. Doing your absolute best is the most you can ever hope for. There are no critics in the room reviewing your performance.

Regardless, the casting director really only wants one thing: for you to do well. We are always on your side. We want you to get the part. Sadly, auditioning cannot be taught. If you audition only rarely, each time will feel like a do-or-die, make-or-break situation. Under these kinds of conditions, it’s no wonder actors become so undone.

The only way to get better at it is to do it, as much and as often as possible. Union-nonunion low-budget independent films. Web series. Regional theater companies. EPAs. Workshops. Whatever! The more you do it, the easier it gets. You become “desensitized” to the process, and it truly becomes something you look forward to doing rather than dreading. Imagine how much more fun auditions will be if they’re not fraught with all the anxiety that often comes with them?

Todd Thaler is a casting director, acting teacher, and private audition coach. He is on faculty at the Atlantic Theater School. Visit toddthaler.com or follow him on Twitter @toddthaler.