Monday, April 13, 2009

Sharing audition tips

Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's 2009-2010 season is around the corner. As always, there will be many roles for actors of all ages and abilities. The question is: How do the actors who appear onstage during a performance win the roles that so many people covet?

For actors who follow this blog, please share some of your tips for having a good audition. What are some things you always do before, during or after auditions? What are some things you avoid?

For directors who follow this blog, please share some things that you look for when holding auditions. What can actors do to show you that they would be good to work with?

One piece of advice I can offer to prospective auditioners is not to wear a hat. Directors like to see people's faces and, no matter what kind you wear, a hat always casts a shadow. Skip the headgear so directors and your fellow auditioners can see your face.

For other tips, read this article from Wade Bradford of


Mark Allen Carter said...

As an actor, I have one word for you. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

At an audition, it's a competition. There are people going after the same roles as we are. If we get beat out for the part, it's because they were either a better read or a better look for the part.

I know if I audition for a show, whoever is also going after the same role, they had better bring their lunch because I am prepared.

You want it? Go get it. Prepare.

As a director, the first thing I look for is whether you can read. If you can read well, that's step one.

After that, it's matchups. But whether you can read well in front of people is of most importance.

A small side note, one thing that can help prevent nervousness from new auditioners is to always read from the script. Do not ask for monologues. This is non-profit community theatre, not professional theatre.

Unless we're auditioning a musical, we should always use the script for auditions for community theatre. Not prepared monologues. That's my opinion.


Justice Marie said...

I think you should make sure to read a play that you're auditioning for. You don't have to do any in depth character studies, but even just a working knowledge of the plot makes a difference.

Now, I've been through a lot musical auditions and I can share these tips.

-Be nice to the accompanist! Lots of the time, they have input on the casting.

-Do not apologize! Confidence is key.

-If you're auditioning for a musical, unless they ask for a specific number, you should pick a song that's from a show by the same composer or is a similar style. I.E. if i was going to audition to be Elphaba in Wicked, i would NOT sing defying gravity. but I might sing something from children of eden, which is by the same man.

-Dress hot! This is self explanatory. It makes you look professional and it makes you feel great, and MAYBE you can get someone's number at the call back (j/k...)

Justice Marie said...

I almost forgot. DO NOT EVER sing "Tomorrow", "On My Own", or "Memory" for an audition. Just don't. Even if it seems like a good idea, it's not. Even if you sing it better than Betty Buckley herself, you really don't. I'm sure there are similarly overdone male songs.

Steve Martin said...

Follow directions. If you've read a scene and the director asks you to do it again, but with a slightly different take, follow the suggestion.

Although the suggestion may lead to an interpretation that doesn't mesh with your original thoughts, directors want to know if actors will work with them to create a character or if they feel immune to collaboration.

Lis said...

Wow, this is REALLY helpful! And I agree with Mark; I am lost when it comes to BYO monologue. I'd much rather read from the script.

I've been told this and I believe it: never go into an audition and tell everyone you're sick. If you're sick, they will be able to tell and they'll understand. It makes a better impression to power through your sickness without apologies than to make excuses for why you're not at your best; and I find that it helps directors see you as a more reliable cast member who won't wimp out if you get a cold during the show's run.

I've also auditioned kids before, and I noticed that the ones who make the best impressions are those who don't watch what the other kids are doing. If you're taught a dance step, do it the best you can; don't depend on the person in front of you to remember the steps so you can copy them. I also appreciated kids who behaved professionally -- and kids, all it takes to act like a pro is good manners (saying please and thank you, not speaking out of turn, being polite to the other kids, etc). And I'm sure that goes for adults too! :)

Finally, don't psych yourself out. I stunk at auditions in high school because I would watch everyone else and think they were all better than me, so when it was my turn I'd second-guess my instincts and abilities and end up sabotaging myself. Don't worry about how good or bad you think everyone else is doing; just put your own personality and instincts to work and leave it to the directors to make the judgements. After all, you never know what they're looking for, and to them you might just be a perfect fit!