Being an actor is a lot like being a temp worker. Each and every job an actor lands is only for prescribed amount of time and every actor hopes to snag the ‘big one’. To that end, actors are continually going on an endless string of auditions. Oh the nerve-racking, sweat-inducing, pulse racing audition – love ’em or hate ’em you gotta nail ’em!
You’d be amazed at some of the things I’ve seen during auditions. Casting directors can be quite intimidating and they aren’t your friend. They see hoards of actors and they don’t remember 99% of them. Word of advice…make your audition count. Here are the 5 MUST do items to make your audition worthwhile:
1. Be Prepared
Sounds easy right? You’d be surprised how many actors I see at auditions that are still memorizing scripts and/or working out the kinks. Typically an actor has 2 or 3 days to prepare for an audition. That’s more than enough time to memorize a scene and get it in good shape. It might not be perfect but it needs to be workable BEFORE you get in front of the casting director for your screen test. If you need to pull an all nighter in order to figure out the scene, then by all means pull an all nighter – you’ve only got one chance to make your impression so do whatever it takes.
2. Be Professional
Most people wouldn’t consider going to a job interview without a resume and a list of references. However, actors aren’t most people and we can be a little weird. I’ve seen my fair share of actors come to auditions without anything to present to the director. Really? Yeah, that’s gonna go over well… (insert you’re own NOT! here) So what should you bring? If you need to ask, you’re not ready to audition, but here’s the standard list: current resume, head shots, business cards, and references.
3. Be a Warrior
At most auditions you’ll be competing with at least a 5 other actors and it could be as many as 5,000 actors. Sounds daunting right? It is! The other actors at your audition are not your friend. They are there to steal your role, squash your dreams, and make sure you never work again. Don’t let them. You know what you need to do. You’ve stayed up all night, you’ve got your scene perfected, you’ve got adrenaline coursing through you like tiger blood coursing through Charlie Sheen – now bring it! The audition is not the time to be timid, fearful, shy, bashful, or a pansy. It’s your time to SHINE! Be the actor you were meant to be and leave nothing out. As they say, ‘Go Big or Go Home’ – in Hollyweird this couldn’t be more true.
4. Be Ready for Anything
I’ve auditioned for some great directors. Unfortunately, I’ve also auditioned for some cooks who had no idea what they were doing. With that being said, you never know what a director or a casting director is going to throw at you. Perhaps my hardest audition came from one of the aforementioned ‘cooks’ who would yell instructions at me every 30 seconds and expect me to run the full range of emotions at the drop of a hat. I went from happy to tearful to overjoyed to terrified all in 90 seconds flat. The audition literally wore me out and drained me emotionally. But that’s the price you pay so be prepared for it.
5. Never Give Up
You may not (and often don’t) get the role you auditioned for. But if you’ve done your job then you’ve made an impression and you’ll be rewarded for it. Casting directors are a tight-knit group and they like to share stories with one another. Believe me if you’ve made your mark…word will travel. There have been several occasions where I’ve been contacted by a director who told me they’ve been referred by another director. Why? Because I made my mark! For one reason or another, I didn’t get the original role I auditioned for, but weeks later I find out that I made an impression and end-up landing another role. That’s how the biz works sometimes…you have to roll with it and never give up.
While these 5 tips are just the beginning, they should help you as you go out and fight for your living. Always be prepared, be professional, be a warrior, be ready for anything, and never never never give up. Now get out there and nail it – unless you’re auditioning against me (in that case forget everything I just said). SHINE ON!
To stay up-to-date on the film and TV projects be sure to follow me on Facebook: HERE – I post information about local shoots and casting calls. – Ryan