Winning or losing a role in 10 seconds
A casting director has usually made his or her decision within the first ten seconds of the audition. Here are some tips to make them sit up and take notice of you.
Be Familiar With The Play
Make the effort and know the play. You are about to spend the next six to eight weeks focused on every nook and cranny of this play. Spend a couple of hours knowing what you are committing to before you arrive. Don't memorize the script. Only familiarize yourself with the copy. The key is to understand what is going on in the scene.
Use Strong Technical Skills
Directors must be able to hear and understand you. Your voice is your instrument play it well. It must be strong and your enunciation and diction must be clear. If you choose to use an accent, be sure it sounds effortless. A poor accent detracts from your audition. Do not simply read the words from the page, rather, say them like you are speaking to someone; like you are a living person bringing these words to life. When reading from prepared sides, keep your head out of the script. Play the fourth wall or the other actors. Make sure the director can always see your face. Do not stand and read. Do not simply pace back and forth, but use your body to help communicate and underline your feelings. The actors who are animated, without overdoing it, are the most interesting to watch.
Be Willing To Risk
Take risks and make choices in your audition. If you are unsure of a detail, ask. The choices you make do not have to be the choices you would use in a production of the play, but if you give nothing emotionally, how is the director supposed to know that you can? Take the risk and develop your character.
If you have read the script thoroughly and have made your emotional choices for the scene, but cannot make adjustments when requested by the director, you are basically unpredictable. An unpredictable actor is not castable. So do your homework, make your choices, and then open up. Listen carefully to the director. Keep your mind and your imagination active. And continue to take risks.
Don't Be A Theatre Stranger
If you want to act, then act. Go anywhere and everywhere to audition. Take classes. Attend performances. Read scripts. Improve yourself constantly. Accept any role you are offered. A small role in a good play can teach you much about your craft. And come to every audition. It will deepen your understanding of what a good audition is, and open your spirit to possibilities for yourself. The art of performance is like any other art form, it is only achieved through doing it. Practice your craft in your high school, your church, your college, other theatres, anywhere and everywhere.
After The Audition
Thank the director (and the accompanist if a musical) on the way out. When the cast is announced, don't be depressed if you weren't cast. It's hard to be rejected, but you have to remember that being cast is only partly about how good you are – it's also about whether or not you are appropriate for the roles they need to fill. You might be the best actor and/or singer they've seen, but if you're totally inappropriate for the characters they need, they can't cast you. Respect the director's decision! Occasionally, actors who don't get the part they want, think they can get the director to change his mind by pleading, complaining or threatening. This behavior will only hurt your chances now, and also far into the future.