Actors – if you want to be a better auditioner, try directing. I’ve auditioned hundreds of actors in the past 15 years and have observed many ‘dos and don’ts’ that have aided me in my quest to become a stronger candidate for lead roles. Auditioning is painful, but unavoidable. Auditioning can be an evil and twisted bearing on one’s soul just to be rejected. An actor, regardless of age or experience, can ease the pain by preparing and committing 100% to their performance. An Audition, after all, is simply a performance for a small, judgmental, sometimes board, panel of casting directors.
Some of the mistakes I’ve seen as a casting director include:
- Lack of commitment: if you don’t believe in your performance, why should I?
- Poor song choice: this is critical when auditioning for a musical; select a song that tells a story similar to that of the character you want to be considered for – BUT do NOT select a song that the character sings. When we did ‘Annie,’ 80 out of 100 girls sang ‘Tomorrow.’ Not only did I want to jab sharp objects into my ears, but not a single one of those girls was memorable. Select a song that shares the same qualities, but will make you memorable. And then perform it with all your heart.
- Poor choice in monologue: see above, same applies.
- Poor or no training, and it shows: lack of confidence is certainly a sign of limited experience, but many actors don’t know how to breathe correctly. Volume is effected by shallow breathing and, as a musical theater director, I look for bellies to rise when a breath is taken in and fall when the breath is blown out.
- Practice in front of an audience: mirrors are great, but they are a poor substitute for an actual audience. We all need critique and even a roommate with little experience in theater can help you polish that audition piece!
Auditioning is painful, it’s true, but it is also a great opportunity to learn how to handle rejection. Like a job interview, you’re not always going to get the offer. Auditioning not only sharpens your performance skills, but also prepares you for the real world. So audition often and don’t give up!