Advice on “Quick Prep” Auditions

6:59pm: TV “Guest Star” sides arrive.  2 scenes; not allowed to read the full script. 10am audition the next day . . .

If you get audition material late and there isn’t much time to prepare–DON’T WORRY.  Do the best you can.  Account for the elements that you can.  Know what you are doing in the scene.  Know what you want.  Know who you are.  Know where you are and where you are coming from.  Drill as much as possible in the time you have.  Go in with confidence, your point of view, your presence, and crush it.

Here are some quick ways to organize and prep:


1 – “Who Am I?” Character psychology, job description/status, personal history, overall goals/ambitions, defining fears/obstacles in life, physical state. CHOOSE.

2 – “Who Am I Talking To?” Relationship, the status between you, your needs, her needs.  Make it PERSONAL–who is this person to YOU (in real life)?  CHOOSE.

3 – “What Am I Talking About?”  What’s the EVENT of the scene?  What’s the “Actual Event” (what you are REALLY talking about)?  What’s the “Apparent Event” (what you seem to be talking about: the “cover”)?  CHOOSE.

4 – “Where Am I?” Where are you coming FROM?  What’s your “Moment Before”?  What’s the circumstance?  Public or crowded?  A party?  Outside or inside?  Intimate?  Secretive?  In your home?  On “your turf “or “his turf”? CHOOSE.

5 – “What Do I NEED?” What’s your overall Intention/Objective – Through-line “Spine of the Character”.  What do you NEED specifically in Scene 1?  What do you NEED in Scene 2?  What are the “STAKES”?  How do they develop from scene 1 to scene 2?  High stakes and “Hot Choices” make your work more exciting.  How badly do you NEED what you need?  CHOOSE.

Commit to these choices you make.  Play them “actively”. They are not to stay in your head.  They give your audition power, structure, direction and personality.

This prep works for the most naturalistic drama and the most “broad”, farcical comedy.  Absurd comedy requires absurd choices and absurd stakes. Be alive, be ready to improvise as the character in the given circumstances–and GO.

For TV and Film auditions, keep the physicality “smaller”, as you will be, most likely, in a “medium-close-up”.  Do not be smaller in your “Internal Life” or the power of your “Intentions”, “Internal Actions” (tactics to get what you need); or any of your choices.  For TV, especially network TV, be very clear in your CHOICES about telling the STORY the writers want to tell in the formula and genre.  For film auditions, you often have more freedom to be more unusual or creative in your choices.  You can “play against” the obvious choice you might actually want to make certain they get to see in episodic TV, because the TV role has an expository purpose to tell the audience something very specific in that 48-minute episode.

Lastly, KNOW the show or the creator’s previous work as best you can, just as you know the general genre or medium.  Take a few minutes while working on your sides, and watch on-line trailers, or even a few minutes of other shows or films they made.  This knowledge can help you in making final decisions between possible choices, because you have a better understanding of the “tone” of their work.

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Adam Lazarre-White Adam Lazarre-White grew up in NYC, graduated from Harvard University with Honors, started at QB for the “Crimson” and played in the Harvard Jazz Band. He is known for roles on Scandal, Heroes, Ocean’s 13, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Temptations, Living Single, The Parkers, and starring on The Young & The Restless. Adam’s writing and directing have become equal pursuit in recent years; and he has owned his acting school in Hollywood, ALW Acting Studios since 2000. For info on Adam's classes, acting, writing & directing visit his website at