Thursday, 20 October 2011

How to nail auditions. Tips and tricks

I had an audition today and I left feeling great afterwards. A success in itself. Many of my acting teachers and mentors have said this "Auditioning is not acting". As a professional actor I now know what they mean. You can be an amazing actor and still fail auditions. But until you get a name for yourself in the business you will have to learn how to at least bear auditions. I have complied a list of tips based on what I have learned.

Tips for a successful audition:

First let’s start by defining a good audition. A good audition might not get you the part you are auditioning for but it will showcase your best side to the casting panel and build your reputation as an actor and keep you in their minds when they are casting their next production. 

Representation: These days even getting the auditions to go to is a hurdle in itself. Acquiring an agent is the best thing you can do for your career. You already have someone who vouches for your talent without you having to say a word. A lot of auditions aren't publicly advertised and stay within industry professionals i.e director and casting agents tell agents what they are looking for and the agents produce actors for the auditions.

Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse! Every audition is different. Some casting panels will talk to you a lot, some hardly at all. Your best bet is to know your audition speeches as well as you can. Unless auditions are sprung up on you at the last minute which sadly for actors happen a lot. This is why you should have a back up monologue in your repertoire instead of just relying on what they have asked you to prepare. Being prepared will build your confidence which is essential to giving a good performance.

Know your weaknesses and strengths. I know my eyes have a tendency to wander especially when I am nervous in an audition. In preparation for auditions I have repeated my monologues in front of mirrors and chosen spots on walls to concentrate. Now whenever I go for an audition I choose a spot to do my monologue to which is near the audition panel but right in their eyes as no one likes to be eyeballed. I also know my strength is my big eyes which are able to express a lot without me even having to say anything. Camera auditions are the chance for me to get the big guns out.

Listen like a hawk to what the audition panel is saying. When the audition panel give you tips on how to do your speech treat it as gold dust. They might have an idea how they want the part to be played and want to see how suitable you would be. Ignoring these will be fatal to your audition. You might not have practiced what they are asking you to do but they know this and are not looking for perfection but potential! 

Don’t assume you know what they are thinking. You will never know exactly what other people are thinking and while auditioning becoming obsessed with why the audition panel isn't looking at you or why they are writing during your speech can potentially ruin your performance. Concentrate on your speech not the panel.

Ask for peoples opinion. Before auditions I make all my friends and family watch me and give comments. They might not be industry professionals but they can still give you valuable insight. I have ignored my boyfriend's comments on the speed of my monologue thinking he doesn't know anything about acting since he is not in the same industry, only to be told by an audition panel not to rush my monologue.

Enjoy it or at least look like you are. Looking or acting petrified will only make you seem unconfident and have your name struck of the list of potentials. If you appear to enjoy the challenges they throw at you gives out the impression you can handle any situation. I don't enjoy auditions and still sometimes feel like my heart is about to burst from my chest but the audition panel will never know this. I keep smiling and my head high. 

Learn from each audition. After auditions I briefly right down what worked in the audition and what didn't. The way I made one of the panelist laugh with the wry humor I used. The most important lessons are to be learned from your mistakes. I know now to prepare as thoroughly as I can for auditions but not have a panic attack if you don't have time to prepare your best performance as they might ask you to do something else entirely.

The most important thing to remember is that every actor has good and bad auditions. Succeeding in auditions and acting is all about learning to pick yourself up after the disappointment and striving to do better next time. I had auditioned to the casting agent I met today before and given what I still see to this day as my worst audition. I am unashamed to say I went home in tears, wallowed in self pity and lost opportunities for a full day before I was ready to brush myself off and start again. Allow yourself to wallow as long as you pick yourself up after your allotted wallowing time is over. 

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