Audition Dos (and Don’ts): Part II

Missed Part I? Check it out here. Now, on to Part II–

Do be mindful of your fellow actors waiting.

It’s great to be friendly, and a genuine smile at those around you will certainly do no harm. But please resist the urge to blindly begin socializing. Many people will likely be reviewing their monologue, studying sides, or generally focusing on keeping themselves centered and prepared before they walk into their audition. The quickest way to make a pest of yourself is to boorishly encroach on the personal time/space of others, and heightened pre-audition nerves might make your seat neighbor a little less tolerant than he’d usually be. Bottom line: just be respectful of everyone’s needs. They want and deserve a clear head before their audition just as much as you do.

Do begin your “audition” the moment you walk into the room.

Nope, I’m not suggesting that you blast the auditors with your monologue as soon as the door cracks open. I am suggesting that you keep in mind the important fact that the auditors’ first impression of you begins from the moment you step into their presence, before you open your mouth to speak a word. Don’t wait until the first line of your monologue or scene to turn “on”. Whatever message you’re trying to convey during your audition, be sure to project it from the time the door opens to let you in, to the time the door closes behind you on your way out.

Do take direction.

If the auditor has taken the time to give you a specific note, by all means use it! He may have liked something about your audition and seen potential, but wanted to see if you could bring your interpretation of the character closer in line with his vision. Or he may want to see how you respond to direction, how versatile or flexible you can be in the moment. One thing’s for certain: he has seen fit to devote extra time to your individual audition, and that’s a great opportunity to have! Always be sure to use it to your best advantage.

Don’t apologize.

You  may be kicking yourself over the spot where you stumbled over, rushed, or flat out skipped a line of text. You may have cracked on a high note or dropped your sides all over the floor. It may be all you can do to postpone smacking yourself on the forehead until you get outside those doors . . . but don’t apologize! The auditors know you’re nervous. The auditors know you’re human. Everyone has made mistakes in the past, and will make more mistakes in the future. The very best way you can handle it is simply to be graceful, gracious, professional. Never apologize for a (perceived) bad reading, and certainly never allow yourself to devolve into an embarrassed explanation about how you never-mess-up-like-this and man-I-can’t-believe-I-was-stupid-enough-to-screw-that-up and you-should-see-me-when-I’m-on-my-A-game blah blah blah . . . Think of it this way: you really have no way of knowing what the auditor is thinking about your audition. Your big screw-up may be inconsequential to their overall opinion, or it’s even possible that–gasp!–they never noticed your mistake at all. Is it really in your best interest to draw their attention to something negative?

Do say thank you.

Everyone appreciates a polite person, and ending your audition on a professional, positive note should always be your goal. Great reading or not-so-great, you can still convey that you’re respectful of the auditors and the audition process, and leave them feeling glad to have met you.

Do learn from it.

Every single audition is valuable. Naturally, booking the job is your goal, but that is by no means the sole indicator of a successful audition. In the big picture of your career, sometimes the most “successful” auditions you have are the ones where you screwed up the worst! Screwing up is, by itself, not the virtue, but the smart and savvy actor will recognize the experience for the learning opportunity that it is, and take this occasion to review, think, analyze, understand, regroup, and ultimately learn from a mistake. Learn from the auditions you get wrong. Learn from the auditions you get right. All of these experiences are natural and invaluable components of your acting career, propelling you along the path (the very winding, individual, often nonlinear, and decidedly un-straight path!) to your own personal success.

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Elizabeth Elizabeth Sekora is an actress and classically trained soprano living in Los Angeles. She has 24 years of experience in theatre, film, opera, television, and voiceover work, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.