How to crack acting auditions
Any budding actor needs to audition for any role that he/she wants to play. In this cut-throat field of acting, it goes without saying that making a mark in an audition is an absolute necessity. It can feel like an unrelenting ordeal with no room for error, but keeping in mind a few small but essential points in mind during the audition and putting some effort during the pre-audition preparation phase can set the stage for a relatively smooth and comfortable experience. So, here are some of the critical factors that will help you crack the audition and bag the character that you desire:
- Don’t let the pressure get to your head: Don’t be jittery just before the audition. Calm your nerves, take a few deep breaths and drink a lot of water before the audition. It is only one of the umpteen opportunities that you are waiting for you. Listen to some calming, soothing music before the audition. Know most factors like your hair colour, eye colour, height, and complexion are already out of your hand. Concentrate only on optimising whatever is within your control, and don’t brood too much about other aspects. Consider the casting director as your friend who just wants the best for you. Being intimidated by him/her is one of the most common causes of nervousness during the audition.
- Surprise factor: Casting director already has a vision for the story and is continually looking for the faces that will be suitable for the characters in the story. They don’t worry much about the portfolio during the audition because, if they have selected you to come for the audition, it means they are already ok with your face, physique, etc. So, during the audition, according to many casting directors, they are only looking at your acting talent.
- Do background research, training, etc.: the biggest gripe that most casting directors have with new applicants is that they don’t put the required hard work and don’t undergo proper training before attending the auditions. When asked about what they have to show for themselves, they just shrug and say that ‘Acting is their passion’. This puts most casting directors off. So do some sort of training and put a few years of your life into honing your craft. Only then can the casting director be confident of your dedication towards your art.
- If you can’t be confident, at least act confident: Go for the audition exuding self-assurance and hold your head high. Speak to the casting director without any stutter or indecision. Behave nonchalantly, giving the casting director the feeling that you have already got the job. It’s always a good practice to make eye contact with the person you are speaking with, and that practice can obviously be extended to the pivotal audition you are attending.
- Be thorough with your lines: You must be able to recite your lines even in your sleep. Know them like the back of your hand. Uncertainty germinates when one is underconfident about his/her abilities. So, read your lines thoroughly, understand the context behind those lines, and go through the overall storyline if possible. Know where you belong in the scheme of circumstances, and prepare accordingly.
- Go to the audition in the costume required for the character: Any employer looking to recruit you would always love to see the dedication within the prospective employee towards the job. The willingness to push the boundaries and the enthusiasm to learn is what entices employers into hiring the applicant. In this case, attending the audition in the character’s costume shows the casting director how excited you are about the role and the level of detail at which you have scrutinised the character, his motivations, the place where originates from, his family background, etc. This will surely earn you a few vital brownie points even before the audition starts.
- Show variety: Don’t just play one emotion throughout. Mix it up regularly and understand the subtext that is involved. A one-dimensional understanding of the character and the feelings could stifle the potential of your performance. There are copious interpretations that one could make out of a given scene and a character. Choose one and stick with that. For example, when the scene requires you to express angst, fury and intimidation, look for ways to spring a surprise on the casting director by showing vulnerability. Intersperse the phases of rage with moments of contemplation, silence and melancholy.
- Show and don’t tell: A mistake that’s commonly made by authors, filmmakers and actors is that they explain too much without delivering that information through compelling visuals. Too much exposition through dialogues could derail your performance, and you might go out of favour pretty soon. Try to convey the subject matter through your expressions and use dialogues only when absolutely necessary. Your facial muscles are just are as crucial as your biceps and triceps.
- Don’t pause and start over: If you stumble by any chance, pick yourself up and continue. Improvisation is done by even some of the greatest actors in town, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t do it.
- Don’t take the last slots for auditioning: Creativity and patience have one significant quality in common. They get depleted as the day rolls on and will only be replenished when a new day starts. Casting directors bank on both these characteristics to make judgements, and after going through tens or hundreds of applicants in a day, they will most likely be grumpy, irritable and tired. So, try to take the early-morning slots when they are refreshed, rejuvenated and relatively pleasant. Taking these factors into account might seem like overthinking, but these do come into play when you are auditioning. So, don’t take this lightly.
As a concluding note, it must be pointed out that learning and growth will happen only through experience. You will fall, but you will also analyse why you fell in the first place and reduce your chances of falling the next time you try. So, don’t get discouraged by a few failures, and keep persisting!