15 Things to Always Keep in Your Bag During Auditions

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You have a busy day of auditions ahead of you and for whatever reason, find yourself running late. You get to your first audition, then suddenly realize you forgot to bring something you really need. Instead of feeling calm, confident, and ready, you end up feeling stressed, uncertain, and unprepared. Not the best way to start an audition, am I right?

Since I’ve had this experience on more than one occasion, I finally got organized and wrote out a list of things I want to have on hand. Now I have a bag I use specifically for auditions and keep it stocked so it’s always ready for me to grab on my way out the door. Here’s a peek at what’s in my bag. Maybe it’ll inspire your audition bag choices!

1. Water
You don’t want to be waiting to audition and suddenly feel parched with no place to get water. Instead of buying bottled water, I suggest getting a refillable water bottle and filling it up the night before. Saves money and the planet!

2. Snacks
I always make sure I have something healthy to nosh on if I start feeling peckish. (Oh, let’s face it, I’m always feeling peckish!) I pack a small baggie with some raw almonds and raisins because they’re easily portable and have a pretty good shelf life.

3. Dental Floss + Toothbrush + Toothpaste
You don’t want to worry about having food between your teeth after eating your snack.

4. Headshot + Résumé
Yes, I know the traditional paper headshot and résumé is becoming a thing of the past, especially for TV, film, and commercial auditions. But I still make sure to always store a few in my bag. That’s because the one time I didn’t bother to replenish my stash, a casting director asked for the paper version. Talk about feeling unprepared!

5. Highlighter or Pencil
If you’re handed sides for a last-minute cold read, you’ll be so glad you have these tools with you.

6. Makeup
This one is not just for the ladies. Even men auditioning for on-camera work should at least bring powder or rice paper to take care of a shiny nose and forehead.

7. Brush, Hair Ties + Hairspray
It’s always a good idea to bring hair ties if you have long hair, especially for commercial auditions.

8. Tissues
Speaking from experience, if you suddenly need to blow your nose in the waiting room you’ll be glad you have these handy.

9. Mints
These are great if nerves give you a dry mouth or if you have a chemistry read with someone. Be kind to your colleagues!

10. Hand Lotion
I always carry a small tube of this in my bag, especially for commercial auditions. They often want to see a close up of your hands, so I put some on right before I go in.

11. Phone Charger
If you’re like most people, your phone is your lifeline. Don’t be caught without a charger and with no way of seeing the address of your next appointment!

12. Business Cards
You never know who you’ll meet, so these are a great way to exchange info at a moment’s notice.

13. Comfortable Shoes
This one is mainly for the ladies, especially in NYC. There’s a lot of walking to get to and from your audition, so make sure you have comfy shoes to change into when your feet get tired.

14. Tide Stain Stick
This is a new addition to my bag. Better safe than sorry!

15. Thank-you Notes, Pen + Stamps
If you like to send thank you notes after auditions, why not bring these with you so you can write them out and mail them while the experience is fresh in your mind?

Use this list as a starting point and customize it to fit your own needs. Designate a bag as your audition bag and keep it stocked with your essential audition tools. Now you’ll always be prepared at a moment’s notice!

What’s your must-have at auditions? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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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.

Amy Russ
Actor and web designer Amy Russ helps actors showcase their cast-ability, personality, and professionalism with simple, effective, and affordable websites. She is also an actor who has been working in TV, film, and theater for years.
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