When Does Your Audition Actually Begin?

3801523Thanks to the folks at Cast it, I was invited to interview on the Acting Up Radio Show with Will Roberts. One of the questions he asked was, ‘when does the actor’s audition really begin?’  Great question! I’ve been thinking a lot about the answer and here’s what I believe: your audition begins when you receive the material (Some auditions are last minute and some do not send sides.  For example, if it’s an improv audition or something top-secret like a Woody Allen project).  Regardless, your audition begins the moment your appointment is marked in your calendar!


I advise treating your audition as you would training for a sporting event like a race or a match. You want to be rested, well-fed, and in the best condition possible for your audition. You know your body, mind, and spirit the best so make good decisions.  If postponing the night on the town and having a night or two of longer rest is going to make you more alert and awake for your audition, then make that choice. If you know you can handle a late night and some alcohol and be absolutely fine for your audition, great.  I’m not here to legislate or judge your decisions, I only ask that you are MINDFUL and make conscious choices.


Meditate and visualize before your audition; take some time a few days and/or a few hours before your audition and breathe. Once you are relaxed, imagine yourself walking in the door with confidence. See yourself ‘clicking in’ to the character and being ready for anything that comes your way.  For example, waiting longer than expected, being interrupted by the casting director, being asked to read a different role…whatever happens, you are centered and nothing can stop you!


Eat well before your audition; eat a good breakfast which includes protein, be aware of your sugar intake, don’t be too caffeinated if you know it will make you jittery. Here is my favorite power breakfast; eggs scrambled with greens (any pre-packaged greens in the market) and some organic sausage or turkey and green tea.


When you walk in (my) door, your attitude is key. If you are feeling nervous or arrogant or tired or angry, my staff and I will feel it and it will register. If you are rude to the receptionist or to the assistant, it will affect not only your reading but – all things being equal – if it’s down to you and one other actor for the role, we will choose the actor who was relaxed and agile, calm and easy to work with.


Joanna Colbert began her career as an assistant to Juliet Taylor in New York City where she worked on a number of Woody Allen films. In 1994, under the mentorship of Taylor, Colbert conducted a nationwide search which resulted in the casting of Kirsten Dunst in her role in Neil Jordan’s Interview with a Vampire. Colbert then went on to Universal Pictures as Manager of Casting and then Senior VP of Casting. In 2001 she formed Joanna Colbert Casting. In all, Colbert has been involved in casting more than 50 films including The Good Girl, No Strings Attached, Warm Bodies, Hollywoodland, The Wackness, Cedar Rapids, Must Love Dogs, and the Step-Up franchise. Colbert is one of the producers of the critically acclaimed Emmy nominated HBO documentary, Casting By. In 2010, she formed the casting and production company, Filmsocial. Colbert is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as the California Institute of the Arts Dance program.


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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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