You’ve just exited an audition room. Maybe you’re feeling great—you delivered strong and clear choices, you capably incorporated feedback, and you got great vibes from the casting directors and creative team; good job! Or, maybe it was the worst audition of your life. Either way, what are you supposed to do now?
We’ve rounded up some tips to think about in the moments and days after a theater, film, TV, or other audition. Our Backstage Experts know a thing or two about what you’re going through; take a deep breath, follow the four pieces of advice below, and move onto the next audition!
1. Keep an audition diary.
“I’ve been an agent for over 10 years, and I’m still surprised that actors are so inept at keeping records. Just the other day, I asked a client if she had ever auditioned for a certain casting director. Her response was, ‘I’m not sure. I don’t think so. But it’s possible.’
“First, buy a cool little notebook that you can carry to auditions. It can be an expensive Moleskine journal or a cheap spiral notepad. It can also be a digital file that you keep on your device of choice. It doesn’t matter. I just want you to get in the habit of keeping records. Now I want you to create a one-page entry for every audition. The top half of the page should be devoted to details like the name of the project, the casting director, the type of part, and all the other specifics. The bottom half is even more important. That’s where you’ll write down your feelings about the audition and the casting director’s response. Make sure you do it immediately afterward, so your memory is fresh. This information will serve you well over a long period of time.”—Secret Agent Man
2. Don’t worry about mistakes—identify what to work on next time.
“After the audition, write down what happened in your audition diary, analyze it, learn from it, and move on! You are doing yourself a disservice by trying to figure out what was on the casting director or director’s mind, or if you’re getting a call back or even if you’ll get the job. It’s wasted energy. Just analyze how to better prepare yourself so you can figure out what you can do better at your next audition or congratulate yourself for a job well done. Try to remember: It’s not always about getting the job.... Use the audition to learn something for future auditions. For example: ‘I asked a question about whether I could move during the scene and that was well received and helped my audition.’ ”—John Essay
3. Send casting directors a thank you note.
“If it’s an email or a card, a short and sweet message of gratitude is always nice to receive. I am still a sucker for handwritten cards. If you feel like you’ve got a good read on what a casting director would like, choose a card that they might actually save. Years ago, an actor gave me a thank you card that I had on my bulletin board for the next two years because I loved the art and bright colors. We cast her in four projects during that time. Subliminal? Perhaps!
“But do not send a thank you with an ‘ask’ (unless absolutely necessary). The downside to email thank you notes is that I am more and more often asked for something...and often with a deadline. Yep, a deadline. Don’t be that guy. Go ahead, send a link to your reel or most recent short film, commercial, clips, etc., but please try to avoid asking for feedback, a quote for your website, a recommendation for representation, etc. When I have a good meeting with a potential client/producer, I follow up by thanking them for their time and consideration. An ask can come at a later time.... The bottom line is: Think of auditions as both an opportunity to perform and as a job interview. You wouldn’t make demands after either. Following up simply and professionally builds relationships.”—Brette Goldstein
4. Relax, focus on other aspects of life, and move on.
“Meet up with your believers. As tough as this town can be, everyone has friends who believe in them. Sometimes the best way to smooth out the rough feelings and rawness post-audition is to meet up for drinks or dinner with your friends who are also your fans. Here’s the trick: Don’t talk about the audition; don’t even talk about show business. Make the one stipulation of this hangout that no one can discuss anything industry-related. At first, you’ll find it’s a bit tricky, and you’ll instantly want to discuss the usual—acting class, auditions, the movie you saw last weekend. But when you force yourself out of these habits and you push each other to connect over the other aspects of your lives—yoga, her idiot boyfriend, your telepathic iguana, the new exhibit at MOCA (or MoMA), the new coffee joint with the hot cashiers— you’ll find yourself reacquainting with your lives outside of show business. This will be a refreshing moment, as at the end of the day, you’re a human being first and an actor second. And you’ll likely find that it helps to neutralize the sting of the post-audition waiting game.”—Joseph Pearlman
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.