At Pattonville and Everywhere
I am often asked how students can best prepare for auditions, whether it is for Pattonville's shows, community theatre, or college. This is a compilation of advice from multiple sources. I hope this helps you as you ready yourself for an awesome theatrical experience!
1. Ask yourself: Am I able to make this commitment? Do I have the time or will I overextend myself? Am I willing to remain committed throughout the process? Am I willing to accept any part in the production?
2. Read the audition information carefully. If you don't understand something, ask BEFORE the audition. Make sure you've read it thoroughly, as you want to show directors you are prepared. This makes a good first impression, and you know…you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
3. PRACTICE! Practice for friends, family, and on your own. Practice your introduction AND your audition material. Use your voice and your body - these are your tools as an actor - Vocality and Physicality. If the audition consists of cold readings, see if you can get the script and practice reading it aloud. If not, practice reading texts in the style of the play.
4. Check the pronunciation of words ahead of time.
5. If it is not required to be memorized, make sure you do not just read from the paper…prepare yourself.
6. If you have the opportunity, read the entire play ahead of time.
7. If there is a time limit for your audition or a measure limit for your song, be sure you adhere to this stipulation.
8. When auditioning for a musical, do not pick a song from the show you are auditioning for, unless specifically requested. Instead, select a song in the style of the show for which you are auditioning.
9. Do not try to imitate actors/singers who have played this role before. Be honest yet original.
10. When singing is a component of your audition, usually you are to bring sheet music. Make sure you bring the original sheet music and not a photocopy. Mark your starting and ending measures for the accompanist. Finally, do not plan to sing a cappella or with a CD.
AUDITIONS & CALL BACKS
1. Make a good first impression…be on time and be prepared.
2. Wear clothing that is flattering and comfortable. NEVER costume yourself for an audition. If you know you are going to dance in the audition, wear clothing and shoes which allow for movement (do not wear flip flops to a dance audition or expect to go barefoot…who knows what is on that floor).
3. Do not make excuses ("I have a cold," "I didn't know..." etc.)…Make the best of the situation - that's theatre.
4. Always introduce yourself before you begin your audition piece(s). Your introduction shouldn't be long, but if you can make it memorable, it can help.
5. Before you begin, take a second to make sure the auditioner is looking at you. Oftentimes we are writing down a name while the person begins their audition. We don't want to miss anything. Then, start STRONG!
6. Make sure the auditioner(s) can SEE you and HEAR you. Play to the audience and make sure you speak clearly.
7. You don't have to be perfect. You do have to be well prepared. Auditioners are looking for someone who is trainable and willing to take direction.
8. If you have a little bobble in your audition, don't make a big deal of it…recover and go on. Think about a performance; if you make a mistake on stage, the audience should never know.
9. Don't apologize for anything.
10. Don't laugh at yourself.
11. Don't break character during your monologue.
12. Make your performance honest and believable. The director should be thinking, "I believe that."
13. "Listen" to your script. Act and react naturally to make sure it makes sense in your audition.
14. Do not play directly to the auditioners…we are not your scene partners. Act to an "imagined other." Know WHOM your character is talking to, WHERE that person is, and WHERE your scene is taking place (In a living room? In the park? Etc.).
15. Be confident, be yourself, and have fun.
16. At the end of your piece, pause for a second and then thank the auditioner(s).
17. NEVER ask the auditioner(s) "How did I do?" immediately following your audition. We may have a line of people waiting. This is the audition time. If you would like acting tips, take a class or ask at an appropriate time.
CASTING & REHEARSALS
1. When you see the cast list: If you are cast, be excited and proud, but don't gloat…be humble. If you are not cast, the auditioners know it can be disappointing. Regroup yourself, reflect on your audition and how you can improve, then come back and audition for another show. At an APPROPRIATE TIME you can ask the auditioner(s) what you can do to improve. Work on the show in another capacity (leaders or crews). You will learn more about theatre and be a part of the Company of the show.
2. Every day of rehearsal is part of your auditions in the future. Make sure you behave appropriately, honor your attendance commitment, and continue to make that good impression. If you don't behave appropriately, the Company cannot have an effective rehearsal. If you are frequently absent, the director(s) cannot teach you or help you grow as an actor and the entire Company suffers. Directors are trying to do what is best for the show as a whole. Eighty percent of success is showing up…Woody Allen
3. If you are ill, make sure your director knows you'll be missing rehearsal. We want you to stay home and get better. We do not want you to make the entire Company sick.
4. Realize you are part of a COMPANY, a TEAM. The show cannot happen without EVERYONE involved. Be nice, and appreciate the time and effort of everyone in the COMPANY (cast, crew, director(s), leaders, etc.). Even if you have a small part, make it the best you can make it. Remember: There are no small parts, there are only small actors...Ginger Rogers
5. Realize you have made a commitment. Honor this commitment.
6. HAVE FUN! ENJOY THIS AMAZING EXPERIENCE!
If you ever have a problem, a conflict, or something that requires special attention, please let your director know, but DON'T MAKE EXCUSES…FIND A SOLUTION!
I don't possess a lot of self-confidence. I'm an actor so I simply act confident every time I hit the stage. I am consumed with the fear of failing. Reaching deep down and finding confidence has made all my dreams come true… Arsenio Hall
In the end, it can't look like acting.
Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion....Kate Reid
More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic...Uta Hagen
Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made...George Burns
The audience doesn't care about the actor's problems, only the character's.
An actor must turn his/her body over to the character. If they can't do that, they can't act.
Do not be full of yourself, but be full of your part...Boucicault
Acting is the art of speaking in a loud clear voice and the avoidance of bumping into the furniture…Alfred Lunt
BREAK A LEG!