Three Simple Tips for Auditioning on the Fly

If a last-minute audition comes your way, what is the best way to prepare on-the-fly?!

1. UNPLUG and find a quiet place to read and re-read the material:

Read the material numerous times without distraction. Reading the material until it is “in your body” is key to a good audition. Really, it’s the key to any audition, but if time is limited, this should be your first priority.  Definitely cancel that coffee or dinner date, too! 😉

2. DON’T MEMORIZE the material

It may sound counter-intuitive, but there is no need to memorize the sides. Memorizing is a very specific task that should only be required for performance time. As I said in Rule #1, you want to spend your time getting to know the material well and to get COMFORTABLE with it, but do not spend the extra time on memorization. That being said, in some rare cases, memorization can be appropriate for auditions, e.g. screen or network tests.


All casting directors really want to see is that you know who this character is. You should know the character to the point where if we asked you to do an improvisation as the character, you would be able to deftly perform this exercise. In short: the more you have a strong sense of WHO you are playing, the more likely you are to CONVINCE the casting director that you’re the one for the job.

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Joanna Colbert began her career as a casting director in association with Juliet Taylor on Interview with a Vampire for which she conducted a nationwide search resulting in the discovery of Kirsten Dunst. Colbert then went on to work at Universal Pictures as the Manager of Casting and then Senior Vice President of Casting, overseeing such blockbusters as The Mummy series, American Pie, Meet the Parents, and Bruce Almighty. She formed Joanna Colbert Casting in 2001 and Colbert/Mento Casting in 2006. Her credits include: No Strings Attached, the Step-Up series, Cedar Rapids, The Mummy, Everything Must Go, Hollywoodland and The Good Girl. Colbert is currently producing several projects, including a documentary about casting and its influence on film titled Casting By, a feature film titled Atticus Run, The Black Version tv series and Kate McClafferty’s blog, 356 til 30.

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