I read somewhere that people can form a lasting opinion within thirty seconds of meeting you, and in a casting room those first thirty seconds can be what decide your fate. You may only be in an audition room for two minutes, can you imagine that only one quarter of that short time will be spent deciding what kind of person you are? This is especially true in that you never know what kind of person will be sitting across from you at the casting table (but you can always know that they have the memory of an elephant). Some casting directors are totally sweet, and some are just…well…mean. It’s so easy to get nervous about auditioning, but really it will all be okay as long as you always put your best foot forward.
If you walk in to your audition straight from the gym, smelling like high school locker room, or looking like you just left the club, it will automatically give the casting directors a reason to judge you (no matter how nice they are,) because to them you will not look professional. The second that they have made that judgment call, they will focus on that initial impression instead of the quality of your audition. No matter how last minute it may be, walking into an audition should always be a presentation of your best self. You are applying for a job. How is a casting director supposed to cast fantastically talented, brilliantly funny, heart-wrenchingly sincere you when distractingly stinky, sloppy, unprepared you is the first thing they see coming through the door? There are plenty of things I could tell you not to do, but ultimately what makes a difference is what I tell you to definitely do to make your audition go more smoothly:
- Dress your best. This doesn’t necessarily mean wear a suit or nicest dress. If you are someone who enjoys wearing shower shoes with tube socks, basketball shorts, and a tank top, power to you. That is who you are and in this industry you should absolutely 100% embrace that. (Sticking to who you are is what gets you roles.) But try to adapt that relaxed, sporty vibe into a more clean-cut, professional look.
- Make a choice about the material. THEN STICK TO IT. If you read the sides given to you and think your character is being sweet, stick with it. If you read the sides given to you and think your character is being manipulative, stick with it. Don’t switch half way through, even if you don’t think you’re doing the right: you’ll seem confused and they wont hire you because it will look like you haven’t done the work.
- Be polite. Walk in, shake hands, and make eye contact. Introduce yourself to everyone, including the reader. You never know who the person who could turn the tide in your favor might be – over something as small as a firm handshake.
- Get sleep. Did you know that being tired makes you look worse, dumbs you down, makes you forgetful, impairs your judgment, and makes you depressive…casting directors wont want to hire you if you’re not on your top game! (Read about what sleep deprivation can do to you here…can you imagine how that applies to an audition scenario http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss)
- Warm up. Don’t chat in the waiting room, don’t text your boo boo, don’t call your mom for affirmation. Spend some time warming up so that you can really give the casting directors all you’ve got – believe me, once you’ve gotten into the habit of warming up you will really notice a difference! (Here is a great 5 minute warm up by one of NYC’s top vocal coaches, Page Clements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eub7MzfsbdM)
What are your audition tips and tricks? Comment below to let us know what you do to stay on your game!