Auditions: The Actors’ Job Interview

If you’ve been following along with my previous blog posts, you now have everything you need to step foot in the audition room. However, it’s important to first be familiar with the various kinds of auditions that you may encounter throughout your career. Auditioning is the most daunting and frustrating part of acting, but soon enough you’ll get the hang of it!

With every audition, you must always bring along your updated headshot and resume (check out my previous posts!) even if the audition notice doesn’t ask you to do so. Always try to push your resume out, you never know who may come across it! Also, when it comes to your appearance there are some do’s and don’t’s : do pin your hair out of your face, don’t put on too much makeup, do dress presentable, don’t look sloppy. This goes for ALL auditions; both stage and on-camera.

There are tons of different types of auditions out there but in the beginning of your career, you will most likely encounter these: cold reads, prepared cold reads, monologues, and self-tapes. It seems like a lot, but I promise they are simple to follow and being knowledgeable about the type of audition you are going into will make you that much more confident when the time comes.

Cold read auditions are auditions in which you don’t prepare an audition piece or get any instruction regarding what you’ll be auditioning with. Often times, at the audition, the director will hand you a copy of a part of the script, assign you a character, and then you go for it. In the theatre, for a cold read audition I highly advise that you find a copy of the script and read it before you go; this shows the director that you prepared and have somewhat of an idea about what’s happening in the scene you’ve been given. For any on-camera auditions, the director may be kind enough to send you a copy of the entire script prior to the audition, but you may not always get that lucky. With this type of audition, it’s important that as soon as you have your hand on the side (audition piece), read over it until the director instructs you to start. Ask questions about the scene (what happened prior, the setting, etc.), think of ways you can work with your character and, if other actors are present, coordinate with them. The director typically gives the actors a few seconds to a minute before the cold read begins, so breathe.

Prepared cold reads are much like cold reads in the way that you are not given the audition material prior to the audition or any instructions on what to prepare. However, for a prepared cold read, which happens primarily in the theatre, the director will give actors a few minutes to pair up and work on a scene before auditioning with it. This also typically happens at the end of cold read auditions if there is ample time left. Be sure to pair up fast (sometimes you will be assigned someone) and really work with the other actor to create a scene that’s unique and memorable. This type of audition you are given the time to really make the scene, and your audition, come to life so spend your time wisely.

Monologues, monologues, monologues. The stereotypical staple for actors. But, to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I auditioned with a monologue. These auditions are still out there, though, so it’s important to be familiar with them. A monologue is a long speech given by one actor; a very scary feeling for me. There are four different types of monologues that you could be asked to provide: classical comedic, modern comedic, classical dramatic, modern dramatic. The director will sometimes tell you which one, but, it should be pretty easy to figure out. For example, if you’re auditioning for Romeo and Juliet, you would want to prepare a classical dramatic monologue. Rehearse your monologue with a friend or an acting coach, have it confidently memorized, and practice in front of a camera or a mirror. Monologues are often used in theatre but is sometimes used in on-camera auditions as well.

Last but not least, self-tapes. A self-tape is an audition where you record yourself performing a monologue or reading a scene and then you send it in to the casting director. This audition is primarily used in the film, tv, and commercial industries but may sometimes be seen in the theatre world if you can’t physically be present for an audition. The good thing about self-tapes is that you have the opportunity to know what your audition looks like before the casting director does, you can record it from the comfort of your own home, and, if you mess up, you can simply just stop recording and start over. Casting directors often give specific instructions when it comes to self-tapes so be sure to follow them to a ‘T’ and try to show a little personality in your video.

See? Auditioning isn’t THAT frightening. Well, maybe a little. But that’s all part of the excitement and thrill of acting. The most important thing about auditioning is knowing that there will always be more auditions. Don’t feel defeated if you mess up, don’t get the part, etc. Auditioning is a way we learn as an actor, we’re put on the spot in some situations and we must fail a few times before we succeed and really get the hang of it and know what to expect and improve on the next time around. Not nailing an audition can be tough on the soul, but if you’re really serious about your career as an actor, you’ll get right back up and keep on going. Experience and determination is the key to auditioning.

For more tips and tricks about auditioning, check out these 10 tips from The Producer’s Perspective.

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