Q: Aside from strong acting, is there a trick to standing out in an audition? What do casting directors look for? —Fran R., New York
One of the first things actors ask me is how they can stand out in an audition. The truth? There’s not one specific answer to the question. If there were, don’t you think all actors would follow that advice?
That said, I can offer some pointers on what to do in an audition to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, which will get you one step closer to standing out:
Be prepared. Casting directors know when auditions are given last minute and actors don’t have much time with sides. They don’t need to be reminded that you “got this really late” and you “didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.” What they do want to see is that you have done your best to be as prepared as possible.
That means having a general idea of the material so that your eyes aren’t stuck on the paper, knowing what’s happening in the scene, and knowing what the words you are saying mean.
Be professional. Make sure that the moment you enter the building, you’re “on.” That means putting your phone on silent, being kind and respectful to everyone (staff and other actors or parents in the waiting room), not wandering through the office or set (follow the signs!), and keeping to yourself.
Focus on the audition ahead of you, practice your sides, and wait until your name is called. And be sure to have a headshot and résumé on you in case the CD wants either.
Make a choice. This sounds vague, but the truth is it’s necessary! CDs go through hundreds of actors for any given role, and if all you’re doing is reading the scene and not making it your own, you won’t stand out. Obviously, we would love for the choice you make to be correct for the scene, but CDs have imagination, and if you make an impression, we can work with you to steer you the right way.
Enjoy the process. A positive, happy actor will always leave a better impression.
Dana Bowling is a casting director, audition coach, and actor career consultant with 15 years of casting and representation background. She has cast dozens of shows, taught hundreds of classes and continues to work one-on-one with actors, helping them take control of their acting careers and give their best auditions. Find out more at www.danabowling.com.
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